Imagine your stress is held in a bucket - what happens when it gets full? You feel overwhelmed and unable to cope as the stress overflows. We need to keep the stress draining out of lots of different holes in order to keep on top of things that come our way.
If your stress bucket is in danger of overflowing, try adding one or more of these into your life. Does the thought of adding one more thing make you feel even more stressed?! Don’t worry - many of these can actually save you time because they help you to feel so much brighter and able to make better decisions, be more productive and effective in the things you have to do daily.
Tap round the EFT points once or twice a day with no words to tune up your meridian system and lay the foundation for a healthy mind and emotional landscape. This takes no more than 5 minutes, once you have learned it! (See my previous blog post on EFT for stress.)
Whether you practice pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) or any other method, to reduce stress make sure you allow your exhalations to be longer than your inhalations. You could do this once or twice a day as well. (Again, only 5 min will change your physiology.)
There are a number of easy standalone qigong exercises, most of which will move your energy (qi) which reduces stress. Experiencing stress means there is stagnation in the qi in your meridians, so move it and your stress will start to shift too. 5 minutes once or twice a day will be enough to help. I highly recommend Jeff Chand's Qigong for Vitality Youtube channel, where you can find many such short routines for free.
Making lists (or mind maps if you prefer a less linear approach) has several benefits. Lists of what I need or want to do help me to be sure that I don’t forget something important, reduce overwhelm, and prioritise. I sleep better at night if I know I don’t have to use my mind to remember those important things tomorrow. This also need only take a few minutes.
It’s so important not to shove uncomfortable feelings down but to regularly tune in and acknowledge them. This might take the form of journaling, talking to a friend, or using EFT. The EFT acceptance statement is a great way to start acknowledging feelings. Avoiding looking at our emotions or problems tends to result in greater problems later on, either physically or mentally or in our practical lives.
Walking in nature has several stress-reducing benefits. It is both grounding and uplifting to be surrounded by nature. Walking (or jogging) shifts that stagnant qi, as we feel like we are ‘blowing away the cobwebs’. How long might this take? 20 minutes might be enough, but the main thing is to do it often, daily if possible
There are many different styles of yoga, so there really is something for everyone. The famous Sun Salutation is a complete exercise in itself, and a few rounds of that would only take 5 minutes. My favourite online yoga teacher is Melissa West, and you can find many free yoga videos on her Youtube channel.
Choose music that you love, that makes you want to dance and sing, and put it on loud and do just that! Some people like to do it while driving (not the dancing part, obviously!) If you can play an instrument, even better.
Any kind of physical touch has a relaxing effect on our physiology. It could be touch from a loved one, self-massage, Havening, or even stroking a pet.
Sort out these three. Get enough good quality sleep, eat nutritious, unprocessed food that is of the right sort for your body, and exercise is some form or another regularly. If one of these is off, you are likely to cope less well with outside stressors. This is more of a long-term project, so go easy on yourself and make small changes gradually that you can fully integrate rather than trying to fix everything in one go and setting yourself up for failure.
If you'd like to arrange a free 20 minute call with me to discuss how I could help you manage stress, I'd be delighted to hear from you!