|Doodle created on a Panera Gift card holder|
Yesterday we talked a little about the effects of stress and today I want to share some tips for dealing with stress that I've incorporated into my life and have shared with my clients with really good results.
1. Breathe- I know it is simple and seems like a no brainer but I'm telling you it is powerful. Breathing really can change everything. It can affect you on physical, mental and emotional levels. By simply taking a moment to close your eyes and take a deep breath you are consciously making a choice to slow down. If you really want to calm your nervous system try practicing belly breathing for just a few minutes. On the inhale, allow your belly to rise and on the exhale allow it fall. It might help to practice it lying on your back the first few times to get a feel for it.
2. Prepare- Sometimes stressful times can be unpredictable but more often than not I've found that women have predictable cycles in their days or years. I personally am approaching my most stressful season...baseball season. For other women it is summer or holidays or perhaps it is the morning rush or before dinner that stresses you out. Prepare for these stressful times when things are going smooth. Have meals ready to go in the freezer, take really good care of yourself when things are running at a slow pace so you are better able to handle stress. Schedule down time for yourself, pamper yourself. Begin to think about filling the well so that in times of drought you will have enough to sustain you.
3. Creative Outlet- The act of tapping in to your creativity can really melt away stress. It takes you out of your thinking mind and connects you to the creative flow. Doodle, create a collage, cook a new meal, rearrange your furniture, try a new hairstyle, take up a new hobby, or go on a walk and take a photo safari. Come up with simple creative tasks you can incorporate into your life.
4. Journal- Oftentimes our stress can be compounded by the thoughts in our heads. Let them out and set yourself free. Allow your thoughts to pour themselves out on a page without thinking about them or censoring them. Let the swear words fly! Be bold with your punctuation!!! Set every emotion free. When you're done you can even burn it and watch that negativity go up in smoke. It feels so good.
5. Rewrite Your Story- We all have our stories of lack, frustration, limitations, etc. Try an experiment where you literally rewrite those stories. Pretend you're writing a fairy tale and make it dreamy. Give it a happy ending and you might even try giving yourself the role of Prince Charming. Who needs anyone else to save us right?
6. Consult Your Future Self- Take a moment to connect with the future you who has already experienced what you are going through right now. Be sure you connect with the future you who has conquered the situation, who is thriving, happy, successful and living her dream life. Ask her for advice and support.
7. Use your calendar- This technique has helped so many of the women I 've worked with including myself when it comes to dealing with stressful times. If you have found that you have a recurring stressful time of the year like my stressful baseball season, go forward into your calendar and write yourself a note that will pop up prior to the start of that season. For me it usually pops up in March and baseball goes into full swing in April. I make notes about what made me crazy the year before and what worked. I make notes about ideas that I can try the next year and things to steer clear of. I know you think you will remember from year to year but the truth is we tend to forget but the calendar never forgets.
8. Experiment With Soothing Music- I'm a rocker. I love my rock music. I also love pop music and oldies, and blues, and well, I think you get the idea. I have a eclectic taste in music. I find music can really affect mood and I try experimenting with different styles of music. When you are stressed go for soothing music, classical, spiritual, inspirational. I've been known to put on chanting, meditations, and Gregorian chants to soothe myself. Explore and find some music that soothes your soul.
We can't run away from stress. It's a natural part of our lives. What we can do is to find techniques to reduce it and allow us to function holisticall and at our best. I hope there is a nugget here for you today!
Bring on Baseball Season! :o)