Reflection Friday: Stress & Strategies

As you may have picked up in previous posts, my husband and I are fascinated by & love exploring the world of productivity and living ones best life. We’re  not those people that thrive on busyness and stress, in fact, we’re quite the opposite. We love predictability and rough routines (AKA open communication) – it works well for kids too and as a family, helps to eliminate stress!

QUIET TIME:

We both try to start our day with a little quiet before Harry’s up, the e-mails roll in and the school lunches and appointments of the day begin. A quick meditation is a great way to start the day. I often think, “Aaah I don’t have time”, but then know, that’s when I need it most. There are 100’s of scientific benefits of meditation, but calming the nervous system and helping eliminate stress, is one of them! Just some simple deep breathing can also slow down your heart rate, creating calm.

ORGANIZE:

Plan, plan and more planning. I like to plan my week (i.e. I do an online food shop for the week) plus do a daily review & plan for the next day, before going to bed. Knowing in advance what tasks you need to do, scheduling them according to your energy (If you have more focus/energy in the morning, set your most important tasks then) and being organised definitely helps to eliminate stress. I love a good old fashion pen and paper when planning as things sink in better for me and I get great satisfaction in crossing off lists, throwing them away and starting fresh ones.

The same can be said for one’s personal space, wardrobe, desk etc – when your surroundings are organised and orderly – things flow, work and it eliminate decision fatigue & stress.

DIET:

I’m a huge believer in diet and stress & anxiety management. While I’m not going to promote one diet, as I believe our bodies are all different and respond differently – the biggest gift you can give yourself & your family, is cutting out sugar and processed foods! (The vegetable oils in processed food – OMG – you may as well give your kid a pack of cigarettes!) I believe life is too short to be too pedantic (I let Harry go wild at birthday parties), again, we don’t want to cause more stress, but when I can be in control – I know my family is just going to perform better eating healthy, real food.

Check out my favourite podcast for the most incredible, researched and inspiring information on stress, diet and living optimally!

SLEEP:

I recently did a dedicated post on sleep. Sleep is the holy grail for stress busting! Bragging about how little sleep one got, became such a thing! SERIOUSLY? To everyone’s detriment, there is now an awakening on how crucial a good night sleep is, especially if you are stressed, anxious etc. We know How Stress  Really Leads To Weight Gain. Well, lack of sleep does too.  (NOooooo!)

HAVE FUN:

Relating back to being organised, if we don’t schedule time for ourselves, life will take over. Use different coloured markers in your diary/planner and schedule time for fun, friends and exercise or, often enough, they just won’t happen. How often do you say, “we must catch up?”. Carve out time for social interactions – they contribute significantly to one’s happiness factor!

EXERCISE:

We often beat ourselves up because we’re not training for a marathon like everyone on instagram. A.) comparison causes stress and B.) you don’t need to run a marathon to reap the benefits of exercise. A brisk walk ups endorphins and allows one some much needed headspace.

PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY!:

I’m such a culprit of this, as it’s also kind of my job to be on social media etc. But I find being on my phone is for one, a distraction, robbing one of deep focus; it clutters ones mind with a million messages & conversations and the screen time (esp before bed) keeps me up! A cluttered, busy mind, only contributes to stress.

(Images via here)

SAY NO: 

Learn to say no without having to explain yourself. I’ve struggled with this concept for years, but you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. If you need the time, rest etc, it’s not selfish to look after yourself. If you are worn down, you are of no service to anyone else!

VISUALIZE:

Visualise how you want your day, week, life to pan out. Picture it, feel it, own it, know it and believe it. Give yourself a daily mantra, like – “This (Whatever it is for you) comes easily to me”. And, where necessary, do something to plan for the future – even in the not-so-exciting things like taking out Life Insurance.

GIVE THANKS:

When we are grateful for all that we have – the experiences, the lessons, the things – we become a magnet for more positive experiences. When we practice the art of gratitude, we eliminate negative stress!

I try to do all of these things as often as I can. I don’t always get it all right, but it’s about being in tune with oneself, and knowing what you need during times of stress. xx

This article was commissioned by Hippo.co.za but the opinions are my own.

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