8 ways to deal with stress in your daily life - National Stress Awareness Day 2018
It’s already November, back-to-school feels like a long time ago, Bonfire night has just passed, and Christmas is around the corner. So many things happening and yet still only 24 hours in each day. How on earth can we deal with stress on a daily basis?
As it is National Stress Awareness Day today, we want to share with you our 8 ways to keep your stress levels low day after day. You can also discover more about what stress is and how to spot the signs in your body in our article from last year on National Stress Awareness Day too.
Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash
Are you ready to decrease your stress levels? Steady? Go!
Breathe: taking a few deep breaths at your desk can go such a long way! Just close your eyes, sit back, a breath in and out 3 times. It is going to last 30 seconds only, and yet, you’ll feel the tension going down in your mind and body, starting with your forehead, jaw, and then shoulders and back. Doing it between meetings or appointments can help you to re-focus and make mindful decisions.
Sleep: prioritise your sleep! Sleep is the most underrated heath habit, and yet the most important. If you don’t sleep enough, you feel grumpy, you don’t make good decisions… We all do! In the last edition of Harvard Business Review (Sept-Oct 2018), the study ‘Sleep Well, Lead Better’ actually shows a close link between the lack of sleep and abusive behaviours in the workplace. It’s key that you get your sleep hours, prioritise them! According to Sleep Junkies and some other studies, sleep driving is even as dangerous as drunk driving! You’d not like to make business decisions while drunk, would you? So now it’s getting dark early in Leeds and Yorkshire, you have a good excuse to hit the pillow!
Exercise: What about going for a hike in the Yorkshire Moors, or having a stroll in Yorkshire Sculpture Park, or just go for a Mindful Walk in the streets of Leeds? Whatever you choose, depending on the time you have and your physical abilities, going outside and getting some fresh air is the first step. It will refresh your mind and help you to refocus and get more productive. I often advise my clients to start Walking meetings: instead of sitting around a table, put your devices down and just go for a short walk. You will be more focused, straight to the point, make better decisions and greater connections.
Disconnect: turn off your phone, starting with 5 minutes a day. If it feels too hard, decide of a time of the day where your phone remains in your bag or pocket. Maybe when you’re commuting? Or cooking? Not looking at your phone will enable you to get more creative, because you’d take time to think things through rather than ‘uploading’ information to your brain without even noticing it. Our little tip to make it easier: don’t plug your phone in your bedroom. I see your reaction from here: ‘How on earth am I going to wake up?’. Well, just buy an alarm clock! It will help you keep your screen time lower, and not look at your screen last thing in the evening and first thing in the morning. You’d sleep much better!
Say No: In order to do all of this (sleep, disconnect, exercise, breathe…), you need time. And to free up some time, you need to say no. And we know it can be a very difficult thing for most of us. Just see it this way: saying no to some things is the opportunity to say yes to others! So just prioritise the things that are important to you and make you feel good right now. The rest will follow. And a frank no is always easier to handle by the person in front of you than 10 ‘Maybe’ as you’re trying not to hurt!
Be selfish: Now you have said no, it’s time to focus on what is important to you: your dance class on Tuesday evenings? Your daily walk with your dog in the park? Make sure you take this ‘me-time’ regularly, as this is how you’ll fill up your cup and be able to take better care of others. When you take the plane, the security procedure is to put your oxygen mask before putting it on anyone else, isn’t it? Well, it’s the same in life: take care of yourself first.
Be Grateful: Our brain is so done that if 9 positive things happen in one day, and 1 negative thing, we would focus on the negative one! It is called our brain’s negative bias. The only way to change this is to force ourselves to focus on positive things. And the way to do so is to practice gratitude. We suggest you try out the 10 fingers gratitude exercise: in the evening, try to name 10 things you are grateful for that happened on that day. A nice lunch? A smile to a stranger on Leeds bus? Some sun through the window? Little things can go a long way! As a group, and to teach you how to practice gratitude, we also organise gratitude sessions in the workplace.
Plan ahead: Alright, so how do we do all of this now? Plan ahead! Your me-time should be in your calendar as much as your meetings! You want to walk your dog in Yorkshire parks every morning? Schedule it! You want to hit the gym in Leeds 2 times a week! Pencil it in! This way you’ll make room for it, and you’ll make it happen!
And our last thing for you here is: Please, don’t forget to LIVE! Take one thing at a time. From everything in this article, just pick up one thing you are committing to try next week, and ideally for 3 to 4 weeks. It would then have become a habit and you wouldn’t even need to think about it anymore. Stress levels would go low, and you’d feel much better!
Our session From Stressful to Mindful actually shares these tips with you and your teams, and is a great opportunity to directly experience these wellbeing tips, and take action! We got very positive feedback from GPs and medical professionals at the Lifestyle Medicine Conference in Leeds in September 2018.
“Lucile offered some golden nuggets that we can all learn from in terms of stress, especially reminding us all to think about what we should be grateful for today
“Lucile worked magic and I can’t thank her enough!”
“I found Lucile's presentation to be excellent and took away some great practical tips I can use immediately with clients and look forward to implementing them.”
Get in touch now if you’d like to know more!