Feeling stressed is something that everyone experiences at some point in life, but it’s how you manage your stress that makes the difference between being able to cope or not. That’s why during periods of intense anxiety, it’s important to nurture yourself to stay balanced and healthy. If you don’t look after yourself, you can end up emotionally miserable, which doesn’t help overall wellbeing. When you feel overwhelmed, it impacts your health, and your body can even start to shut down as it’s more susceptible to illness. So when there are periods of instability in life, do stop – take time out and focus on looking after yourself…, because by taking care of yourself you build up resilience. Remember, you can’t always control what’s going on in your life, but you can control how you take care of yourself during stressful periods.
Here are some tips for nurturing yourself in times of stress:
During times of stress, sleep is often interrupted. Obviously, it’s important to get sufficient rest. When you don’t sleep well, feelings of anxiety are magnified, whereas after a good night’s sleep, you feel more able to cope. So, be mindful about going to bed at the same time every night to establish better sleep patterns. If you can’t sleep, lose yourself in a good book…,often another story can remove what’s in your mind, even if only temporarily. Reading also helps your eyes to tire and eyelids to grow heavy. Put on some ambient sounds; for example birdsongs, rushing rivers and distant thunderstorms – these are all relaxing. Practice deep breathing in bed. Breathe in slowly through your nose for seven, hold for a few seconds and then breathe out for seven. Don’t take screens to bed with you, the bright lights interrupt your brain’s hormones, which inhibits sleep. Have a warm bath with a few drops of lavender oil before bed, because this helps to relax the body, and the aromatherapy oil helps to still the mind. If you really can’t sleep, get up and do a task, something like folding, washing or a little light dusting to tire you out. It’s better to actually do something than lay awake worrying about getting your sleep! Half an hour later, get back into bed and try again.
Wake Up and Re-Center
When you wake up in the morning, don’t suddenly panic. Easy to say, yes, but if you spend a few moments focusing on yourself, you can try and manage your stress. If you feel you have too much to get done, make a list and prioritize the important tasks first. It’s always best to get the unpleasant jobs out of the way first, and organization is a good stress reliever. Before taking on anything, make yourself a healthy drink; get outside for a few minutes (the sunshine is good for releasing feel-good hormones, even if it’s a grey day, there’s still sunshine behind the clouds). Do some gentle exercise, take a walk – all of these things are good for calming and restoring balance. They also help you to start your day by feeling you can cope.
Take Pleasure in Things You Love
Too many people stop doing things they enjoy when under stress because they feel negative about those little pleasures, perhaps even feeling undeserving, but actually, doing the things you love helps to reduce stress. Go out – don’t stay at home worrying and feeling anxious. Go to the theater, go dancing, meet a friend for lunch, take a day trip somewhere different – the latter is especially useful as it removes yourself from your life temporarily and helps you to refocus. How many times have you gone on vacation and come back feeling refreshed? It’s about taking a vacation from your mind and doing those things you love. Try it at least once a week.
That means be strict with yourself. Don’t work overtime even if you feel you can’t cope with your workload, because then you cut into your own relaxation time. Again, prioritize your tasks and restrict staying late at work to twice a week maximum. If work really is getting on top of you, you need to discuss your workload with your boss. It doesn’t mean you are incapable, it probably means you’ve been so good natured that people keep piling it on – so learn to say no as well.
This could be as simple as getting your hair done or your nails painted. It could also be treating yourself to a luxurious, stress-busting massage or if you don’t want to spend the money, why not have your partner perform massage on you or even do it yourself? Massage is an excellent reliever of tension and performed well, with the right aromatherapy oils, it can really boost feelings of wellbeing. That’s why almost everyone leaves their massage therapist feeling like a new person!
Sounds silly but actually, when you think about it, human connection is vital when you feel under pressure. It reminds you that other people are there for you and it boosts feel-good hormones. It’s important to stay connected and boost positive emotions so when you can, hug someone you love (even a pet). It feels good, for them too.
Remind Yourself You Are Worthy!
Yes, you are and usually stress brings out negativity , so why not tell yourself how wonderful you are or remind yourself that stressful moments will pass. Write some useful self-love quotes on post-it notes and post them around your home. “Your job is to fill your own cup, so it overflows. Then, you can joyfully serve others from your saucer.” Lisa Nichols
Clara is an entrepreneur and content marketer. In a former life, as a corporate business executive, she relied on yoga, reflexology and other alternative practices to fight stress, anxiety and find balance. At Massageaholic.com ,she’s on a mission to bring massage therapy closer to those who want to live a balanced, healthy life, connecting body, mind and spirit. You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.