Monday, 29 October 2018

Breathe In

Has it taken hold of you yet?  You know, that feeling of overwhelm, of suffocating and feeling frantic because you have so much to do?  Then you are not alone.  This time of the year most people suffer from exhaustion and overload.  We run around trying to get everything done, meeting deadlines and everybody is demanding their pound of flesh from us.  There seems to be a general air of frenzy around us.  The result is that we end up feeling drained and stressed to breaking point.  The good news is that there are some strategies we could implement to reduce the pressure.  Try to weave these twelve ideas into your daily routine and notice the difference they will make.

1. Get up ten minutes earlier.  Often when we are stressed out we believe that we need more sleep, however, getting up earlier seems to have an invigorating effect on early risers.  Those extra ten minutes can help us to feel in control of our time.  The quiet which comes with rising before the rest of the household helps us to feel refreshed and calm.  We are more ready to face the day and its demands.

2.  Put on some music and open the curtains and windows to let in the early morning light and fresh air.  Listening to your favourite music first thing in the morning increases our happiness level as it reduces the amount of cortisol released into our bodies.  Sunlight and fresh air both help to reduce feelings of depression and help to clear our lungs and minds and stimulate our senses.

3.  Most people love a fresh brewed cup of coffee in the morning, however, try to break the habit by drinking a cup of herbal tea first of all.  There are many benefits to drinking herbal teas.  They are full of anti-oxidants and give the immune system a boost.  They can aid in digestion and help to lower blood pressure and feelings of stress.

4. Make sure you have a healthy breakfast.  This is the most important meal of the day, however this is the one meal most adults skip and then wonder why they feel lethargic and binge on fast food come tea time.  A good breakfast helps us to concentrate better and energizes our bodies.  Those who eat breakfast regularly also tend to have faster metabolisms.

5.  De-clutter your thoughts.  A positive mindset is a sure way to beat stress.  When we teach ourselves to think positive thoughts our stress levels go down and we cope better with the demands we face every day.  Positive thinking boosts our confidence and improves our relationships with colleagues and friends.

6.  Take your ten minute tea break.  Get up, walk around and stretch your legs.  Taking a ten minute break will do more for your productivity than working for those ten minutes.  Studies have shown that it is a great mood booster and it refreshes the mind and body.  Creative thinking gets a boost as well and it helps a person to return to their work with fresh eyes and they are more open to new ideas.

7. Delegate.  Yes, you are the best at what you do, and yes, no one can do it as well as you, but to help relieve stress it is very important to learn to delegate.  It is impossible for one person to do everything.  Attempting to do it all put a person under tremendous stress and the end result is certain burn-out.  You become more efficient when you delegate tasks as this allows you to concentrate on those things that really need your attention. Delegating tasks also helps to develop the skills of co-workers and thus you become a more efficient group.

8.  Before you leave for home, spend five minutes de-cluttering your work-space, thus you will walk into the office the next day ready to tackle the tasks head-on.  Entering a tidy work area helps to reduce stress and increases work performance.

9.  Leave your work at work.  It is important that we have time to rest and recuperate.  We need to have time away from work, but when we take our work and its worries home with us we do not get the necessary time needed to refresh ourselves mentally or physically.  In the end our health and families pay the price.

10.  Exercise.  Go for a twenty minute walk, or cycle or session in the gym.  Exercise increases the blood flow through the body as well as the production of endorphins.  This has a direct influence on our mood.  Despite the physical effort exercise helps our muscles to relax as well as relieve any tension which we have built up through the day.  People who exercise regularly often sleep better and wake up feeling more relaxed and energized.

11.  Unplug!  In this digital world we are living in people get totally stressed out at the thought of losing their connection to cyber-space.  However, once you take the step to unplug yourself from technology on a regular basis you will be surprised by the benefits you will experience.  It is not necessary to disconnect totally, but rather implement a few rules regarding the use of technology and social media.  A good idea is to disconnect for at least an hour or two once you get home.  Use this time to connect with your family.  Enjoy an uninterrupted meal together and talk about each person's day.  Ban all electronic devices from the bedroom to ensure a good night's rest.  Proper sleep and healthy relationships go a long way in helping to reduce stress.

12.  Before retiring to bed spend fifteen minutes planning your next day.  Just jot down a few key points and goals for the next day.  This way all the thoughts rushing through your head about things you need to remember  has been put in writing.  You can now relax and enjoy a good night's rest.

I hope these ideas will help you to manage the end of the year stress better, breathe easier and help you have a little bit more time for yourself and your loved ones.

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