Did you know 1 in 2 women are stressed? Not surprising really with the amount of pressure we put on ourselves everyday. Partners, kids, friends, family, work, housework, meal preparation, grocery shopping etc doesn’t leave much time for ‘me’ time, does it?
My own stress has escalated somewhat lately. OK so not so much lately, like my father I thrive on stress and have done so for years but it’s getting to a point where it is affecting my health.
You see, I’m a sole parent who is trying to run a consulting business and two website (the launch of For Me Magazine will be in the next week). Running around after the boys, Mr 10 with his Aspergers and anxiety, Mr 17 who is stressed out with his own job as an apprentice chef and ADHD, my mother is chronically ill with secondary cancer and on ongoing chemo, trying to keep my house spotless (yes, OCD virgo perfectionist thing), trying to fit in time to see my partner and friends… it is all taking it’s toll.
I thought I could cope with it all but maybe I’m not. I have constant headaches, shaking hands and more recently feeling nauseated. I know I should be doing something about it but guess what? I don’t have time to! Yes, I know I should make time but that is easier said than done at the moment.
I attended the launch of Stress Down Day on Wednesday night and had a fun night. We were lucky to be in the penthouse suite of The Olsen Hotel (no, I didn’t lick the furniture I thought Justin Beiber had sat on or used). The view was amazing (see right)!!
Chris Wagner from Lifeline gave an informative and funny talk on stress and Stress Down Day. More importantly he talked about healthy stress (short term stress, which gets you going and motivated) and bad stress (the long term affect stress can have on your body).
Too much stress over an extended period of time can be harmful to physical and mental well being and impact on your ability to function and live productively.
I was also lucky enough to have a gorgeous massage and manicure, thanks to the lovely ladies from Ladies Night In.Bupa were the sponsor of Stress Down Day and provided us with a health assessment and dietitian. My health assessment wasn’t the best, unfortunately. I was actually quite surprised because my blood pressure and cholesterol readings have always been good but my blood pressure was 130/102 and my cholesterol was 6.4. Oh dear!
So what can we do to help ourselves and stop feeling so overwhelmed or stressed?
Anything that relaxes you… reading, yoga, a massage/ beauty treatment, meditation, having a bath etc.
2. Do things you like to do
Do things that make you feel good and prioritise them eg. for doing something you don’t like doing, reward yourself with something you do like doing but need to do. In a work situation, it might be getting a report done but rewarding yourself with replying to emails or phone calls.
3. Family and Friends
When you have a supportive network around you, this can create a barrier against stress. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, support and help you!
4. Be in the present
“‘Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future – concentrate your mind on the present moment’. I love this quote from Buddha. In other words, live for the moment… don’t stress or worry about the past or future, it’s over and done with or hasn’t happened yet.
5. Have a laugh
Laughter is the best medicine of all. It creates feel good endorphins in the body. So watch your favourite comedy show/movie, watch funny cat or dog videos on You tube, or play/ tickle your kids. It’s amazing how making your children laugh makes you laugh.
6. Have a healthy lifestyle
We all know the drill.. eat healthy, exercise every day, get a decent amount of sleep. Sex is also a great way to relieve stress.
7. Ban negative thoughts
Regular readers would know how much I believe in the power of positive thoughts. Ban negative and sabotaging thought patterns from your mind. Positive attracts positive, negative attracts negative.
How many of us don’t know how to use this word? People pleasers need to learn to please ourselves before anyone else. Be honest and tell others that you don’t have the time to do what they require. Most people appreciate you being honest, instead of you saying yes and not being able to deliver because you have too much going on in your life.
9. It’s all about ME
Learn to prioritise your own needs. Easier said than done, right? Well, look at it this way… how will you be of use to anyone else if you are stressed or burned out? I’m learning this the hard way. My children complain about me working so much and not spending enough time with them but if I don’t get my work done, than how will I get paid? But if I don’t spend time with them, will they hate me later for not taking the time for them? Then there is the housework issue, the house doesn’t clean itself but how can I get work done or spend time with the kids if I’m constantly cleaning up? Prioritise and schedule EVERYTHING! It’s amazing how you can manage everything if everything is planned out.
10. Be kind to ones self
Recognise when you are overwhelmed/ stressed. Everyone gets stressed, you aren’t alone.
If these techniques don’t work, than I suggest you go talk to your GP. You can’t leave stress to build up, as I said previously, it will affect your health long term.