Life happens. Even with deep breathing exercises, daily yoga, meditation and journaling - stressful situations will find ways into our lives. Unfortunately, we don’t get to control what happens to us, but we get to choose how we react to it. The more balanced and grounded we feel, the better we can handle all the things that get thrown at us.
Stress causes anxiety and tension. It negatively impacts our health, it brings frustration and resentment into our relationships and it affects the work we do. Is there a way to get rid of stress?
Many years ago, before I became a Health and Wellness Coach, my good friend and homeopathic consultant, Linda, and I talked about this topic. She said that stress is unavoidable and that the secret to living a healthy life is to figure out how to deal with it best.
To be honest, back then I was not sure what to do with that advice. My three kids were little, my husband was traveling often and I had no family nearby. I felt pressure, tension, and anxiety every day. Still, I knew she had a point.
Have you ever experienced this? Someone’s guidance makes all the sense in the world but when you think about how to implement it into your life it feels like you are holding a puzzle piece in your hand that just doesn’t fit no matter how many times you turn it around.
Somewhere along the way, I heard an analogy about how palm trees withstand storms because of their flexible trunks and deep root systems. I was fascinated. Palm trees give off that calming and relaxing energy, yet sometimes they get caught in storms and hurricanes. They bend and sway rather than resist the storm. Then, when it is all over, they stand tall again, strong and peaceful. I wanted to become more like a palm tree.
Like you, I experience stress in my daily life but when I feel deeply rooted and balanced I can handle the frustrations in a much better way. Like a palm tree, I can stand strong again and share good energy with my family, friends, and my clients.
I am sharing with you what works best for me, but like Bruce Lee famously said,
"Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own."
Relationships and community
Spending quality time with the people I love gives me strength and energy and when I go through a stressful situation I can always ask for support and advice. A smile, a compliment, or a nice gesture when I am out and about makes me feel like I have planted a seed of positivity in the world.
Spend time doing something you love
What is something that you do and time seems to just fly by? That’s what I am talking about. It can be reading a book, doing arts and crafts, decluttering your house, baking goodies, or spending time in your garden. Maybe you like writing? Decide to make time to do whatever it is that brings you joy. It is part of building those deep roots.
Doing good for a charity, for people in need, for your friends, for your family, or for the environment will leave you with a deeper sense of purpose. When I moved to Switzerland we learned a lesson or two in recycling and let me tell you: We are extremely intentional with what comes into our home and it gives us all a deeper sense of appreciation for nature.
I never thought I would say this, but there is a reason people rave about the grounding benefits of yoga. I am doing my absolute best to get a twenty-minute yoga practice in each day and every time I am on the mat I am reminded of its benefits. That includes my body and my mindset. If you haven’t tried it I encourage you to give it a shot. Go to a yoga studio near you or join an online community. Be patient with yourself as you move your way through new poses.
Sleep is one of the first things I like to address when people complain about stress. Going to bed scrolling through social media or checking emails will not help you to get the rest you need. Create a mindful evening routine that doesn’t involve screens. Find ways to wind down, use essential oils, take a warm bath, enjoy a hot cup of tea, listen to calming music, read a book, and keep your bedroom dark and cool. Ideally, your routine looks the same every evening.
One of my favorite topics is finding ways to get our bodies moving. Most of us are sitting at a desk all day. Making time for walks, incorporating stretches into your days or even a short yoga practice in the middle of the day will help you deal with stress in a much better way.
"On a great day - move your body.
On a good day -move your body.
On a bad day - move your body.”
Jess Sims - Peloton instructor
Celebrate your wins
Do you remember getting stickers for things you did well when you were a kid? Keeping track of accomplishments can give us that same feeling and helps to remind us that we did achieve something each day. I write at least two to three wins in my journal. Sometimes I have to think hard and the wins seem insignificant but when I look back, at the end of the week, I feel that I did accomplish quite a bit.
The power of gratitude is undeniable. Spend a few minutes each day journaling about the things you are grateful for. They might seem redundant but there is magic power behind it. I enjoy writing and I love going back and reading about all the good things in my life but if that is not you then I suggest making gratitude part of your daily routines in a different way: Gratitude thoughts. Practice when you shower, brush your teeth or are commuting. You can even open a note on your phone and track your blessings there. Just because sitting down with a journal each day doesn’t fit into your routine doesn’t mean gratitude can not be a part of your life.
Where does stress come up for you? Do you feel like your home is cluttered? Are you overspending? Do you feel bad about how and what you are feeding your body? Do you carry emotional baggage or a negative mindset around you? Are you over-committed? Things like this can build up in layers and exacerbate the pressure and tension we experience with stress. Make a list of these things and with the help of a coach or an accountability partner decide what to tackle first. Let’s simplify our lives. The less that is weighing us down the better.
“No” is a full sentence
That statement makes me smile each time I read it and it was probably one of the hardest lessons to learn. Doing things we don’t want to do because they are out of alignment for us or don’t have the capacity to do can be a significant source of frustration. The clearer we are on who we are, what is important to us, and what we value, the clearer it is to decide what fits into our lives and what doesn’t which will prevent us from overcommitting and resenting others and ourselves.
Staying positive may not always seem easy but if you take the time to find ways to take care of your mental, physical, and emotional well-being in a way that works for you, you will find that stressful situations can be dealt with in a much better way.
Deeply rooted and with flexibility, just like the palm tree.
I would love to chat with you if you are looking for ways to manage your stress. For a free call click here.