Less stress in 3 simple steps
Lovely people! If you’ve read my last few posts, you’ll know that I’ve made my thoughts pretty clear on what ‘wellbeing-at-work’ really is and should be – especially as I am seeing more and more that ‘employee wellness’ is being disguised with or replaced by a half-hearted ‘one-off wellbeing day’ or ‘one-off wellbeing week.’ What will a short term wellbeing initiative achieve, not sure?!
Anyway, it’s Monday, YAY! Another week of early starts, ‘motivating meetings, juicy deadlines, exciting emails, time-saving lunches at the desk, office politics, lovely late nights in the office…all the ‘delights’ of corporate life!
How does this make you feel? Totally fine, I hope. Or does it bring on that knotty feeling in the gut…you know the one! Or does your chest start tightening, and maybe you’re little short of breath and your mind is racing? Some would call this anxiety!
Ok, so I know this is all a bit heavy for a Monday morning, but I can assure you, it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom. I will help those feeling the fear by planting a few seeds that will grow into feelings of calm, peace, acceptance – making the rest of the week (almost) a doddle.
How though? I currently work with people on a one-one basis or in a team scenario to reduce (in the aim of elimination) the stresses and anxiety levels that many experience on a daily basis and not just on a Monday, the whole week, month, year. We work together to find simple ways in which de-stressing practices can be assimilated into your average day without any dramatic changes needing to be made.
Before I go into the practices that are designed to make your (let’s say) week a little easier, I’d really like to emphasise the point that those feelings of stress and anxiety are NOT normal, they are NOT part and parcel of a job and they should NOT be accepted as so. We often hear clients say things like ‘…yeah I’m stressed, buts that’s normal.’ This mindset is dangerous and a fundamental cause of the increase in avoidable mental health issues.
This mindset keeps us holding on to ‘little stresses’ that may seem so minor, or little that you think you can deal with easily. But, all of these little minor stresses got stored. They are the straws piling up eventually breaking the poor camels back. Don’t be the camel.
So, here are three easy steps to make the week a little more, erm…. for now, let’s just say manageable.
Is to mindfully acknowledge the feeling of stress. recognise it, tell yourself “it’s ok,” sit with it for a bi,t and understand that whatever the external cause was, it’s now your choice on how you deal with it.
You have a few options. You can let the stress lead the way and dictate a response (which 9 times out of 10 is an emotional one), or you can bring a little calm back to the mind, logically think about the situation that’s causing the stress. If it is something you have to do… either do it or don’t. All the stressing in the world won’t change the outcome. If it is something that has already happened, it has already happened. You can amp up your stress x10 if you like, but I c guarantee it will not resolve anything. So, you choose how you wish to proceed.
The list of possible stress triggers to some may be obvious or if I listed them here, would be too long and stressful for some to read, but the same principle remains.
The mindful acknowledgment of our stresses is a powerful tool. It allows more control over our actions, our reactions. This positive behaviour change will be noticeable almost immediately. It reduces the size of the ‘thing’ that would usually trigger the stress, but most importantly it will reduce the amount of time your body/mind spends in stress-mode, and lessen the risks from the myriad of health symptoms that stress can lead to.
For more on this, have look back on my post from a couple of weeks ago.
It is all about you, it really is. So step 2 is – ‘time for YOU’. Why wait until the pressure is unbearable before you decide that you need to step outside and take a breather? Try setting a reminder for a 5-10 minute break every 90 – 120 minutes.
You will be amazed at the increase in focus and productivity this brings. Give your mind a break, just like you would need to sit down after running around for hours on end, don’t make your brain do all this leg work without any break, let it take a seat before you put it back on the treadmill.
Remember, this is your mental health we’re talking about, so it’s not to be taken lightly. Here, Debbie Hampton discussed this beautifully ‘Why you need to give your brain a break‘
Dare I encroach on your personal ‘out-of-office’ time? I do because this really is where the magic happens, but also where a little graft is needed. At Mind Work, our ethos is the ‘Mind Matters Most’, and we all need to understand that it must be treated as so if it’s to be kept fit and healthy.
What’s your meditation? Find it. Sitting in quiet crossed legged for periods of time has tremendous benefits, but let’s just take it one step at a time. Find your meditation, find your zen, walk in a park, workout, read something that makes you feel good, build that brain muscle. Going home and watching junk TV like Love Island is literally like taking a dump in your head. Avoid this.
We always hear the term ‘you get out, what you put in’ the mind is no different. I encourage you to think about this seriously. This also means that what goes in needs to come out, like pretty much everything else. So I’m sorry to say that a trip to the pub won’t do you any favours in clearing out the mental negative-junk that your poor brain has consumed throughout the day.
Everyday stresses are stored, and they build up gradually without you noticing, and by the time we do realise we’re stressed/ anxious or unhappy, we’re often already in the hole with an uphill to climb ahead of us.
Look, I have helped many people out of some really deep holes, so if you feel that’s where you are then fear not because it is impermanent. I promise, there is a way out and it is within your power to get you there. However, prevention is better than cure right? Why wait for the shit to hit the fan before you start taking steps to improve your mental health, to personal development, to being able to live a happier, better-balanced life?
Make the decision to make the change and look into employing these three simple practices into your days. So, lets recap:
Mindfully acknowledge the stress/anxiety. Sit with it, understand its cause, react with rational thought.
Give yourself a mental break. Rest the brain often, avoid overworking the mind.
Find your meditation out of the office – take your mindfulness home with you, find your release, not your suppressant.
Wishing you all a less stressful week ahead. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in contact.
You can email directly via firstname.lastname@example.org