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Managing Stress: Starting From The Inside Out

Self-care is a preventative mental health strategy, this means when you do it you're building your resources and energy. If you're stressed and don’t take time and space for your self care, you’ll eventually find your self battling chronic stress and heading on a downward spiral. After awhile it can have negative impacts on mental and physical health not to mention the quality of your life and relationships.

There are many of us who have experienced anxiety or know someone who has and that’s is only one manifestation of chronic stress. With workplaces being more competitive, the impacts of social isolation during the pandemic, managing employee mental health and wellbeing or simply just trying to balance modern day demands and pressures; stress can easily begin to seem normal part of the work landscape. You might find yourself constantly reacting to situations, struggling to maintain the workload and completely exhausted and fatigued by the end of this year.

Weaving space into life for your self care will help you re-balance and be better at keeping the balance on a daily basis. Daily self-care habits create a sustainable approach to managing stress and help you stop accumulating negative stress. Essentially identifying stress contributors and eliminating them as well as managing the way you cope with everyday stress with some mindfulness coaching can help you recover faster.

Some contributors to stress are:

• Excessive coffee, wine or stimulants including sugar

• Work, the Internet, excessive social media, screen time and digital distractions

• The news and negative media

• The reptilian brain, negative thinking, ruminating on past or fantasising about the future

• Overly identifying with fast in-coming, unhelpful thoughts

• Multi-tasking

• Taking things too personally

• Being highly focussed on material gain and trying to keep up with Joneses'

• Doing too much. The glorification of busy!

• Not nurturing or taking care of your body with sleep, nutritious food and exercise.

• Burning the candles at both ends

• Numbing or trying to repress challenging emotions

We all suffer from some of these habitual stress reactions but if you don’t take stock, it can drain your energy and before long you’ll be feeling the chronic impacts of stress on your health. Modern life doesn't have to be defined by how much stress we can adjust to.

The skill of Mindfulness and Meditation has been instrumental in me being less anxious, learning to really live intentionally in the present moment and letting what's out of my control, go. Mindfulness has helped me make wiser choices about what I do with my time and helped me find meaning in my own life's journey. Professionally it has also helped me connect with my community, serve others and be a more effective facilitator.

Here’s some ways you can be more present with mindfulness and help reduce the impact of everyday stress on your mind, body and emotions:

• Practice formal meditation for 20 minutes everyday • Slow down and take more care in everything you do, including the ordinary tasks • Pay attention to your thoughts and realise you’re not everything you think. Be wiser in choosing what thoughts to identify with and be sure they support your wholeness • Take deep breaths periodically and check into your body sensations, feeling tones, mind states, impulses and expanding to your whole field of experience. • Drink a cup of tea slowly and reverently using all your senses curiously while savouring pleasure from the experience • Accept yourself right now, exactly as you in all your imperfection and sit with what is present • Forgive and accept, reframe if need be and draw meaning from past hurts and failures rather than resisting them

• Bring a feeling of warmth and self-compassion to your breath when dealing with difficult emotions and make space for them too

Put it all into practice and making it habitual.

Easier said than done but all I can say is practice, practice, practice. You do have some choice on what you focus on so starting with a few small steps can make a significant difference to your life. You might find our mindfulness program helpful, working one on one with me in coaching or a small group retreat the perfect way to reset and start the journey back to you.


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