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22 Nov 2016

HOW TO DE-STRESS – 7 SIMPLE STEPS

Do you feel overwhelmed at work and can’t seem to shake it once you’re home?

In a survey recently conducted by IN2U, stress was the number one factor that concerned people when it came to their health and wanting to improve their lives.

7 STEPS TO DE-STRESS AND RELAX:

1. Create a to do list

I know many of you will roll your eyes in your head and some of you may also think that it makes things more overhwhelming but getting things out of your head and onto paper can immediately alleviate added stress and mind overwhelm. Being able to create a list of what needs to be done allows you the space to clear this list from your head and allow space to move forward and actually get things done instead of procrastinating on what you should do first. Take a simple note pad and write a list of everything work, personal, family and friends orientated that you need or want to get done this week.

2. Prioritise

Lets face it you’re never going to get everything done today so it’s critical that you prioritise this list and number everything. 1 being the most critical (like the world will end if this doesn’t get done or I may lose my job) onwards. Create a second list of things that don’t matter if they dont get done (there will be no negative outcome to this not being done i.e. cleaning the car). From here categorise your list into: work, personal, family, friends. Then create a new list taking number 1 from each, this ensures you’re creating balance and also avoids you putting all the things for yourself to the end of your priority list, which is what we usually do. So things like catching up with your best friend, calling your sister, going to the gym and meal prepping for the week definitely should not be on the end of your priority list as these are the things that fill your bucket and are so important in ensuring you can give 100% at work or in other areas of your life.

3. Say No!

We are all guilty of this. Saying yes to everything to either please other people or because you don’t want to come across rude or ungrateful. Social invites, babysitting duties, family gatherings, extra work activities… the list goes on. Make a pact with yourself to start saying no to things that dont align with your priorities. It’s simple if you still have things on your priority list then you don’t have time to fulfil someone elses. Start limiting your time and rather than saying yes to everything agree to one family event a month instead of one every weekend, one work social event a month, one social invite a week with friends etc. The more you practice saying no the easier it gets and the more your realise that going to an event that you don’t really want to be at doesnt benefit you or anyone else there. Start appreciating your time with friends, family and work colleagues and you will be in a much better place to be social and have a great time. Enjoy the things you dedicate your time to.

4. Breathe Slowly

Did you know that you can completely relax your body from a stressed state in as little as ten minutes with breathing exercises. Your fight or flight stress response automatically creates the body to breathe faster, shorter breaths which in turn creates more stress on the body and releases stress hormones. Here are four techniques to try:

  • Balanced Breathing – breathe in for a count of four and control your breathe out for the same count, if you find this simple you can progressively start to increase the count anywhere up to 8 for experienced yogis and breathers.
  • Belly Breathing – Place one hand on the belly and one on the chest. Inhale deeply through the nose and focus on filling your lungs and belly with air (notice the hand on your belly rise as you inhale) the aim here is to ensure the hand on your chest is not moving. We want to isolate the inhale to the belly and lungs rather than shallow chest breaths. Exhale slowly and watch the belly fall. Repeat aiming for 8 to 10 breaths per minute.
  •  Alternate Nostril Breathing – As a yoga teacher this can be a great controlled breathing exercise to balance the right and left sides of the brain and bring balance to the mind. Sit in a comfrtable position and place the right hand to the face with the right thumb over the right nostril, with yur index and middle finger resting between the eyebrows (or your third eye). Close the right nostril with the right thumb and breathe deeply through the left nostril. Hold the breathe as you place the ring finger over the left nostril and release the right thumb allowing you to exhale through the right nostril. Continue this pattern next inhaling through the right nostril as you keep the left closed and then holding, switching and releasing through the left.
  • Lions Breathe – Breathe deeply through the nose filling the belly and lungs with as much air as possible. Open the mouth and create a ahhhhh sound as you release all the air in your lungs through your mouth making whatever sound feels natural to you. This can be a powerful stress release breathing technique as you can visualise, hear and feel the stress being pushed out through the mouth. Visualise clean, white energy being drawn in through the nose, release the dark, stress out through the mouth.

5. Stop Procrastinating

Guilty! Is social media like the worlds best procrastination tool. We sit and think OK whats next on my to do list and next minute we are 40 minutes deep into instagram checking who our girlfriends, sisters, brother was dating 3 years ago. Yes we have all been guilty and I’d be confident enough to say do it daily. Whatever it is you use as a procrastination tool be it TV, social media, food, chatting with friends etc identify your distractions and start to eliminate them. For me if I have serious deadlines to meet and work to get done I switch my phone off for an hour at a time and allow myself 5-10 minutes each hour to check emails, have a quick update on notifications etc. Sometimes, especially if you are running a business it can be difficult to switch off from technology…I get it. But lets be honest the world isn’t going to miss you for a few hours a day whilst you disconnect and anyone who messages or calls can get your response in due time because you are busy getting your own stuff done!

6. Meditate

Many people seem to think meditation is a hippy thing to do, but more and more corporates, professional athletes and celebrities are turning to meditation for stress reduction. Meditation doesnt have to mean chating, visualisation or anything other than sitting still in a quiet place internally where you focus on your breathing and as mentioned above completely decompress your fight or flight mode. A great app that I love and recommend to all my clients in the 1 Giant Mind Meditation App. It’s completely free and for people new to meditation takes you step by step through 5 – 20 minute meditation sequences, explaining the benefits and what to expect. Challenge yourself this week to 5 minutes meditation a day instead of 5 minutes procrastination a day and I guarantee you amazing results.

7. Put yourself first

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed I can almost certainly say its because you’re burning the candles at both end and have lost yourself and the priorities you should have on ensuring your own health and wellness is top of your list. People who are less stressed engage in daily activity that they enjoy whether it be going to the gym, walking the dog, hitting the beach, dancing in their lounge room or yoga. Choose an activity that you love to do that when you finish doing it you feel better about yourself, your body and you feel calmer. Commit to making this a priority at least 3 times per week. Nobody else puts you before themselves so why are you doing this for other people? There’s an old saying that is very true “When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to you.”

Comment below and let us know what you will do this week to de-stress it might be make time to have a relaxing bath, get a massage or start walking each morning! I will also offer free health and lifestyle coaching advice in response to any of your questions, to get you started to a healthier, happier you. If this post helped you please share with friends and family.

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