Modern life is undeniably full on and somehow as a society we seem to glorify those who never seem to stop. But this ‘sleep when I’m dead’ stuff has serious ramifications. If we don’t tend to our health – and I’m talking emotional, energetic and mental health as well as our physical body, we run the risk of falling into a heap when life tosses us a curve ball. Curve balls come in all sorts of forms – illness, work stress, relationship issues, and even fabulous things like getting a promotion or falling pregnant. We need to find ways to boost our resilience in the face of these inevitable stressors of life. I’d go even one step further – we need to engage in self-care because it is the cornerstone of happiness and wellbeing, and the means by which we become the kind of people we aspire to be. There is nothing selfish about that.
3 ways to destress in less than 60 seconds:
- Use the mantra: ‘I give myself permission to…’ you fill in the blank. For me, I like to pop in the word ‘rest’. It’s amazing the strife we cause ourselves by resisting the way that we feel, denying what we need or just plain wanting things to be different than they are. Use this mantra to create a little more space around your feelings or to free yourself up from guilt about particular actions. Do what you need to do. Allow yourself to feel as you do. This will diminish your stress.
- Zoom in on beauty or something you find captivating. Take a 60 second break from worry, rumination, problem solving or just plain stressing and take a close look at something awe-inspiring. I love to zoom in on the tiny hairs on my little boys face – helps me restrain from wringing his sweet little neck 🙂 Or gaze on natural beauty around you. Seek it out, get absorbed in it and feel how it transforms your mood.
- Get anchored in your body. When you begin to feel flooded by stress hormones or anger, stop and get connected to your physical body. Feel your feet on the floor, your legs if you are standing and elongate your spine. Seek out areas of tension – you are likely to find it in your forehead, eyes, jaw, shoulders, neck and hands. Soften any clenching you find. Next, feel your breathing. See if you can relax into the sensation of breathing and allow your breath to move freely through you. Notice how just anchoring your attention on your body and breath can help you disentangle yourself from stress.
Repeat after me: self-care isn’t selfish.