Ever had a time where everything just seems to be getting on top of you?
Like most of you out there, I have always struggled to feel an inner sense of calm and peace especially when there appears to be a forever ‘to do’ list. If you are a naturally anxious person too, things can sometimes feel like they are snowballing out of control. If you have ever felt like this, then I am hoping some of the points I list below will help.
I have also included a free workbook as who doesn’t like free things??!
1. Find your triggers. Do you know where your sense of lack of control or anxiety is coming from? If you are not sure what your triggers are, writing a journal or diary every day and noting down how you are feeling may help. I have made one which you can get here if you are not sure where to start.
2. Fitting in relaxation and downtime. In a society where we can be made to feel guilty if we are not giving it 110% all of the time, allowing ourselves to relax can cause a feeling of guilt. I find it is definitely something that needs to be practised. It depends on your situation as to what this would look like to you. To some with a busy work and home life, simply having a cup of tea without the children vying for your attention is all you are going to get and sometimes that might be interrupted. I am in this category, I now book that time in with the hubby and try and get out of the house. Going for a walk, a coffee on your own, exercise etc are all good ways. It is so important for reflection, a chance to reset and live in the moment.
3. Set up a morning routine where you get to start the day the way you WANT to. Sometimes, our stresses come from a sense of the day controlling us rather than us controlling the day so start the day with good, positive intentions. I know for me this means getting up a little earlier in the morning when my children and husband are still asleep. If I can, I try to get some exercise in and if that isn’t possible then at least some positive thinking in the form of affirmations or 5 minutes of meditation. You can find some ideas and help in my workbook here.
4. Practise a positive outlook. When things don’t go the way we want to or we find ourselves in those ‘trigger’ situations, it is so tough to find a way forward, we can feel trapped in the situation. With practice, you can start to look at situations differently by changing your mindset and perspective. You are NOT going to let this beat you, you CAN handle this. Remember, we are in control of our own realities. It is simple but not easy. Speaking from experience as I still find myself defaulting to negative more often than I would like. We, as humans, have a tendency to ruminate and think about the same negative thoughts on loop. Here are a few things to try in these situations:
- deep breathing. Try and breathe in for the count of 7, hold your breath for 3 seconds and then breathe out for 7.
- be grateful. Think about all of things you are grateful for. Family, friends etc
- I have designed some affirmations which can be printed and stuck up around your house / office to remind you of your inner strength. You can find them under the ‘motivation’ tab.
- Imagine your life on a cinema screen and see your thoughts, accept that you are having these thoughts and it is okay and then let them go. You can read more about this approach in ‘The Telomere Effect’ by Dr Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr Elissa Epel.
5. Prioritise. Sometimes, we struggle to find our calm as there is just too much to do and we don’t know where to start. Try to think about the things which need to be completed now and those that can wait. You can find my ‘to do’ list in my workbook, here.
6. Talk to someone. If you feel that things are getting a little out of your control and you feel your world is becoming a dark place, know that there is nothing wrong with getting help. Whatever that help means to you, know that it is okay. I have seen psychologists in the past when I couldn’t work out a way forward on my own. It is okay and you are not weak for admitting you need a bit of extra support.
7. Let go of the guilt. How many of you feel trapped or stressed as you are feeling guilty for something? Normally, too many people are pulling you in too many directions and you can’t do it all and so you end up having to say no to someone which can lead to a sense of guilt. Know that is okay to say no to people. Know that you are doing the best you can do in this situation and it is okay to take time for you and your needs.
8. Live in the moment as much as you can and enjoy the little things. My friend recently told me a story of when her and her husband went on holiday. They were just walking, both in their own thoughts. My friend turned to her husband and said, “what are you thinking about?” He turned to her and said “I was just thinking of the way that bird has just landed on that bit of grass and how the wind is making the leaves shake. Why what are you thinking about?” She replied, “I am planning everything I have got to do when we get home.” Now my friend is fantastically organised and as we know if we don’t plan, we plan to fail but there is something to be said about just switching off and accepting the present as it is and finding beauty in it, however small, however insignificant it may seem. There is a lot of beauty in this world and you are a part of that beauty. Look around and take it all in.