How many of us get up in the morning and operate on auto-pilot until bedtime? Some routine is great; it allows us to manage stress, do what we need to do, function without having to expend too much energy. But living on auto-pilot constantly means missing out on being fully engaged and living life well.
Here are some tips to improve your day and manage stress:
– Here’s a controversial tip. Why not leave your mobile phone at home occasionally. It can be important to be contactable; people with children, important work commitments often regard it as crucial to be readily available, but how many times have you sat having a coffee with friends or been watching a film at the cinema and seen people on their mobile phones? It’s very rare that a phone call or text needs an immediate response. Practise leaving your phone at home and, after the separation anxiety abates, discover how liberating it feels.
– Sing. When you’re in the car sing along to the radio. If you have passengers it can be fun to have a sing along. Everyone will have a smile on their face and have got to know each other better as they exchanged a few good-humoured insults in the process.
– Dance. Bopping along in your lounge is good exercise, stimulates endorphins and is fun. Some people like to close their curtains first!
– Watch good-humoured films. Comedies, happy films are an excellent way to improve your day, lift your spirits and manage stress. Taking some time out for yourself is also an important way to relax, spend time maybe with family or friends and detach a little from the stress and intensity of your daily commitments.
– Count your blessings. Consider all the good things in your life, many of which we often take for granted. Water, electricity, heating, food are things that many of us don’t really think about but there are many people on the planet who would be grateful to have these as readily available as we do.
Then there is your education, skills, areas of expertise. I remember having a consultant write my CV and being incredulous at what was written, so much of which I’d forgotten about or didn’t consider significant. Count your good health, friends, family; even if some areas are problematic at times they are still an important part of your life.
Even bad experiences often bring a positive result eventually; circumstances may force us to move on with our lives, change direction, require the support of our family and friends more. Improve your day and manage stress by counting your blessings and appreciating the person you have become as a consequence of your life experiences.
– Reward yourself with treats. The stress and hard work of a busy life deserves to be rewarded occasionally. A bar of chocolate, bunch of flowers, a massage, an afternoon with a good book or a game of golf are all ways to improve your day and remind yourself why you work so hard. The key to managing stress is about accommodating the different areas of your life. Introduce good habits, find a better balance and improve your health.
– Look after yourself. If you used your car intensively, drove many miles, relied on it to always be there you would be vigilant in your care of it; you would service it regularly, top it up with oil, notice any strange noises. The same applies to you and your body. Have regular meal breaks, exercise, share the workload with others, say ‘no’ sometimes, delegate if you can. Wind down at the end of each day before bed. Maybe have a relaxing bath or shower, listen to pleasant music, take good care of yourself.
When we nurture ourselves, find a balance in our lives, enjoy what we do or at least sustain certain areas in our lives that provide satisfaction and fulfillment we become better able to deal with and manage stress. A few simple adjustments to our day can make all the difference to our health and wellbeing and as such improve the quality of our life.
Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples in crisis to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.