Whose life isn’t overflowing with deadlines, paperwork, unread emails and the guilty pang of ordering takeaway again or skipping yet another yoga class? We get it. You are supremely busy. You’re probably also highly stressed by your hectic schedule.
What you need isn’t a long weekend of solitude but a map to finding your Zen in your daily routine.
Yes, that means every day.
So here are some pointers on how to keep calm and carry on during your day’s most stressful moments.
Can’t remember the last time you lifted your spirits in a yoga studio or on a running path? Don’t sweat the big stuff. As it turns out, you can do tons of little things every day to improve your mood.
Listen to your favourite song while getting ready for work or getting a task done. Make a cup of tea and drink it away from your desk. Or snap that leash on your pup. Studies have shown that walking the dog is one of the most effective ways of reducing stress.
If you’re determined to exercise be sure to keep your workouts fresh so you stay motivated. Scheduling an early morning workout at home or in the neighbourhood will not only save time but also inspire you to become a morning person.
We can go from hungry to hangry real quick (yes, I’m raising my hand!). Juggling work projects, social hour, and home life means we’re feeding ourselves stressful thoughts instead of balanced meals. So set aside 20 minutes away from your laptop to eating mindfully. This means focusing only on eating with zero distractions. That singular focus will slow down your racing mind and clear the clutter from it.
What you eat is also important so opt for a hard-boiled egg, almonds or brown rice instead of fast food. Fix a sweet craving with strawberries dipped in dark chocolate which is known to regulate stress hormones.
Drinking teas that are infused with passionflower, St. John’s wort, kava, oats, damiana or chamomile will have a calming effect on the mind and body. Just be sure not to down more than two cups a day.
Happy people are grateful people. To practice gratitude, start by writing down your weekly small wins in a day planner. This will force you to pay attention to the good in your life and lessen your focus on the negative.
When you understand gratitude, you’ll also learn to laugh at yourself. This is wonderfully therapeutic and will have an instant positive effect on all your relationships including that with yourself.
Being tired isn’t fun. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, which may sound unrealistic with a hectic schedule but will help tremendously in reducing anxiety.
Work backwards by going to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier each week until you hit your desired bed time. Make a routine of getting up at the same time, even on the weekends, to keep on track. Research has shown that you can’t “catch up” on sleep, so trying to squeeze in extra hours on the weekend won’t do you much good.
Also nix anything that raises stress in your mind and body from your bedroom and keep your bed strictly as place of relaxation and quiet.
It’s inevitable that in our overbooked lives, stress will make us go crazy if we forget or neglect to take a break. With just these few simple changes to the everyday grind, you can hit the reset button and tap into your daily supply of Zen.
How do you slow down in your life? Tell us in the comments section below.
As a freelance content strategist, Anna Crowe has had the opportunity to work with global brands including McDonalds, Hearst Magazine, and Mailboat records. Say hello on Twitter @annaleacrowe
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