22. Talk to a friend.
Ever said: ‘I just need to get this off my chest. You won’t believe what she did today. I just couldn’t believe it. My heart was racing. I was in shock. She….’.
Remember how much better you felt after you’d talked to your bestie?
But this hack can be easy to forget when you’re stressed because your perspective narrows. Right, so, spend a moment now, remembering who your go-to person is: the person you can moan to, who will listen and not judge, and who’ll give you a hug when you need one.
Practising mindfulness may seem like a fad but it really works. I do 5-10 mins of mindful breathing each morning, and I feel the benefit. Perhaps you’re thinking you don’t have time to learn it? Well, here’s the thing: you don’t need to go on a course and there’s no ‘proper’ way to do it.
Here’s a short mindfulness exercise for you in just six steps: (a) sit quietly and close your eyes; (b) breath in and out, being aware of each breath; (c) go ‘inside’ yourself and notice how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking; just notice and ‘be with’ yourself however you are; (d) continue to be with yourself in this quiet way; if you notice thoughts come, say to yourself, ‘there’s a thought. I can let it float by’, and refocus your attention on your breath; (e) just before you’re about to finish and open your eyes, decide what you’ll choose to do or how you’ll choose to be in the next moments of your day e.g. I choose not to check my emails until 11am, I choose to be kind to myself, or I choose to go home at 6pm today; (f) open your eyes, and implement your choice.
There are free guided mindfulness tracks on YouTube. Headspace is a mindfulness App that’s free for a trial period.
24. Let go of how you think things SHOULD be.
My mum is someone who causes herself stress by thinking she knows how things SHOULD be rather than accepting them as they are. She’ll phone to say she’s been out to lunch, and tell me how her lasagne wasn’t cooked how she likes it (crispy on top), how the servers were scruffy, how there was too long a break between starters and mains, and more… I ask, ‘did you enjoy it?’ She says, ‘well sort of but it wasn’t as good as it should have been.’ Ummm. It’s the gap between how you think things should be and how they are that causes much stress. Let go of the SHOULD and there’s no gap for the stress to creep into.
Now, I’m not advocating being so laid back & accepting that you become a door mat, or that you must put up with something that’s not okay by you. What I’m advocating is not letting yourself stress about things that really don’t matter.
25. Dance it out.
A tactic used by Meredith and Cristina. It works! Put on your favourite, up-beat music LOUD and dance it out. Dance until you feel better.
26. Limit the time you spend with people who bring you down.
Jim Rohn famously said we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Whether you agree with him or not, it’s still helpful to limit the time you spend with your Uni friend who brings you down, or your brother who brags about his big house and business trips. Instead, maximise the time you spend with people you genuinely like and around whom you’re happy being ‘you’.
27. Watch your language.
If you tell yourself you SHOULD finish that report before you go home, that you GOTTA ring your mum, MUST clean the bathroom, OUGHT TO go to the gym, MUST sort the spare room and more, watch your language. Shoulds, musts, have tos, gottas, ought tos are all words that subtly reveal how you’re driving yourself hard and harshly = you’re more likely to feel stressed when you don’t live up to your expectations. Next time you notice yourself talking to yourself like this, stop it! Ask yourself what you want instead.
A friend of mine, Amanda, says her 20 mins yoga practice each day keeps her well and healthy, and holds stress at bay. She watches a video to guide her in the exercises but she started off doing a class. Book yourself into a local class. See what yoga can do for you.
Is your stress a sign of something else? Do you want your career and life to be different but don’t know where to start? Click on the image or button below to grab your free copy of my Rethink Your Life Toolkit.
This Toolkit will get you unstuck! Inside you get my 7 step Rethink Your Life system, within which to rethink your career and life (the very same system I use with my clients), and I give you the 7 questions you need to ask yourself to work out what would make you feel happier and fulfilled. Click on the button or image below and get your free Toolkit today.