When I’m doing talks or training groups of people in a facilitator’s role I often ask the question ‘put your hand up if you think you lead a busy life?’. 99% of hands shoot up like rocket launches. I’m sure that many of you who are reading this right now want to put your hand up. This modern time we live in seems to have created lives where we are always having to get something done. We have long lists of things that we need to get completed in our day which just gets longer and it seems like the clock is always working against us.
With the increased demand for every minute in our day, many people feel their stress levels soar. It is at this time when we feel overwhelmed or stressed, we need to look after ourselves and implement behaviors to help us unwind. However, as our time for this is scarce we often fall away from some of these behaviors. An example may be that you stay late at work because you have to finish that report or clear your emails - which means you miss your nightly walk. This walk is how you would normally unwind, hence the opportunity to de-stress is lost.
The other day a friend asked me if I have a list of tips that I give to people for ways to de-stress? I’ve got to be honest here, I hate just about all the ‘Top 10 tips’ articles I read, they do my head in. The tips are often very light in value and substance and I wonder if anyone ever makes positive changes because of them. But hey, the titles can be attention grabbing and are successful at getting us to click through to read more, maybe I need to take a chill pill.
When my friend approached me, she was really interested in what I tell people around how to de-stress. Are there magical ways to help people do this? I could easily write a top ten list, I could list the value of exercise for de-stressing, that some form of mediation can make a big difference, that scheduling micro breaks at work and getting outside can help. Don’t worry I’m not going to do ten. But to me there’s a more honest realistic answer.
What I’ve learnt over the years is that there is no one perfect way to de-stress. We are all different and the ways we de-stress are completely different as well. I’ll give you an example. I love to mediate, I’ve done it nearly everyday for over 15 years and to me it’s one of the best things that keeps me in a healthy mental place. But while mediation works perfectly for me it may not for you. You might enjoy playing some music, sitting outside with a hot drink and enjoying the still of the night.
When I first started doing personal coaching I suggested that some of my clients try mediation and my success rate for them maintaining the habit was 0%! I quickly figured out that my way isn’t the best way for others. Once I figured this out I changed tack and we worked out their method for de-stressing. I had a client who loved getting out in the garden after a hard days work, then there was a business owner who loved going home at lunch time to play with his dogs.
So what is my advice around the best ways to de-stress? The answer is you probably already know what they are for you. The real challenge it to make a conscious effort to put them in place in your life. If you know playing with your dogs helps you unwind make sure that you get it in everyday, make it a priority. This is especially important when times get busy as it is at these times that we don’t want to drop our de-stress activities, we want to be vigilant in maintaining them. We may have to reduce the amount of time we put into them but if you pull away from them completely you’ll find you end up in a less effective place.
The next time you start to feel the stress levels start to amplify, stop what you are doing and remind yourself of how you de-stress. From there make a commitment to yourself that you are going to keep that activity in your life no matter how crazy it gets. By doing this you’ll find that not only are you more effective in what you do but you won’t feel like you are losing yourself to ‘what everyone else wants me to do’.
If you enjoy my pieces you can get them emailed to you when I put them on the internet. This way you won't have to come back to my website to check when a new piece is out. Don't worry I won't spam you. If you want to join up just put your details in here: