The Design Your Life blog series has been about how, as Mums we are notoriously busy, often with few pauses or chances to catch our breath, and how this affects us.
Read on for a Guest post by Kirsty Salisbury, Wellness Coach about how we can let go of stress. And why we should!
It can often seem like a never ending mission to ensure that everyone else is going OK. That the kids are still breathing, there’s food in the fridge, lunch boxes in bags, and that everyone has at least one matching pair of socks to wear… Throw in trying to look presentable, have a job, while keeping the house semi hygienic, and that juggling act is almost certain to fall apart. Whether it does or not, I can guarantee that stress is never far away.
Perhaps you’ve felt like you’re on a constant roller coaster with stress, up and down, up and around. It’s the ride you never realised you had tickets for, yet here you are – swooshing up and down, side to side and flying loop de loop. Just when you think that things must be about to even out, that gut curdling dip and rush of cortisol hits again. I can totally relate. There was a time not so long ago when my doctor actually diagnosed me as being ‘addicted to stress’. Yep, I had become so familiar with those roller coaster rides, that I had unknowingly started creating drama and stress just to feel the exhilaration of the roller coaster ride. A little confusing to say the least. On one hand I hated what it was doing to me, and on the other, I needed that rush to feel like I was doing what I should be, trying hard enough, and achieving enough. I was pretty much living on caffeine and chocolate and I was a mess. My gut was in tatters, my emotions all over the place, I barely slept, and I shocked myself each time I burst into tears with simply no explanation. On one hand I was addicted to the drama, and on the other hand I just wanted to scream “Let me off!!!”
Stress is a good thing, but ONLY in the right circumstances. Like when we need superhuman powers to run from a wild beast chasing us, or to escape an attack or before an exam/presentation, or escaping a life threatening situation. But ongoing or frequent high stress brings no value into our worlds. In fact, it can have very serious effects to our health and wellbeing. Ever heard the term ‘worry yourself sick’? Well, there’s a reason this saying exists… because when we let stress take over, the rise in health risks can also take over. Research suggests that stress increases the risk of heart disease by 40%, heart attack by 40%, and stroke by a whopping 60%! Not to mention inflammation, ulcers, hair loss, sleep deprivation and depression. It’s believed that in some areas that 3 out of 4 doctors visits are stress related – yes 75%!*
But what can we do about this? Well… we can start to look out for ourselves for a start. Begin taking time for ourselves, and doing something that serves no purpose for anyone else. It’s amazing how this can help us to refocus, let go of the stress, and to see things in a positive light. Things like getting out in the sunshine, going for a walk, joining up for a short course, coffee with the girls, or that dance class you’ve always wanted to try out. Meditating, yoga, breathing and relaxation techniques can do absolute wonders too. Anything that is going to start to refresh our thought patterns. Next, is to be aware of how we fill our time. The people we hang out with, the TV shows we watch, what we look at on social media, and the amount of things we try to fit into our days. Spending just 15 minutes a day doing something truly relaxing can make all the difference to how we see the world.
My 7 year old daughter is learning about filling her cup at school at the moment. It’s beautiful. The teacher has literally helped them to decorate cups with their names on them, and they have all been stuck to the wall. At any point, a child can write a nice word, or draw a picture, and pop it into one of the named cups. They are also learning how their activities can fill or empty their cups, and how the people they spend time with do that too. She now knows what types of things give her energy and happiness. Something us adults need to know too. The other day, things had gotten her down, and I was met with a truly sobbing child at the school gate (yes, the kind of sobbing where snot goes everywhere). Once in my arms all she had to say was “my cup is empty” and in an instant I got it. She felt empty, and needed some love, and best of all – we didn’t need to navigate the other 100+ questions to try before getting to the bottom of her emotions.
So why as Mums, are we not doing more for ourselves? Allowing ourselves to get off that stress roller coaster and to do more to fill our own cups? When our cup is full, we can offer a lot more to the world, and everything seems to have so much more perspective. They don’t need to be big things. But things that give us charge. Now is the time to go and do these things. A little time each week to make sure that our cups are getting filled as well. It will feel great to switch out the cortisol for some endorphins. Overall, if we can reduce our sources of stress, we can connect better with ourselves and experience more joy. This makes us feel better, look better and actually be nicer people in this world. My challenge to us all is this:
Do one thing each day, (no matter how small) to love our inner selves. Even deep breathes are like little love notes to ourselves.
A recap of Kirsty’s ideas to let go of stress!
- Get out in the sunshine, go for a walk
- Join up for a short course
- Have a coffee with the girls
- Take that dance class you’ve always wanted to try out
- Meditate, try yoga
- Use breathing and relaxation techniques
- Try anything that is going to start to refresh our thought patterns.
- Be aware of how we fill our time – the people we hang out with, the TV shows we watch, what we look at on social media, and the amount of things we try to fit into our days.
- Spend just 15 minutes a day doing something truly relaxing to make all the difference to how we see the world.
Kirsty is a Wellness Coach and Speaker. She inspires others to reach their full potential, no matter their circumstances or restrictions. Personal crisis is inevitable, but it’s how we deal with it that she believes matters most. She is the host of her podcast ‘Let’s Talk Life Design’ (www.letstalklifedesign.com), and loves enabling others to share their incredible stories along with practical strategies to living a life filled with purpose.
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