It’s Stress Awareness Month in April and we all know what that means… we’re going to see heaps about how stress is bad for us and how it’s becoming more and more of a problem. The real problem here though, is how we are not supported in reducing it as much as we need. Workload seems to be increasing, pressures seem to be rising, and the world seems to be expecting more from us! What we need, is simple wellness. Accessible, simple yet powerful strategies to reduce the stress and get us feeling like us again!
What Stress Awareness Month teaches me
I was going to highlight how stress affects us, but we know that already. We know our headaches, lack of sleep and irritable moods are often caused by stress, so we understand that ideally, we’d like stress to go away a little. I understood this through years of allowing myself to be affected by what other people thought of me, to be affected by comparisons, and expectations and over-thinking. Which only turned into restless sleep, arguments, frustrations and exhaustion. I had a wee light-bulb moment when I realized it wasn’t up to others how I felt, and funnily enough I didn’t want the idea of someone or something else to steal my happiness. Simply because it’s only an idea, it is not reality.
So I started practicing things that felt good. I started doing small things, every day, to feel good, every day. And I really started to notice it. These simple wellness strategies like moving away from my desk every hour started to shift negative feelings. Saying thank you in the mornings stopped expectations and jealousy in their tracks. Saying nice things to myself first, eradicated the need to listen to the thoughts I had about what other people thought of me.
They were so simple, yet so powerful, and I truly believe every woman needs to adopt them. Let’s kick this stress to the curb my friends!
Simple wellness: a guide for the busy woman
It’s easy to put our self-care to the bottom of the list in hopes that if we finish the list, we’ll feel good enough to then do something nice for ourselves. Unfortunately this is the total opposite of what we should be doing, and inevitably leads to stress. By putting ourselves first, just for 5 minutes, allows us to see the day and ourselves clearly so we can move with intention, and not through reaction.
I do agree though it’s hard to put ourselves first if our strategies involve hour long yoga sessions, expensive spa treatments, or complicated workout routines. The great thing is though, simple wellness is just as powerful and because it’s more accessible and doable, it’s far more impactful on our stress.
So let’s kick off shall we!
First things first…
We must first work out what we enjoy. To do this, have a 5 minute think about what makes you happy. Did you once like to dance? Do you enjoy achieving things? Do you like to learn new things? Identifying this will help to kick-start your simple wellness strategies and help you avoid ones that just won’t work. For example, I have huge nunga’s and have tried time and time again to enjoy running because other people love it… only to finally realize I never will because it feels so uncomfortable. However, I love the feeling and expression of dance and so I choose online workouts that are somehow infused with dance elements.
Once you have a bit of an understanding of what floats your boat, check down this list and circle or write down any you think you’d like.
Then, write next to it when you’re going to do it next and how frequently. Tomorrow? Next week? Every day, every month?
Give yourself some sort of praise each week when you’ve managed to look after yourself well with simple wellness. With this, you could give yourself a pat on the back, a kiss on the back of the hand or go all out and buy yourself some flowers.
Simple wellness strategies
- Book something nice for yourself in advance, and appreciate the gorgeous anticipation that comes from it
- Praise yourself
- Treat yourself
- Take a day-off
- Reflect on your challenges and what you’ve overcome
- Read a book
- Walk to work
- Do some bed yoga
- Make the most of your pillow and give it a cuddle
- Work out at home with something like Yoga LIVE
- Move more by giving yourself a break every 25 minutes, for 5 minutes
- Say thank you for the small things
- Invest in things that simplify your life (think food prep, My Food Bag, organising your wardrobe)
- Practice EFT
- Meditate for 5 mins
- Write down your thoughts when you feel like it
- Repeat mantras and affirmations
- Watch a TED-Talk
- Give yourself a daily focus
- Write up a pros and cons list/table when you’re making a decision
- Use essential oils
- Remind yourself you cannot know everything and that’s ok
- Be mindful when you can
- Take 3 big yogic breaths every morning
- Do 25 movements every morning (squats, sit-ups, high-knees – whatever you fancy!)
- Give someone and yourself a compliment
- Make yourself a ‘happy’ folder or file and record all the good things that have happened to you, big or small. When you’re feeling down – read!
- Walk on your lunch breaks, or between activities
- Sing to yourself
Of course, there are plenty more and there’ll be some that resonate with you but that’s a mighty fine list to start with. Pick a few and see how you go, keeping in your mind you are worthy of giving yourself a little time. And remember, every time a bit of guilt or doubt comes in, remind yourself you live once and you’d like to enjoy as much as of it as you can.
Simple wellness can be so powerful, and it starts here. Go and conquer!
And remember, if yoga is your thing and you don’t have the time to head to a studio, try out Yoga LIVE. Each week we meet live for 3 sessions, in our own homes, for 20 minutes of delicious stretching and strengthening. We’re all there supporting and guiding each other, and our monthly challenges are great ways to keep the motivation up. Join us here for $10 a month and get your 2-week free trial. You totally deserve to stop running around after everyone, and give yourself some attention, and your starting point is here. Join Yoga LIVE here.