I don’t necessarily mean packing up and ditching the day - although sometimes I do. I mean, stopping for lunch, a walk, a nap in the middle of the day.
Even more so, when things feel challenging, stressful or like your back is against the wall?
What about when it’s 7pm on a Friday evening?
Often, the best thing you can do when you’re stressed and there is no time to get things done, and the most crucial thing feels like the email, deadline, or meeting you’ve got coming up.
Whatever the ‘thing’. You are the most important part of the puzzle. Your health is fundamental to anything getting done.
So this is your reminder that when you can’t see the wood for the trees, and everything feels a little much, or you feel like you don't have the time to take a break. Make time. Step away from the computer (and the phone and other stimulants), go sit in the park, or somewhere quiet and just breathe for 5 minutes.
I can guarantee that you’ll come back feeling better.
What is stress?
I read recently the difference between stress and overwhelm and it made so much sense.
Stress “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.”
Overwhelm “bury or drown beneath a huge mass of something, especially water.”
Essential overwhelm being the accumulation of multiple stressors, alongside our mental anticipation of those stressors.
With stress, the best thing we can do is take a second to review the situation, identify the priorities and ask for help (the thing most of us are notoriously bad for).
In an overwhelmed situation, we cannot do any of this. This is when it feels like blood is in your ears and nothing makes sense, you do not have the capacity to make a decision, so you cannot prioritise or fix things. This is when you remove yourself from the situation for 5-10 minutes to breathe and prioritise yourself. This is the only way back.
If you find yourself in stressful situations more and more often. Sometimes this could be acute stress (panic in an unsafe situation - like me nearly breaking my ankles the other day, or getting hit by a car in the past), or more often nowadays it could chronic stress. Over time you can start to notice reducing quality and quantity of sleep, increased inflammation, and over time increased risk or knowledge of disease and illness.
Take this as your call to action before you can't change it.
A couple of signs of stress
Have you noticed increased weight gain, or water retention after period of stress?
Or that you have to wake up multiple times in the night to pee, but you fall back to sleep quickly?
Yeah, there’s a good chance that your cortisol is so high through the day that by the time you go to bed it’s only starting to reduce, causing water to leave your body, forcing you to wake for a pee.
If you haven’t already, look at your evening routine. Do you allow time to relax and unwind before bed? Or are you on your phone answering work emails as you turn the lamp off? Cut that crap out, now.
Is your routine pretty good? You eat well? You move? You take time for yourself? Try Ashwaganda in the evening to help reduce your cortisol levels. This adaptogen helps with so many areas of health, effectively enforcing the benefits of the good things you already do (eat veggies, move, eat a good diet) to enhance the benefits, as well as regulate your hormones.
A little stress is OK (not great, but acceptable). At what point are you willing to look at yours and decide if and how it needs to change?
This is you call to action - look after yourself.