Updated: Mar 31, 2021
Does this sound all too familiar to you?
We have seen it all over the last year, haven't we? Are you still trying to do just as much as you were before COVID-19? Perhaps you have added extra responsibilities now as well, looking out for your neighbours and vulnerable relatives while trying to hold down a job and look after your own family. Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed, tired and run down but can't quite put your finger on why. You are not alone. It could all be down to the impact of prolonged or chronic Stress.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help yourself work with the Stress rather than add to it. Relax and feel better able to cope. Keep reading for some helpful hints and tips or Join me for a Soothe Stress zoom relax and learn session for just £10 for an hour to yourself and leave feeling refreshed with some tools, tips and tricks to help.
The Juggling trap
We all do it. Try to play Wonderwoman or Superman in times of crisis, hide from the reality of it and keep taking on more and more responsibilities, pretending to ourselves that it will all be ok if we can just keep going or perhaps do the opposite and shut ourselves down and hide under to duvet for a bit. None of these approaches will help us feel safe and in control forever and can't be sustained for long without having to pay the consequences in the form of burnout or breakdown. If like me, you feel like we have only just come out of a period of homeschooling that presented itself with a whole raft of new challenges on its own and now it is the Easter holidays and there is an added expectation of outdoor social easing too on top of everything else. I personally don't know how I am going to be able to keep doing all of that! The point of that ramble is, I can't! How about you? Are your expectations of yourself and possibly of those around you too high right now?
Issue - I have too much on my plate right now and am feeling overwhelmed
"I'm under too much stress! I can't keep juggling all of this, I have too much to do and not enough time to get it all done in, others are letting me down or not helping and there is too much that is outside of my own control right now but I am still expected to deal with it all, keep calm and carry on anyway! Well, it's not on!"
Tip 1 - Prioritise, delegate and bin unnecessary tasks
Ask yourself, what is really important to you. What is most important. What one thing can I do today, to make my life easier for myself without everything grinding to a complete halt?
Can I remove some tasks off my plate, delegate them, delay them or don't bother with them at all. Do they ALL really have to be done today? If your world can still keep turning without them, bin them or if you really want to, save them for later.
Tip 2 - Deal ONLY with what is within your control
Ask yourself, what things am I worrying about that are outside of my control? What things are within my control that I can do something about today? I can't control everything and I don't have to! Let go of those things that are outside of your control and focus instead on what you can do today. Start with a small decision you can make today and act on it to ease your uncertainty. For example, plan what you are going to have for lunch and when.
Tip 3 - Take a break, no really, actually do it!
How can you buy yourself some time for yourself today? What can you do to slow down a bit, be kinder to yourself and take a break? Once you have removed something off today's list. Make a commitment to use some of that saved time for yourself. Stop for that cup of tea, gaze out of the window and dream or call a friend and chat for 10 minutes.
Tip 4 - Breathe
It may seem obvious but the best thing I have ever learnt to help moderate my own stress levels is to become conscious of how I am breathing. Pause for a moment and notice how you are breathing right now. Is it fast or shallow? Is your chest rising and falling with each breath or are you abdominal breathing?
Once you know how you are unconsciously breathing without thought, you can voluntarily change it. Slow it down and see if you can breathe out longer on your out-breath than your in-breath at least 3 times and see how that makes you feel.
Tip 5 - Reflexology Soothe Stress Self Help
Give some Reflexology self help a try! Don't know how to self apply reflexology? The solution is to attend one of my Soothe Stress, Relax and Learn Lunchtime sessions! An hour of guided Reflexology relaxation for just £10. Help yourself get through the rest of your day more easily. Learn more hints on tips to take away on how to help yourself manage your stress levels more effectively. If you can't make the live date and time I have you covered with a video recording included for you to watch back as often and whenever you wish. Facial Reflexology workbook and hand Reflexology instruction worksheet all included.
It will come as no surprise that the levels of stress being felt across the world is still rising. Before COVID-19 'Up to 80 per cent of all GP consultations are thought to be somehow related to stress' according to Dr Rangan Chatterjee in his book 'The Stress Solution'. The latest research suggests that this percentage has risen even higher. If you wish to make longer-term simple changes to how you manage your stress levels I highly recommend his book. It will come as no surprise that one of his recommendations is to give Reflexology a try. If you need more help and support, do get in touch with your GP or local health provider, talk to your employer, HR and wellbeing teams. If you work for yourself, you are your greatest asset so please invest in your own wellbeing.
In the UK there are more hints, tips and advice here NHS Support.
Reflexology and Wellbeing Workshops
Facial Reflexology to aid Menopausal symptoms. (Available to buy online)
Sleep Visualisation and Reflexology Movement Meditation Workshop. (By request)
Calm Fun - Monthly 'Calm Colouring' FREE evening zoom sessions. (Book here)
March Manage - 'Soothe Stress'.
April Action - 'Anxiety Taming'. Coming soon
Shelley Mason MAR
Reflexologist and NLP Practitioner