Lucy Sheridan, the world’s first and only comparison coach shares five techniques for reducing stress in your life and making more time and space for yourself and those you love.
In today’s busy modern world we seem to always be on the go and racing from one deadline to the next whether that be work meetings or getting the children to a sports game on time (too early!) on a Saturday morning. It’s all too easy for this to become the norm and we can start to feel out of control and like we have no hold over where our time and energy are going, which is a huge source of stress.
This is why it is so important to start to make space now and be really conscious of what is coming up in your diary as a habit. OK, it may not be possible to pull out of the work trip happening at the end of this week, and yet, it is possible, on hearing of plans for the next one that you assess if it can be nudged back a couple of days and if that’s not possible, you are not out every night running up to your travel. Make decisions that your future self will thank you for and it will bring in more clarity and calm around the day to day.
Create an ‘I’m home’ habit
One of the difficult things about stress is that it can often linger and we can carry it around with us wherever we go. Perhaps your family dynamic is quite stressful and whenever you leave Sunday dinner you feel a bit distracted or upset, or it could be your work pressures are always on your mind so you could be making dinner in your kitchen and still be lost in thoughts of your job.
This is where the ‘I’m home’ habit comes in that breaks the tie with the stressful situation and allows calm and presence to return so we can leave the stress at the door. It does not have to be an elaborate door knock but doing something simple that breaks the state of stress has such an impact over time.
Suggestions for an ‘I’m home’ habit might be taking your coat off and then washing your face as soon as you get home, or perhaps you might light a candle and listen to your favourite song, or of course a soak in the tub is the ultimate way to claim your me time.
Do you ever feel like your ‘to-do’ list never ends? Trying to tick off and keep track of tasks and people can feel like a full time job on top of your full time job. We put so much pressure on ourselves to pack in as much as we can every day and yet often there are three priorities each day that, if ticked off, would be enough to make all the difference. Take the time, once a week to look at the days ahead and prioritise what must get done and then, separately, what would be a bonus but is not essential. The non essentials can roll over and in the time that frees up you can return to a calmer, clearer state.
Ask for help.
We are each, in our own way, multi-tasking mavens. We can artfully juggle our personal and professional lives and even though we reply “I’m fine!” when asked how we are, that’s rarely the truth. Often we are only just managing and this can increase our feelings of stress and overwhelm creeps in.
As much as it is great to be independent and handle our responsibilities sometimes we need to ask for help. Just because you can just about cope does not mean you have to be in coping mode. Just a little bit of a helping hand in some areas can make all the difference and massively reduce our stress levels. So, perhaps instead of single handedly being a taxi for the youngsters to the next teenage party you ask another parent to help out, you delegate some of those project tasks to a colleague or agree to let your friend help out at the birthday party you are planning.
Take time offline.
There are now apps that log how much time we re spending on our phones and smart devices and the stats are a bit scary. So it comes as no surprise that today, offline is the new luxury.
Our digital lives can lead us feel distracted and overwhelmed not only by world events but also the never ending ping of whatsapp group conversations. Make sure that every day, even if only for half an hour, you consciously take time offline and reconnect with yourself. Those notifications will not be going anywhere and you won’t miss out on anything but you will gain so much from that quiet time that’s just for you.