Posted on December 05 2017
As a full time entrepreneur, I lead a busy life, like most or even all of you. There are so many things that demand my attention that if i paid attention to each and every issue or situation that arose, i would go mad!
I have a routine that I stick with when iI get stressed because it keeps me sane and able to efficiently complete all my tasks in a calm and collected way.
Before I had a routine, I would find comfort in the closest sweet fatty thing (lets be real, most times it was ice cream) to ease the tension I felt, or I would just aimlessly go through the day without accomplishing anything. This would be because everything was stressing me out so intensely that I would rather do nothing than fail at the tasks ahead of me.
Now that I have a routine, I know my 5 main go-to options to ease the stress that often are combined to ease the stress and become productive throughout the day.
So what is included in my routine?
The 5 main parts of my routine to ease stress are as follows:
- Spending Time
So the very first part of my routine, of course is EXERCISE! In the beginning stages of learning how to workout, I really didn't think of exercise as a hobby or something enjoyable- it really was hard work! Now that I have been exercising (in a gym setting) for almost 7 years I can for sure say that it is something I love to do when I make the time. I find that it allows me to be in my own headspace, block out all distractions with my music, and I can grunt my way to a stress-free mind, in a stress-free environment. Personally, I workout everyday because it has become part of my routine; and believe me, When i don't get that workout in, I feel more stressed more often.
Even for those of you who don't see it as something enjoyable to do (just yet!), scientifically, exercise is one of the forerunners in stress-reducing activities. This is because during, but mostly after, our bodies chemically responds to exercise by releasing endorphins! These are happy brain chemicals that put us in a good mood! Another thing about exercise is that it allows you to focus on one single task- not dropping weight on yourself, or injuring yourself, but also performing proper form! This frees up mind space from the stresses of your daily life. It also improves your mood by building self-confidence, as well as if your'e getting a great enough sweat on and expending enough energy, you will sleep better at night! This leads me to my my next point:
My second part of my routine to reduce stress is SLEEP. This may seem like a given, but often times we take for granted how much sleep does for us. Simply sleeping is the biggest part of our body’s restorative process. FUN FACT: the longest time anyone has ever stayed awake was 11 days straight. During that period of time, his mind became incapable of doing basic things.
When I start feeling stressed, especially over the smallest of things, I know its best for me either to 1. Take a nap, or 2. Go to bed early that night. More than often, the next time that I wake up I feel less stressed and ready to conquer the goals that I had made for myself.
Scientifically, sleep also proves to be a stress-reducer! In the REM stage of sleep, which is your deepest stage of sleep where dreams happen, your stress hormone levels decrease, and because of this memories are reactivated, put into perspective, connected, integrated, and basically allows you to make better sense of the things going on in your mind.
Have you ever had an experience where you got super stressed over something that was basically irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, and after some time you realize that it actually didnt matter? Often times we get overstressed over the littlest things due to a lack of sleep.
Another way, I negate feelings or the state of stress is through MEDITATION. Now I like to meditate not only when it comes, but also have a daily practice of meditation as a preventative measure. Stress is ultimately a response to what is going on around us. Meditation allows us to have space in our minds to determine whether this stressful stimuli is in need of a response. I was taught that we generally don't have space in our cluttered minds to make clear decisions. Meditation gives us relief from this clutter. It provides space and clarity. And like I said, I don't only practice meditation when I am stressed, I also use it as a preventative measure. By training my mind, I am increasing its ability to make clear choices with a clear mind and handle the stresses of my day.
4. Spending Time
The name of the fourth routine may have had you a little confused; what does “SPENDING TIME” mean? Spending time has a few different meanings to me. First it means spending time with family. Family, to me at least has always had that comforting effect. They are the people that have been around you since birth- the people that probably know you the best, and can help you out in stressful situations, whether that means helping your figure things out or lightening the load by taking on some of the task/situation.
Another definition of spending time, is to spend time with friends! Your friends are another support network that are often overlooked but can sometimes go even deeper than family- as these are people that you CHOOSE to bond with and spend time with. Having something that my friends and I do together, like a hobby or activity, often is something that I go to when I am stressed. This puts me in an environment where my mind is a little more free than if alone.
This leads me to the the last “spending time” definition, which is spending time with oneself. Not everyone enjoys talking to people, or benefits from having company when they're stressed out. I find that sometimes the best solution is to intentionally spend time with myself, meaning- reading a book, watching a movie, doing an activity on my own that I wouldn't usually do. This also frees up mind space and allows me to get to know myself better, which contributes to handling stressful situations.
Finally, my last way to relieve stress is SELF CARE.
This could mean being a little more kind to my pores by putting on a face mask, as I relax on the couch reading a book, or while I bake something delish. It could mean taking a long epsom salt bath, or getting my nails done at the salon.
In a gym/exercise setting, it could mean taking an extra 10 mins to foam roll or stretch prior to or after my exercise session or booking a massage (deep tissue is my favorite). Whatever it is that puts you in that “zen” place, that is another way to clear your mind and relieve yourself of the stressors of your day. It also often puts a new perspective on your stressors even as you rethink what is going on in a more relaxed state.
WHAT if Jo's routine doesn't work for me?
Now you know all the things that I do when I stress out. But to be completely honest, this cannot be a cookie cutter approach. Nobody is the same and we all deal with stressful situations, heck even happy situations differently.
So the real question is; what if my routine isn't something that will help you? And its a perfectly valid question.
My answer to that is; FIND SOMETHING, ANYTHING that will put your mind at ease. Find it and stick with it. I can tell you all my remedies, but ultimately what works for you, works for you.
So what do you currently do to relieve stress? Do you have a routine? Do you have a HEALTHY go-to? I want to know!
I have given you a guide as to what i like to do, so that if you haven't found something that calms your mind and refreshes your thought process, you have some methods to review and try out for yourself!