Balancing stress – 3 simple tips for keeping ahead of the game…Part 1
In today’s world chronic stress is almost universal. This has detrimental effects on the way our hormones interact, and can accelerate the ageing process. In real terms, you feel exhausted, you can’t think straight, and to cap it all you are ageing and getting sicker faster.
Of course there are many hundreds of ways that we can manage this situation, from downsizing and living the “Good Life” (that ages me!) to remaining increasingly busy and feeling that we can never slow down and relax, always on the go, never admitting that we feel at the end of our tether, and finally burning out prematurely – possibly with friendships and family laid waste around us and our health in tatters.
When deciding how to manage your stress you need first of all connect to the true “you”. What do you really want out of life? Where are your priorities now? They may not still be where they were 20 years ago – we change as we go through life. Forgive yourself for that.
Try to give yourself an hour long space this weekend, to just be calm and quiet, and reflect on how your life has changed. Be certain where your values are supported by your current working role and those around you. Accept if you find that in fact you wish to spend more time with family, whether elderly parents or young kids. But it is also ok to recognise that you are just as competitive and ambitious as you were, that you never were cut out to be a full time parent, and that your current business or profession is exactly where you want to be.
It can be helpful when taking this time to have quiet music playing (depending on the tempo, this can seriously help you to focus!), or be sitting outside in the countryside with the birds singing. It can also be very supportive to write your thoughts down in a journal – your choice whether bullet points, freehand creative writing, or mind map – experiment, as you might be surprised at what brings out your best. I was amazed to find that the bullet point note taking that I had been used to using throughout medical school no longer served me as well as a combination of freehand journaling and mind maps; you may find the same.
Stay tuned for the next tip in the series.