Stress in our lives is a good thing: it keeps us motivated and sometimes helps us find strength within ourselves that we didn’t think we had. But as the saying goes, you can have too much of a good thing. Once you’re past the tipping point of productivity, stress can weigh you down.
Excess stress (especially in the form of too many obligations) takes a toll on physical and mental wellbeing. Ever wonder why you feel a bit manic during crunch time at work, school, etc.? It’s because your “fight or flight” responses are kicking in, sending your body into overdrive. If you regularly face tight deadlines, packed schedules, or crowded environments, the consequences are even greater.
It’s great living a full and fulfilling life, but not if it’s getting in the way of your health. These strategies to maintain balance can help you stay calm in a sea of excitement.
1. Make time for yourself. Get some alone space when you can, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. When I am feeling crazy busy and overwhelmed, I rely on solitude and deep breathing to re-center myself. While the breath work is very useful, it is not required. Simply stepping away from a situation can be enough to get you level-headed and feeling grounded again. Take some time right when you wake up to prepare yourself for the day ahead. Or enjoy the quiet when you’re in your car alone- allowing yourself a break from music or other distractions. Maybe the only time you can find is in the few minutes before you drift off to sleep. It doesn’t matter when you make time, all that matters is that it happens fairly regularly.
2. Practice some self-care. If you are running on empty, you are not going to feel or perform your best. Fix this with personal treatment that will reset your body and mind from the effects of all you do throughout the day. Some of my favorites:
bath (add Epsom salts and essential oils for a special treat)
buying or cooking yourself a wholesome, healthy meal
3. Find others who can relate. You are largely affected by who you spend time around. Constantly being around happy-go-lucky people without a responsibility in the world can do two things: 1) have a rub-off effect, causing you to become apathetic to your obligations or 2) make you resentful of those who lead less hectic lives. Always spending time alone is not the best option either, as it can make you feel like you have no solace in your struggles. The best option is to meet up with others who are in the same boat. You don’t have to disown your carefree friends, just add new ones who are in the same boat as you. It will make the ride through your busy life much easier when you don’t feel like you’re going at it alone.
4. De-clutter where you can. Cut out anything that is an unnecessary yet burdensome part of your life. It can be hard to let go of duties or habits that we adopt over the years, as they become engrained into our routine. But letting go when the time is right will preserve your sanity. Most people have certain things they commit to that don’t really hold a place in their heart. Free yourself of these duties so that you can make room for what you are passionate about. Maybe with your newfound free time, you can tidy up your living quarters (organizing, donating old goods, etc.) Doing so is another great aid in maintaining your inner peace. Generally, when your create external order, you will feel it internally as well.
Am I missing anything? Let me know how you keep calm in the thick of your jam-packed life.
Also see: Beauty of Living Life in the Gray
Photo: Jiuck via Flickr