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I have a woeful talent; I can create stress out of thin air.
It’s awesome… *rolls eyes*
Am I alone in this? I doubt it.
Seemingly everywhere I turn, there appears a new source of stress. And this really cuts into my productivity. When I’m worried, pretty much all I can think about is that stress and every possible scenario. Because of that, nothing gets done in the present, which worsens my mood even more.
If I’m being honest, 2016-2018 was a rough season in terms of stress. I had one huge looming conflict that was basically unsolvable because it wasn’t truly mine to solve. I spent the better part of those three years deadlocked and not knowing how to untangle myself from the mess I found myself roped into. Frustratingly, those years were not nearly as productive as they could have been for me. It felt like I spent more time trying to decompress than I did actually working on moving myself forward.
However, something good did come out of these years. By the time I reached the light at the end of the tunnel, I had come up with a pretty solid system for de-stressing. These are the things I do when I start feeling stressed to calm myself and get back on track. I typically do a few at a time, but I have been known to spend a whole day going through the entire list when I really need a recharge!
positive daily rituals
Daily rituals are the things that you do every day without even thinking. These can be good things or bad things. It’s up to you to make them positive additions to your day rather than negative additions. For me, as soon as I step out bed, I know exactly what I need to do. I make the bed immediately, and that’s already one task for the day done. I head into the kitchen and then head into the bathroom on autopilot. My brain doesn’t even need to turn on until I’m parked on the couch with my bullet journal, coffee in hand. By this point, a handful of necessary tasks are already done, and I can start my day on a positive note.
I use my morning as an example, but positive rituals can happen any time of day. The important thing is that it makes you feel good, and you can accomplish it easily without much thought.
Meditation isn’t new to me, but it is only in the last several months that I’ve begun taking it seriously enough to see results. In the past, I didn’t really understand why I was doing it, and it all seemed a bit hokey to me. If meditations feels hokey to you, just know this. Perhaps you aren’t “connecting with the universe” (or maybe you are, I don’t know,) but you are connecting with yourself, and that’s enough for me. The focus that I practice through meditation calms my mind by teaching me how to push away thoughts that aren’t serving me, and orient myself towards the ones that are. This translates to sharper attention during work time, and less needless anxiety during down time.
I never used to be an exerciser. In fact, the only time I ever failed at anything in school was P.E. in 9th grade, and if that isn’t telling of my general attitude toward physical movement, I don’t know what is. Now that I work in front of a computer, like many people do, getting at least some physical activity in every day is extremely important. I think of it like a break. When I am exercising, the last things I am thinking about are random stressful things. I’m either simultaneously bopping while trying not to fall off the treadmill, counting sets and being careful not a weight on my head or my toe, or I’m doing yoga and trying to go deeper without falling over. It’s a productive distraction.
Recently I’ve had a sudden desire to run. I don’t know what changed in me, but I now genuinely like running. (I don’t know if I’d call it love, but I do enjoy it.) The thing about exercise is that you must enjoy your activity, otherwise you won’t get up off the couch to do it.
There are also the science-y bits about endorphins and hormones, but I am not a doctor so I can’t explain that aspect with any credibility.
I’ve fallen in and out of love with yoga over the years, mainly because I was doing it for the wrong reasons. Yoga as performed as a main form of exercise, or as a method for taking cool pictures isn’t going to relieve stress. Quite the opposite. It’s when I let go of the yogic outcomes and started practicing for the present moment did I truly realize how stress-relieving yoga could be. Moral of the story, let go of your want to contort into that pretzel pose you saw on Instagram, find an instructor who doesn’t make you feel inadequate, and think of every practice as just that. Practice moving your body and focusing on the present.
create varied work spaces
Every day is different, and sometimes spaces that inspire us on some days can feel completely wrong on other days. One of the most beneficial things I’ve done for my productivity at home is to create several “work spaces” throughout my house. I’m not talking setting up dedicated desks all over the place, but just having a places with different vibes where you can feel comfortable working. Don’t feel like you need to park yourself at your desk in order to be productive. Follow your intuition about what feels best, even if it feels out of the norm.
Essential oils have been all the rage recently, and for good reason. They have so many proclaimed uses, it incredible. In addition to other things, I enjoy diffusing a few scents that make my environment smell nice, and that seem to bring positive vibes to the room.
Lemon essential oil is my go-to for perking myself up when I’m feeling unmotivated. Geranium is calming and comforting when I have anxiety. Ylang Ylang works similarly to Lavender in its sleep-promoting properties. (I’m not a fan of Lavender scent.) And Sweet Orange is lovely for livening up my space when it’s feeling stuffy.
Sleep used to be my arch nemesis. I slept as little as possible, (filling the void with coffee,) because I felt like sleep was a waste of “productive” time. I wasn’t all that productive when I was awake, but I chalked that up to pure laziness, and then slept less to make up for it. It wasn’t a good plan.
When I’m going through a stressful period, one of the first things I do is get into bed earlier. If I’m feeling particularly stressed during the day and I have time, I’ll allow myself a nap. (I try not to make this a habit as to not disrupt my sleep schedule, but you do what you need to do.)
Journaling is probably the most therapeutic thing you can do when you are dealing with stress. For me, putting my thoughts down on paper makes them real. It’s difficult to make sense of things when you have a million thought swirling in your head. Making the effort to write them down helps you to make sense of them, and feel like you aren’t crazy for having trouble making sense of it all.
Yes, it’s the glamorous stuff here. You’ll hear often how self-care isn’t just a bath and a pedicure. But hey, if you’ve already worked out, done yoga, ate a healthy snack and tidied up your living room, then you deserve to indulge in the little luxuries. Treat yourself to facial, a mani/pedi, or take a long, relaxing bubble bath.
Now, I am perhaps being a bit hypocritical as I would never actually take any of my own suggestions. I don’t like people touching me, and I really can’t stand soaking in bathtubs. I know I’m not the only girl who feels this way. My idea of a spa day is doing my own gel nails and blowing out my hair. Whatever makes you feel your best, do that.
I’ve denounced most TV and movies multiple times. I feel like they are just passive wastes of time and are the opposite of intentional. For me, an intentional distraction means either reading a book or watching videos or TV that teaches me something. Even if the information isn’t super relevant to my life, I at least feel like I have gained a new perspective. Right now, I am reading Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku. The topic, while separate from my life and its problems, is as interesting to me as watching The Bachelors get engaged and then break up like clockwork. Find a book that is as riveting as reality TV, and let your entertainment expand your mind rather than constrict it.
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That’s all for today!
Like this post? You’ll definitely enjoy this one too >> 10 Ways To Instantly Feel More Accomplished Every Day | Productive Morning Routine
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Till next time ♥︎
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