We are stressed. There's no doubt about it. We work (work work work work) as many hours as possible to try and get ahead, put in extra hours as often as we can, stay clean and groomed, maintain a social life, find time to relax, do hobbies and do extra activities on top of all that. Phew.
So in this busy busy world we inhabit, how on earth do we find time de-stress and just STOP? It's not easy, but it is possible. Let me help you.
1. Make a plan
This one will only work if you're like me; I like to have a plan. When I don't have a plan and I don't seem to have a clue where my life is going, I feel like I'm going to go insane. Of course, you can't always plan for the future because crazy stuff happens and you'll constantly be disappointed if things don't go perfectly. However, having a general idea of what is going on in your life at the moment and where you want to get to can be a big help.
It can be as simple as making a plan for the week or weekend, writing your next big shopping list or setting some goals that you want to achieve before you're 30. WHATEVER. Just get it all out and onto paper and you'll start to see tangible goals appear before your eyes.
What is often ugly for the walls but great for the mind, is to adhere this list somewhere visible on a daily basis. You can stick it to the fridge, to the wardrobe, anywhere it needs to be to then give inspiration and focus for your long term goals.
2. Have sex
Oh come on...don't go all shy on us now. There's even some science behind it. Sex, masturbation and orgasms release feel-good endorphins such as serotonin and oxytocin. It also connects you - to either your other half or yourself - and we all need a bit of love sometimes.
Before you tell me I'm a child, hear me out. Adult colouring has experienced a massive boom over the past few years and for good reason. Colouring is incredibly distracting and allows your mind to focus on one smooth thing at once - the gorgeous lines and bright colours. Or you could just scribble over the lines like a two year old and feel good about it! It's a great stress reliever.
4. Take a bath
Or if you don't have a bath, have a long hot shower. Literally wash away the stress. After you get in from a tough day at work (or even if you've had a rough weekend), let the water wash your body and your spirit and mind. Use your favourite shampoo or shower gel or bath bombs - don't save them for a special occasion - and let your troubles wash away down the drain. If you're feeling super stressed out, then there's plenty of products to help you out.
Recently I was sent some Olverum Bath Oil which is specifically designed to help you unwind and de-stress. I could smell the essential oils as soon as I opened the box, and everyone in my office was crowded round to take a sniff. I filled my bath up as deep as I possibly could, poured in some oil and sank into it.
It was incredible. It smelled amazing and I could really feel myself letting go under the water. The oil just soaked into my skin and left it feeling smooth rather than leaving an oily film behind. If I could bathe in this everyday, I would.
Thinking is one of the most difficult things we do. Not only does it take up A LOT of our time, it also drains us physically and emotionally. Whether it's about work or your love life, thinking is tough - I hear ya. So one of the perfect ways to clear your mind is to simply stop thinking.
Easier said than done though, right?
I've been trying meditation for some time now - it's the perfect way to stop my anxiety and keep my thoughts under control, as I have a tendency to worry about the future. Meditation forces you to focus on the here and now; pushing away all distracting thoughts and worries. There are some amazing apps out there like Calm and Insight Timer which help you practice with guided meditation until you're ready to go at it alone.
If that doesn't work for you, try reading or watching your favourite TV show. I find this helps keep my mind off concerns because I'm following a storyline so closely. Before I know it, hours have gone by! Thank goodness for Netflix.
6. Get outside
Fresh air and sunlight can do wonders for the mind. I'm not saying that going outside can solve problems like depression, anxiety and stress (because that's not true). But sometimes getting out of the house can really help - at least it does for me!
You could go for a run or a walk, do some yoga, or just sit in the sun and get some of that good old Vitamin D. A few weeks ago I sat in the sun all day with a book and music and, granted, I burned to a crisp but it was still the best Sunday I'd had in a long time. Getting out in the fresh air really helps clear your mind and create space to allow calm and positive thoughts to come streaming in instead.