Pressure seems to be a part of modern life. There is the pressure to be successful in our relationships, careers and finances. There is the pressure to do the right thing and act the right way. Let’s not forget the pressure to look great while you are being successful. Much of our pressure comes from the society we live in. We receive messages about what is expected from the media, institutions and those around us but how much pressure do you pile onto yourself every day?
Have you ever noticed you telling yourself what you should and shouldn’t be doing? Maybe you told yourself that you should pull yourself together or shouldn’t let things get to you? These are the types of should or shouldn’t statements add pressure. They are a reflection of a judgement or a value we are placing on something. In my experience, the judgement is a critical one about how I should be more than I am. Do you feel the pressure like a hard lump in your throat that you struggle to swallow?
I often talk to clients who tell me who they should and shouldn’t be something other than they are. They should be stronger, braver, more grateful and work harder or faster. They shouldn’t care so much, let things get on top of them, take things to heart, or complain.
It can be pretty gut-wrenching when we first notice the pressure we put on ourselves. Most of us would never ask anyone else to be more than they are and pile on the pressure in the same way. Why do we do it to ourselves?
Should and shouldn’t statements are often based on values and ideals which on its own isn’t a bad thing. What is bad is the judgement that we attached to it. When we judge how we are doing things and use it as a method of self-criticism. We use the words should and shouldn’t to imply that we are not doing something we are supposed to be. It adds a layer of pressure, of guilt and
We add a layer of pressure, of guilt and potentially shame as we internalise these ideas and what it means about us. For example, when I am behind on my writing and I tell myself that I should have written more, I feel guilty and lacking in my work (guilt) I could go even further by telling myself I am a bad writer (shame).
Can you notice the next time you are using should and shouldn’t to criticise yourself?
Are you putting too much pressure on yourself?
Should and shouldn’t statements can but are a powerful weapon used by our inner critic can you imagine how life would feel if you could stop craving to be different than you are. If you could believe that you do not need to be fixed.
You should not be any different to how you are. What you do is enough what you are is always enough.
There are times when life feels uncertain, when you face challenges and you worry about how the future is going to look. Not knowing that things are going to work out can feel scary and overwhelming. We agonise over making decisions and wish someone would arrive with a crystal ball. We wish to be told that all our pain and worry are pointless because it is all going to be ok. Unfortunately, time travel isn’t an option so how do we help ourselves feel more grounded and secure in the face of uncertainty?
Here are 7 little things that I have found help me when the future looks scary and unknown.
Imagining how you want things to look once you get to the other side of this challenge can feel really reassuring. This helps you to focus on the reasons you are doing this horrible scary thing rather than running for the hills. Remembering your goal or solution can also help you keep a little perspective when you are in the trenches. This isn’t permanent, things are going to look brighter!
When things get really tough don’t be afraid to back off if you need some space. Forcing yourself to power through and relentlessly look for a solution feels awful and is most likely counterproductive.
You don’t have to continually feel the fear and do it anyway.
Back away, pause and regain your strength and then get back to it. You are allowed to choose the long way round or take a detour. Return to your problem when you feel a little less overwhelmed. Finding your next step can seem easier after you have had the chance to take a breather.
Talk to people who understand what you are facing. If you do not know anyone who has been through what you are dealing with then you can always find someone who you know will cheer you through it. We are not alone in our struggles, speaking out can be a great way to remind ourselves of this. Utilise family, friends and/or paid professionals if you need to get advice or to talk through what scares you. Let others support you.
Get an early night, eat good food, take breaks, and have a little fun where you can. Being scared and brave both use up a lot of energy so take care of yourself. Even superwoman needs her rest so make sure you do too. Think of the things that make you smile, it doesn’t have to be a spa day or a day in the hairsalon to be self-care!
Show yourself a little compassion, what you are doing is scary for a reason. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not the right thing to do but when things get scary we catastrophize and worry. Be gentle with yourself. You don’t need to have it all figured out or be perfect you just need to show up and do what you can.
Nothing is permanent, no situation whether it be a bad or good one. The journey you are on will quite probably take you longer and be more difficult than you imagined. Nevertheless, you will get past this uncertainty It is not a permanent journey either, these feelings will pass. Be prepared to change things up on this journey. Things may not go as expected and that is ok.
Self Belief can be difficult when we are in the midst of something that feels uncertain and scary. Focus on your own abilities and have faith that you are capable to see this through. Doing this makes it a lot harder to focus on the uncertainty. Believe in your determination to see this through. You have undoubtedly overcome obstacles before and you will be able to overcome any current ones too.
We cannot avoid change and challenges but we can look after ourselves as we face them. We can give ourselves the time and space we need to get through uncertainty. Remembering that we are not alone in our situation and that we always have an option about how to proceed can take some of the pressure off around an uncertain future.
If you are struggling with uncertainty you can create a Self-care plan for yourself with my free worksheet.
Do you ever find yourself thinking “I don’t have time for this.” It usually comes when you are feeling frustrated and exasperated. When you wish someone would airlift you out of the situation and take you somewhere else. I recently found myself in that particular situation. I was putting myself under a lot of pressure to get things done yesterday. Through lifting that pressure, I learned a little truth about time.
About 6 weeks before my summer holiday I had begun to feel stressed and run down. What I really wanted was to take a break but with my holiday so close I found myself thinking ” I need to get ahead and get a little more done before my holiday. After that, I can relax.”
My mind was super busy all the time, I started to ditch my exercise routine. I stopped taking breaks in favour of getting more done even though I was tired. It became increasingly hard to switch off. I started to feel weepy before a conference call one evening. “I don’t have time for this”, I thought. It felt like I had to keep going despite how I felt.
I was pushing myself relentlessly and was denying myself what I needed. I was putting so much pressure to get everything done before I could “earn” a break. Trying to run on empty felt horrible as I am sure many of you will know. What I really needed was to press pause but I was convinced everything was going to fall apart if I didn’t keep going at full speed.
I decided to admit defeat in the fight against my emotions. At the same time, it felt like a definite win for self-love. I stopped fighting against the urge to slow down and gave in to how I really felt. The best thing I could do was just go with it. I took a few lazy days. I saw my scheduled clients, did some yoga, walked, took naps, and caught up on reading.
Guess what, Nothing happened. My scheduled work went out as normal (I schedule my writing work ahead of time). My inbox filled up a little. No one complained that I didn’t answer them instantly. Life continued. The washing piled up as it often does. I felt like I had a crushing headache then after a few days, I felt better so I went back to work.
At the moment I am focussing on taking it easy when I can and stopping when I needed to. I am trying to listen to how I feel rather than ignoring it. Life didn’t fall apart when I slowed down as I feared. It appears I do have time to give myself what I want and need. Some things carry on without me and the things that stopped patiently wait for my return.
Time is there whether or not you use it. There are always 24 hour hours in a day and there is only so much that is physically possible in that time. No one can ever ask any more of themselves than that. There is always now and there is always tomorrow.
I serve myself and my business better by making time for how I feel. By acknowledging when I am stressed and needed to stop. You have time, you deserve to give yourself it. Almost everything can wait unless lives depend upon it.
You have time to deal with how you feel. Give yourself permission to relax and replenish yourself. Trust me when I say, nothing will fall apart in your absence. You can press pause, throw a sicky, take a duvet day. Run away for a little while. Give yourself what you need. You deserve that!
Have you ever noticed yourself focusing on what you think you should and shouldn’t be doing? The sort of thoughts that add pressure to a situation, for example, “you should just get on with things”, “you shouldn’t let it bother you”. These types of thoughts can often be a means of self-judgement.
They are a reflection of a value we are placing on ourselves or our situation. Most often the judgment isn’t a nice one. It feels hard and restricting like a hard lump in your throat that you have to force down.
Recently, I found myself skipping exercise in favour of getting work done. I felt like I was behind on my blog and my first e-course launch was imminent. It felt like there just wasn’t enough time.
Pushing through my work and putting off breaks seemed like the solution. I started eating lunch at my desk (which is a pet hate of mine) to get more done. I kept telling myself that my work should be my main focus and that I shouldn’t be taking time off when I was behind. It all sounds very hard and restrictive, doesn’t it? I can tell you that it felt that way too.
When I gave into taking a walk in the sunshine, I felt better (no surprise there). I even came up with the idea for this article during my walk. Ironically, I made more progress with my work while taking a break than the previous hour where I had sat at the computer willing inspiration to come and then distracting myself on Facebook.
Consciously I know that exercising and getting outside are both good habits. I know that they make me feel good and keep me well. There is, however, another part of me that fights this. The one that tells me I should sit at my desk until I have created a reasonable amount of output. The part that criticises and makes the judgments and generally tells me I am not enough as I am.
I’m like Pinocchio when he meets honest John and Gideon the cat and decides to join Stromboli’s puppet show instead of going to school. I start off down a road where I believe that I need to work harder and change what I am doing. There is the thought that I am not a good enough writer. I fall into the trap of listening to these judgements and believing them. In these moments it is hard to remember the truth.
Can you believe you are enough as you are? You do not need to be perfect ever. Please do not aim for a prettier, smarter, more organised, or more capable version of yourself.
You do not need to deny yourself the things you need. How you show up in the world every day is just how you should be. You are important and valuable. You are doing your best and that is all that is ever required.
Should and shouldn’t statements can be a powerful weapon used by our inner critic. Imagine how your life would look if you could stop wanting to be different than you are?
Change is scary and overwhelming. I think most of us would agree on that. Feeling fear is natural emotion. It is nature’s way of stopping the humans from getting eaten by bears in big dark caves. Fear has the function of helping us question things and weigh up risks. Fear also paralyses us. It stops us from making progress like a deer caught in headlights.
Fear feels vile, that tight, restricting, cold disabling feeling in the pit of your stomach. You ask yourself is everything going to be ok? Will everything work out? You feel like you need some proof, some evidence that what you are going through is going to reap rewards. You wish there was someone with a crystal ball who could come and tell you that you are not making a mistake. How do we navigate fear? How do we know when to leap into the dark cave or run for the hills?
Personally, I am on the verge of something big within my business and I am terrified. My terror is based around the idea that this big business opportunity may actually succeed. What if I can’t handle it? Am I ready? What if I screw it up?
So, I have taken to give myself pep talks. I remind myself of how much I want this and how it doesn’t need to be perfect. What I have to offer is enough. I have something amazing to share and that can only be a positive thing for those who are looking for it.
There have been tougher challenges than this one and there will no doubt be tougher ones in the future. I will conquer this one challenge. Whether this latest opportunity works out or not. I am still me. I will still be of value and have something positive to offer the world around me. This one event is not the making and breaking of me or my business. It is only a part of the story, a part of my journey, its success is not a measuring stick for my own worth. I take a deep breath, I shake off the fear for a little while and I proceed.
When we are facing a big challenge or change we ask ourselves if it will be worth all the blood sweat and tears? Will the reward be worth the hard work? Are we doing the right thing or will we come to regret our choice?
Ultimately we can never know what the future holds but we can ask ourselves, “what is it worth?” Are your dreams worth the risk? How will you feel when you achieve this goal? what is the feeling you are hoping to capture? Freedom, success, joy, pride? Find the feeling behind the change you want to make. If what you are striving for is going to give you that feeling then keep going. Your dreams are worth the risk of disappointment. What you want from life is worth the gamble.
For example, If the goal you are striving for is to feel healthy and good in your body. Is this feeling worth the daunting task of showing up as the new girl at that exercise class?
Think about how your goal will make you feel and how badly do you want to feel that way. Is it worth what you are going through now? Are you willing to take a leap to escape what isn’t working, to risk the change you want so badly? Does safe and unsatisfying feel worse or better than taking the risk?
You can deal with the fear, you can big yourself up and remind yourself of your awesomeness. You can learn self-belief and confidence. We can practice taking risks. We can deal with our fear because after all, it’s only an emotion (admittedly a potentially powerful one).
Your dreams and goals however are, the things you care about. The dreams we have for ourselves cannot be successfully forgotten and ignored forever. what we really want from life is anchored in who we are even if we aren’t aware of it. If we can shift the fear out of the way or push through its jungle then maybe we can get to the things what we want in life
Can you trust your intuition? Deep down we always know the right way ahead for ourselves. Being able to trust our own intuition is the best guide for knowing if we are doing the right thing. It can be hard to admit it or access that quiet but steady inner voice but it is there.
The choice is yours. It is never too late, you can choose and re-choose. You can change your mind, we all have the freedom to decide to be brave. You have it within you to know and achieve what you really want, whether that’s a life in the country, running your own business or traveling the world. It’s within you like a nagging desire that won’t be silenced so don’t try. Go with it, take a risk!
You have it within you to know and achieve what you really want, whether that’s a life in the country, running your own business or traveling the world. It is within you, that nagging desire that won’t be silenced, so don’t try.
Go with it, take a risk!
I had my first experience of an online troll in my business a few weeks ago. I had put out an anonymous online survey, requesting feedback from the people who view my writing and social media. The aim of the survey was to get some opinions and input on my work at this early stage in my business. The survey focused on whether the recipient had seen my blog and social media and they’re first impressions thought of it.
When I received notification of my first response I was excited. I was looking forward to seeing what people really thought and learn something new. The first response I received was from the troll and the comment they made was that both my business and I were a complete waste of space and time.
My initial reaction to this was, of course, a few seconds of fear. I was seeing my critical inner voice being replayed back to me through the words of someone else. After those first few seconds came to the realisation, that they had commented on me personally and I honestly felt a great deal of relief. There isn’t another person in this world who can accurately judge whether I am a complete waste of space and time. That person may genuinely not like my business and my blogging but they can never truly judge me inside or out.
There is not a person on this earth who can see inside me and know everything about how I think and feel. They cannot know all I have overcome and achieved or even failed at in my life. Anyone who knew every tiny detail of me couldn’t possibly claim I was a waste of space and time. I felt a great relief at the realisation that this comment although mean had absolutely nothing to do with me.
The next wave of realisation was how far I have come. There would have been a time I would have pondered over why someone would have said such a thing. Was it true? What did it mean? What had made them say such a thing?
I have previously pondered hurtful comments or upsetting situations for weeks, months even years. This time I didn’t and that is freaking amazing, it feels awesome!! What a gift to be able to see my own growth. It was so encouraging to be hit with a difficult situation and be reminded of how much I have grown in confidence.
I could see my growth in action leave me feeling grateful for that mean comment. In a time where I am setting up a new business which often feels like a great scary and daunting leap into the unknown. At a time where I am clinging onto little more than blind faith and my ability to work hard. To receive the reminder that I also how a new-found confidence and self-assurance is a welcome gift.
I don’t know why that person wrote what they did. It is possible that they dislike something I am doing. In fact, it is also possible that they loved it and wished it was them in my shoes. They may have simply felt angry that day and my being on facebook put me in the firing line. Either way, I know that what they said wasn’t about me. This was someone else’s emotion in my space.
So, to whoever wrote that comment, your mean message won’t stop me or make me give up. This work is way too important, too needed, too loved to let you affect it. You are more than welcome to continue your thing and you are welcome to your opinion. I I am still going to be over here doing my thing unapologetically with those who want to join me
Thank you, thank you for the opportunity to learn about myself and see how far I have come. Guess what, I am taking what you said and turning it into fuel for my business. I am writing about you and turning your negativity into my positivity. Thank you
When you are living with pain and hurt can feel like you have a storm within. The hurt may have been laid thrust upon you, uninvited. The hurt may be something you created that caused the harm, something that you cannot erase or undo. Words left unspoken or the things you wish that never happened. I am talking about pain and suffering and when something is happening that we just can’t even begin to deal with.
Living within the storm feels unbearable and endless. It’s like being drawn through high winds and flying debris. You are battered and bruised, vulnerable and raw. It feels like the storm will swallow you up. You feel as if you are falling apart, that you cannot possibly survive this and you are broken forever.
It is possible to come through this. You will survive this storm. There is a part of you, a piece deep within you that remains untouchable, like the eye of the storm. This part of you is strong, calm and knows everything will be alright. It has hope and faith. It can be hidden so deeply you doubt it’s existence. but it does. You will find it with kindness and compassion to yourself, with time.
Life may look different to how you planned, you may be forever changed by what you are going through. That is ok, that is allowed. You will survive, you will rise again. Once the storm is over you will get back up, you will rebuild what has been damaged. You will repair. Things may look different but it will be worthwhile.
The change in you may become your greatest pride, the most fantastic journey. It is impossible to see that in the middle of the storm. You cannot possibly imagine what lays ahead. Give it time, let the dust to settle. What is to happen next will become clear when it is time, and not before. The storm doesn’t need to make sense or have a purpose.
You are unbreakable even when you feel broken. It is possible to find your voice again, you will find your courage. Allow yourself to fall apart, you can handle it.
The storm will pass and it will be safe for you to re-emerge. You can let yourself come out into the world again. Not only will you have survived but you will also be stronger. You may be grateful for the journey or you may not. Both are fine.
For now, batten down the hatches, use up your reserves. You have enough, even if you believe the stores to be empty. Light the candles, get the extra blankets, weather the storm, stay safe and look after yourself.
We all have jobs that we seem to avoid no matter how good our intentions. The sort of tasks that you attempt only to find that you get distracted and end up doing something else completely different. Why do we find it so easy to put these tasks off, even when they are important?
There were a few emails that I needed to send this week but I kept putting them off. I would sit down to read the last e-mail and to think about a response. After that, I decided to clean up my inbox, organised my old emails in folders, and then after that, I started a new blog post. It wasn’t until I had finished the outline for the post that I realised I had forgotten to write those e-mails. This pattern repeated itself more than once and I just couldn’t seem to get my act together enough to write those emails!
Why was I putting those emails off? If I had used the energy I spent avoiding them then they would have been sent several times over. The thing is I have a feeling of some sort of resistance when I think about writing those emails. I feel an uncomfortable and restrictive feeling in my body when I think about getting the task done. How do I deal with that discomfort? At first, I was using other tasks to distract me from the discomfort and avoid the task. Can you think of something you have put off recently, do you recall having feelings of resistance to a task that your rational conscious mind knew needed doing?
When we procrastinate (that is a fancy word for putting stuff off) we are avoiding the resistance we feel. The resistance is the discomfort that appears within us when we think of a dreaded task. Feelings of resistance often feel hard, fearful and restricting. It is these feelings that cause us to avoid and distract ourselves. Avoiding discomfort is a basic human instinct, we are built to avoid the scary things in life. This instinct is what prevented us from going into dark caves and being eaten by bears. I doubt the things you avoid involve dark caves full of bears but our emotions have not evolved like our surroundings. Our mind sends us the signals of resistance to prevent us from physical or emotional harm.
The feelings of resistance are not necessarily directly related to the task at hand. In all honesty, I had no problem with the people who needed the emails or the content I needed to discuss. Can you lean into the feelings of resistance? Can you sit with the discomfort for a little while? What is it precisely that you do not want to do? Why is the task causing you to feel uncomfortable? What do you want to avoid?
Resistance is a sign that you are ignoring or denying something you feel. It is often related to a fear or anxiety we have around a particular issue. Your subconscious mind is trying to send you a signal, it wants you to avoid discomfort, fear or shame so it sends out the feelings of resistance which in turn cause you to put things off.
Both of the e-mails I was avoiding needed to be sent in Norwegian. I can speak and write Norwegian to an acceptable level. Using the language is still relatively uncomfortable however as I am aware I sound a bit weird. I am never sure that I am making myself clear and I sometimes I miss or misunderstand conversations. My fears surrounding how I talk Norwegian and how it sounds to others was causing resistance. The resistance, in turn, was sending me the messages which caused me to avoid those emails and protect me from social embarrassment.
You can give it a try. My guess is that you will unwillingly drag yourself through the task that needs doing with the constant need to refocus and avoid distractions. Once I realised the fears around my second language that was making me feel resistance, the actual task became much easier. The awareness allowed me to give myself time and support. I wrote my email as a draft then used google translate and my grammar book to help me check it before I sent it. I felt much better about writing those emails because I found a way to support myself through the task. Guess what, I actually sent them and it took less time than it did to clear and organise my inbox!
The truth is reality is soft, not harsh, once you recognise that the problem is. it is so much easier to deal with. You cannot face a task easily while feeling anxious or scared around it. How can you support yourself through resistance? Ask yourself why you are feeling resistance and what would support you?
“Mummy is not an octopus” is something I say to my kids pretty regularly. It usually is said in moments where everyone seems to be wanting something at the same time. For example, when we are all trying to leave the house and I am asking for the third time if they have found their shoes and my husband wants to know if I have seen something he is looking for. Meanwhile my son really really needs to know what my favourite Pokemon is at that exact moment.
On those days, I manage to get everyone dressed and organised with whatever they need only to look down and realise I am the only one standing with no shoes, bag, jacket or keys! This realisation is usually followed by someone asking why Mum takes so long to get ready!
The thing is I am indeed an octopus. At the moment I am launching my business’s first big project. I am beginning the marketing campaign while simultaneously caring for my son who has been home ill. This morning, I spent a little time hanging out with him and then updated his Xbox game for him so he can cheer himself up with a little Minecraft.
I have just come downstairs and began to put together ideas for a blog post and then my phone rings. My daughter went back to nursery today after being ill earlier in the week. It seems she is feeling ill again so off I go to collect her. We get back, dispense a round of medicine and tissues then back downstairs to attempt more of my article. I suspect that the children have shared those germs a little too freely as I begin to feel myself getting achy and feverish.
I admit defeat and go join the kids for cuddles and DVDs. An octopus I may be but even I have limits.
As much as I tell the kids that Mummy is not an octopus, I actually am! I am a multitasking expert. I think all parents develop super-human multi-tasking abilities over our years as child-rearers. We are superheroes, we juggle and we hustle, parents are amazing. We keep little people alive, we nurture them and encourage them to flourish. After thaat is done we attempt to do the all the things we would be doing if we had never created the little munchkins in the first place!
There are 100 things on my to-do list but none of them need to be done immediately. My son may tell me that the Xbox update is a life or death matter but that is another story. Everything on my to-do list can wait a little while. Unlike me, you may have life or death responsibilities. You may care for who needs daily medical care, for example. These things are indeed exceptions, but once those things are done, everything else can wait a little while if you need it to.
I used to think I would feel better once I got the to-do list done, once I made it shorter but that didn’t work. Instead, I found myself caught up in the neverending task of getting stuff done and finding myself exhausted in the process. My list is going to be 100 things long for the foreseeable future. The to-do list isn’t going to change but I have made changes so I can live in peace alongside my obligations.
When you look at the things you need to do today, what can wait? When I feel particularly overwhelmed, I like to find the things that aren’t urgent and put them in my calendar/diary for a future date. It helps me to put some tasks on the back burner for a while rather than having a huge list of everything I need to do for the foreseeable future in front of me.
I try to encourage myself as I can because what I do is hard work. Reminding myself that I am doing an awesome job makes things feel brighter and easier. When you discover, you forgot “bring a random obscure object to school” day or you’re late for that meeting you haven’t prepared for but you still managed to get through the day and everyone survives. Give yourself the recognition you deserve!
I try not to do everything on my own anymore. My husband and I have always shared most of the workload, that has always been the deal between us. I have gotten better at letting him know when I feel snowed under. This is so much better than struggling along on my own hoping somebody would offer to help. I didn’t want to trouble anyone because we are all busy, right? Asking for help takes practice, it can be a surprisingly difficult thing to do but feeling supported makes things so much easier. You may also find yourself surprised at how many people are able and willing to help when you ask them.
I used to think that once my to-do list was shorter, I could make more time for fun. Unsurprisingly, I never found the time to relax because never got enough things done to shorten that darn to-do list. Ironically, taking time out to do things that excite me helps me relax and re-energise. Once I have had time to just be myself that massive to-do list doesn’t seem so monstrous or overwhelming.
I refuse to end up feeling rotten and wishing my life away, and waiting for the next big task to be over. I have had to learn to make peace with juggling and being busy. Life is just too short to be focusing on all the things that need doing.
Life is about fun and freedom and pleasure and passions and whatever makes your heart sing.
There are times that I forget to remind myself what a great job I am doing. I still need to consciously remind myself that I have the option to ask for help but on the whole, life’s journey is an easier one. Life flows more often than it knocks me off my feet, and that feels wonderful. So as a Mummy I am indeed an octopus, a multi-tasking rockstar. If you identified with any of this then I bet you are one too.
Do you want to make more time for the things that make your heart sing? Take a look at my latest coaching package and make yourself a priority.
Trying to think of how to feel good when you’re rushed and tired can be difficult. We often tell ourselves things like “it will be ok once after I get this done” or “I just need to make it to the weekend”. We struggle on until the busy phase passes then hope we will feel better afterwards. Be honest, feeling this way and struggling sucks, doesn’t it?
I believe that you should be taking extra care of ourselves during busy periods. If you are using a lot of physical and mental energy rushing around, you need to find a way to replenish that energy. After all, you cannot pour from an empty cup.
I have created a list of small and simple ways to take care of yourself, ones that can be squeezed into a busy, stressful day as often as you want. Don’t think of this list as prescriptive, you do not need to do all of these every day. Pick the one that sounds the easiest and work on doing it regularly, if you like, you can then build from there. The focus is about feeling good rather than feeling like you have another task.
Taking three long slow breaths and focus on each breath moving in and out through your body. Pausing to breathe slowly provides you with a chance to stop for a few seconds and to slow yourself down by concentrating on the breath. If you are somewhere suitable, you can boost the calming effects of this, by raising your shoulders as you breathe in and then dropping them as you breathe out, moving in time with your breath. When we are busy and stressed we can often carry tension in our shoulders so this can be great for shrugging the stress off.
Wear your favourite perfume, burn scented candles, use essential oils. Some smells have been scientifically proven to boost our mood. If there is a smell you love, surrounding yourself with it may help you feel calmer and happier. At the very least you will create something pleasant for yourself during a tough time.
Listen to your favourite album while in the car or shower, download music you love to your phone, use earphones so you can listen to music while you are working or moving around. Put the radio on and maybe even sing along! Music like smell has the power to boost our mood, this is another little way to inject fun into a stressful day.
This can be tricky if you are in an environment without scheduled break times (hello, stay at home parents and self-employed folks!). Have a designated time to eat and take a coffee break. Come away from the computer, set the kids up with an activity that they can do themselves for 5 minutes or use nap times. Avoid multitasking while having a break, the washing, e-mails and other projects can wait. Give your break the same attention that you give your important tasks.
Wear an item of clothing that you love or something that you feel great in. This has an effect on your mood in a similar way to the music and the smell tips. All three focus on your senses and by appealing to your sense of smell, hearing or touch in a positive way, you can surround yourself with things that feel good.
Take the laptop out to the garden, take a walk in the park, take one of your breaks outside. Getting outside has been proven to reduce stress, improve our memory and concentration as well as providing you with a well-deserved break. My family and I have started taking a walk together somewhere once a week. We usually find the time on a Sunday which leaves me feeling like I have blown away the cobwebs of the week, just in time for Monday.
What one thing can you compliment yourself on today? Does your hair look great? Do you have an amazing talent? What is great about you? Remind yourself, that you are an awesome person.
Encourage yourself. Recognise that things are crazy and stressful right now and you are doing a great job of handling it. You are doing your best and that is enough. Be your own cheerleader, tell yourself how awesome you are for facing each challenge you face.
Say no to any extra responsibilities when you are busy. This is not the time to commit to having more things to worry about. There is always going to be the opportunity to help out your friends, family or work colleagues. You do not need to take on more responsibility out when your plate is full.
Book a time off, set it into your planner or calendar, plan something fun or do nothing at all. Put your busy life on hold, press the pause button, everything can wait a few hours. My favourite time-off activity is to sit in a coffee shop with a book for as long as possible. That time out is mine to think about nothing other than what I am reading and whether I want another chai latte.
Use this list to inspire some of your own ideas, why not comment below and share your own self-care tips. Do you crave some you time? Sign up for my new coaching package, A Spa Day for the Soul and hit pause on your busy life.