A few ideas for coping in times of stress
As I write this post, we are in the middle of the GCSE exams season. If you’re in the same position, I hope things are going well.
In fact, the things I mention in this post are relevant to any period of stress, and to be honest, are the things I aim to do all the time.
However, I know from personal experience that it’s easy for good habits to slip.
Here are some of the things we’re focusing on in my home at the moment. I hope they will give you some ideas to introduce, or perhaps reintroduce, into your own life.
Creating the right environment
My son doesn’t want any practical help with actual revision, so I feel the best way I can support him is to make sure everything is calm at home and that we’re all sticking to the ‘basics’ of health.
For me this includes focusing on:
- what and when we eat
- keeping life simple
- getting outside and keeping active
- prioritising good sleep
These things help to keep me in a calm and balanced place, so if there are any exam related meltdowns then at least I’m in a good place to be supportive.
Ideas for every day
You might already have your own ways of managing stress, but in case you need a few ideas, here are some of the things I’m encouraging with my family at the moment.
- Getting up early enough so there’s no rushing or panicking at the start of the day. A calm start to the day gets you off to a great start.
- A few minutes outside in the back garden first thing in the morning. [See a related post about morning mindfulness here]
- Meal planning in advance with a focus on ‘proper’ home-cooked food most of the time.
- Family dinners with no phones allowed!
- Saying ‘goodnight’ to screens/laptops/TV/emails at least an hour before you go to bed.
- Making time for a chat to ‘debrief’ the day.
- Time to quieten your mind to help prepare your body for sleep. For me this means following a short bedtime yoga video. [This is my favourite one]
There is nothing particularly ground-breaking in this list, but each of these small things can have a real impact on your day and sense of wellbeing.
Prioritising, planning and saying no
As well as good daily habits, I’m doing my best to keep life simple with a good balance of things I enjoy doing, things I have to do and down-time just to chill.
Over the years of seeing clients, one of the things that is very evident to me is that the busier you are the more likely your sense of wellbeing and quality of sleep are likely to suffer.
We’re all individual’s, so one person’s too busy might be another’s just right. But if you know you’ve got too much on your plate, or you feel like you’ve not got time to stop and think, then perhaps it’s worth considering if you’ve got the balance right for you.
Perhaps now is a good time for you to look ahead at your plans in the coming weeks and months. Don’t forget to factor in the commitments of children or anyone else you’re responsible for too.
Here are some things you could consider:
- Does it look manageable or do you feel stressed just looking at your diary?!
- Is there anything you might want to reschedule?
- Is there anything you might want to say no to?
- Have you got space in your diary each week to do the things you have to do like food shopping, planning meals, washing and cleaning as well as some time to relax?
If you find it difficult to say no, try blocking out time in your diary.
It sounds silly, but having time blocked out in your diary can make it easier to say ‘sorry I’m not free then’, just because there is actually something in your diary!
And for those of you that don’t have a problem saying no, it can also just act as a reminder not to over commit yourself.
Why not give it a go and see if it helps?