by Angela Counsel
Okay, there is plenty of information out there on stress and lots of it talks about the long term impact of stress on our health and overall wellbeing. A lot of the guidance I give busy women who are stressed out and exhausted focuses on long term goals and creating healthy emotional and physical habits to keep stress at bay.
BUT let’s also talk about what you can do if you are feeling super-stressed right now. Hands up if one (or more!) of these scenarios sounds like you and a super stressful situation you have been in or are in right now:
- You have lunches to make, a load of washing to put on, kids to get to school, traffic to drive through and a job to turn up to on time…..all by 9am. You spend most of the morning shouting at the kids to get dressed, get dressed, get dressed, find your shoes, find your shoes, find your shoes, get in the car, get in the car, get in the car. The whole time you’ve got one eye on the clock and you can feel your heart rate stepping up a notch, your blood pressure rising and you’ve just wound down the window to shout out a little road rage.
- You run your business from home. You’ve been up late most nights this week keeping on top of the workload because you’ve got your toddler and the baby at home and night time is the only clear stretch of your time you can get your work done without being interrupted by a request for some food, a request to sing ‘Let it Go’ or the entire tupperware drawer being up-ended on the kitchen floor. You’re so tired because you’re only getting a bit of broken sleep here and there and you know you’re going to have to work on the weekend to meet your client’s deadline. You feel guilty and sad that while you love your business, it’s taking you away from the kids and is physically exhausting you.
- You run your own small business and your kids are all at school – woohoo! So you’ve ramped your business up a bit. Taken more staff on, opened a shopfront or office and now a whole new headache has started. You have staffing issues. In fact one of your staff members quit via SMS at midnight last night which means you’ll have to cover their role for a bit while you try and recruit another employee. The kids are happy and healthy but you never seem to get to their special assembly’s or after school activities and you lie awake at night thinking about all the things you have to do tomorrow.
Hands up! You know what? All of those scenarios have been me at various times over the years. I admit it! Ouch!
So what do you when you are feeling the stress right now. Right here. In this moment.
What do you do when you have had the crappest of mornings? Or the worst bloody afternoon?
What should you do when you feel the heart rate rising, the blood pressure going up, the tears beginning to well up?
What can you do right now in this moment to alleviate stress?
1. Remove yourself from the situation
I have been in highly stressful meetings in my prior life in the corporate world. I have managed to get through the meetings and then I would remove myself from the office, my desk or the boardroom for 5 – 10 minutes just to clear my head and take a few deep breaths. Do the same. Retreat for 10 minutes of clarity and to focus on regulating your breath and your heart rate. Depending on where you are or who you are with, retreat to your bedroom, to the backyard, to the park up the road from the office, to the storage room in the shop. I’ve even shut myself in the laundry on the odd occasion!
2. Call someone
A problem shared is a problem halved. It’s true. If things are getting to much for you. Call someone. Vent, cry, talk things through with them. A best friend, a parent, a sister or brother or your partner. Whoever is the best person to listen to you at that time – call them. This works so well for getting some fresh eyes on a situation and a different perspective and you know someone has your back.
3. Shake it Off
Taylor Swift is onto something (sorry – now you’re all singing that song again!). Shake that stressful day off. You can do it literally. I remember going to an event where we did a releasing meditation letting stuff go that we were hanging on to. Straight after the meditation we literally stood up and shook it off. Shook our hands, legs, booty! The lot. And it worked. I felt very light after that. Exercise is another way to shake, swim, run, walk or box a stressful morning, moment, afternoon or day right away. The endorphins you get during physical exercise helps override those feelings of overwhelm.
Depending on the situation, you can choose one or all three solutions! These are short term fixes that will calm you down, give you perspective and get you ready to face a new day or the rest of the one you’re in right now.