How I Manage Stress

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Picture snapped by http://www.heysaturday.co/

Stress. It can sure be a bi*%h!

It’s almost become the norm to describe everyday life as ‘stressful’ but the reality is, pro-longed stress is a pre-curser to health issues, dis-ease, sustained emotional traumas and imbalances and overall it doesn’t make life much fun.

My journey with combating stress began after I realised I’d been living in a perpetual state of it for about 15 years. I wasn’t alone in this; there are so many people who do but who are unaware because it’s just become habitual and a way of life. For me, this impacted my health in a big way and whilst nutrition, supplements and conventional medication got me so far, it wasn’t until I addressed the s-t-r-e-s-s that things really started to shift dramatically.

You can take all the pills and fancy supplements that the swanky health stores have to offer, but they ain’t going to do anything if you’re internally frazzled.

I won’t go into the fine details of what stress does to the body but in a nutshell, it creates an acidic environment, which then offers a nice toxic home for physical and emotional balances to take over. When you relieve stress, it makes the body more alkaline, less toxic and instead, creates a home for thriving health and wellbeing.

Obviously we can’t totally avoid everyday stress, but stress reduction absolutely is manageable. Let me tell you, if I’ve found a way to get this stuff down, you can too! It's a practice though. It isn’t about going for a massage every now and then or the odd yoga class and hoping that temporary feeling of enlightenment will go the distance.  

So, I thought it would be nice to share some of the techniques, practices and modalities I use to relive stress. The combination of these works great for me but its unique to everyone. It’s really about giving things you're drawn to a try and seeing how you go!

Consistency is key, so the first step is committing to busting your stress levels and changing how you go about things on a day-to-day basis.

I promise you, it’s totally worth it!

1) I meditate. Yes, I know everyone and their dog is talking about meditating these days. Perhaps you were hoping for something more original but whilst meditation has become a bit more ‘trendy’ over the past few years, if you do some googling on the concept and the profound changes it creates in the brain, you’ll see it’s much more than just pretty mala beads and memes on instagram ;)

I really got into meditation during my times in LA (I know, I know, the trendiest place to meditate but I assure you, the teachers I practiced with there were the real deal - some of whom I recommend and whose classes I loved are Camilla Sacre Dallerup, Kelsey J Patel and Megan Monahan. The Den and Unplugged were my go-to meditation places.) I now meditate for anywhere between 15 minutes and 1 hour each day, depending on my schedule.

There are no ‘rules’. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. You have to find what styles suit you (which can change also), and there are plenty of apps such as Headspace and videos on YouTube. You can usually find a meditation for anything you’re experiencing. Sometimes I do them for stress relief, sometimes for manifestation, other times for self-love, sometimes for letting go. Whatever I feel I need on that particular day.

Meditation is one of those things that you really start to feel the benefits of without noticing. Your mind gradually becomes clearer and everyday tasks seem to feel less daunting. You become more intuitive and able to reach solutions and decisions from a less frazzled, cloudy headspace. I’ve fallen in love with meditation so much, I now create my own (you can get my bespoke high-energy one for free here) and offer to clients as part of my service!

2) I see an Ayurvedic practitioner. This woman has changed my life! She does Ayurvedic massage on me as well as Reiki. With my treatments it will depend on what I feel I need on the day. Yesterday I had an Indian Head Massage and a back and shoulder massage. Of course, massages are relaxing, which aids stress, but from a physiological standpoint, they also boost your immune system substantially.

I've delved into Ayurveda a great deal over the past year and if you’re unfamiliar with it, it describes itself as the science of life. The two main guiding principles of Ayurveda are that the mind and the body are inextricably connected, and nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind. I’m deeply fascinated by Ayurveda and looking forward to exploring it more. I’m also learning Reiki 1 in September and excited to then progress to Reiki 2 as this is a service I’d love to offer clients in the future as well as coaching and meditation.

3) I’ve let go of negativity in my life. Your world and environment completely reflects your inner environment so I had to take inventory and clear out what was triggering my stress. Old relationships that I was still subconsciously connected to in some way, old beliefs about myself that I needed to let go of, friendships (that weren’t bad but where I didn’t feel totally myself in them and out of alignment), even physical objects and clutter.

My old flat was completely rammed with old belongings that signified parts of me and my life I needed to shed. My new place is minimal, open and fresh. It makes a biiiig difference!

4) I do Chi Gong. My new yoga. This is actually a recent ritual but I am loving it so far! Chi Gong is a ‘holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for health, spirituality, and martial arts training.’ It isn’t really a workout as such - or at least, the one I practice isn’t. It’s more like moving meditation but it makes me feel grounded, calm and I really connect with it far more than yoga. Though I am doing about 20 minutes of restorative yoga at the end of the day too.

5) Sleep. Sleeping, and quality sleeping, is a pure life and beauty tonic! It replenishes your body, allows it to heal, keeps you looking your best and gives you energy. As someone who has experienced insomnia off and on for many years, it’s the one thing I really notice correlates to my stress and cortisol levels.

So, my bedroom is my sanctuary. I keep it airy, uncluttered and peaceful. I don’t have a television or any form of computer/digital device in my bedroom and I completely switch off technology and social media by about 8.30pm. This was tough as scrolling on insta become such a habit oops! Switching off from tech makes SUCH a difference though. I also meditate, read, journal or do gentle yoga before bed which preps me for a better sleep and I drink this or a homemade concoction of ginger, cardamom and fennel tea.

I aim for 8 hours of sleep, which for me is the ideal amount, but it’s still usually a little broken. Overall though, I feel good and well rested!

6) I try new things I’m curious about and that I love! There’s typically a pattern with what triggers my stress so I’ve found that trying completely new things gives me something else to focus my mind on. Recently it’s been cooking, nutrition, astrology, Chi Gong, new types of podcasts and delving deeper into spirituality. Having fun and saying yes to things and those internal nudges that might not seem logical but that I want to do just for the hell of it. I’m also going back to dance classes soon, as love this form of exercise, which totally doesn’t feel like exercise!

7) I’ve given up the ‘rules’ I’d set for myself on what it means to be successful. I’ve always been a high achiever and a big dreamer. Both of which I’m incredibly proud of and have no intention of changing. However, what I have amended is ‘how’ this has to happen and what success actually means to me. I’d found myself comparing myself to EVERYONE when it comes to my life and business. Stress city!

Something I realised, was that I’d bought into expectation, and completely lost sight of who I was at my core. This year has been one of exploration for me. I feel more ‘me’ than ever and that’s why I emphasise that the work I do with clients is rooted from this approach.

I’ve said no to what could have been amazing opportunities but that just didn’t feel right at my core. I’m doing things my way and I’m releasing that pressure. Success to me is doing something I love, being truly fulfilled and feeling free. Happy. Content. Holistically balanced. Yes, there are financial wants and goals in there too, but it’s for a bigger purpose, not just as a symbol.

The foundation of that is to allow me to expand my work to greater depths, to acquire more skills, to live a life that allows me to travel and explore, which inspires and excites me, makes me more creative. This makes me a better coach, mentor, writer and person for the people around me. When you’re deeply fulfilled, it shines out of you and benefits everyone!

So there you have it. The main ‘keys’ that work well for me right now. A few others include walking in nature, good nutrition and hydration, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) as well as the more low-key fun stuff like getting my nails done, having a shopping day every 6 weeks or so and watching comedy! Well, a gal's gotta look good and have a laugh to show up best in this world, right ;)

Seriously though, you don’t have to live in stress. Don’t believe it when people tell you that life is ‘just stressful’ and that’s the way it is. Maybe it can’t be eradicated completely but you can certainly navigate those tougher waters with more ease when you lay a good foundation.

It’s also about being mindful of the words you use. If you constantly tell yourself you’re stressed, this signals to the brain that you are. So try and be aware of what you’re saying and know that it’s not you that’s stressed, it’s something you’re experiencing. You can choose to have a new experience with tools such as the ones I’ve mentioned work for me or any others you lean towards for yourself.  

Ultimately, it’s really about putting yourself first and owning your body and what it houses. I am living proof that stress took it’s toll in a huge way on my body, health and mind. But by taking control and putting myself first, this changed the game and how I operate on a day-to-day basis. Compared to how I used to live, it’s is like night and day. This is why I’m so passionate about helping others to manage their stress. Try some things for yourself and see how you go :)

If you’d like to find about about working with me one-to-one to get bespoke support, you can contact me here.

Love,

Laura