If like so many of us, you're prone to stress and anxiety, the last thing you want to be told is 'try not to worry about life too much' or, worse still, 'just relax.' We're gritting our teeth just writing those infuriating words.
Stress is a given, and anxiety is something we'll all experience at some point; sometimes it's totally understandable and fleeting, and sometimes it goes a little too far out of control, but all of it is manageable. We can't expect to sail through life stress-free and blissfully happy all of the time, and to be honest, if we did, we wouldn't know what it would feel like when things are coming up roses. We wouldn't appreciate it. Accepting that it's all part and parcel of this beautiful, crazy thing called life is step one, getting practical about managing it is step two. The key for many is being organised, but that's not always easy to do. Here's what we do on a Sunday for a less stressful and successful week ahead.
1. Sit down with your diary and familiarise yourself with the week ahead. Have you meetings? Have you events to attend? Have you got so much on that you've no time for yourself? Dedicated me-time is essential in the ongoing maintenance of stress levels. If you're going 90 around the clock, you can't be surprised when your body burns out, followed by your mind. Each week you need to ask yourself, 'what am I doing for my mind?'
2. Plan your exercise schedule. See where you can fit in a stroll or whatever it is you like to do. Planning this out will help you stick to your goals, and regular exercise is paramount not just for your physical health but your mental health too.
3. Practice your mindfulness and meditation before bed. Now for some readers, we may have just lost you, but these quirky sounding 'trends' aren't trends at all; they're just practical moments in our day where we focus on our breathing. When we control our breathing, we control our body's reaction to stress, which controls our thoughts which keep us in control of our lives. It's really that simple, and it's a tool that's right under your nose. Well, it is your nose. Starting your week off with some simple, slow breathing, will re-set you for the week ahead, helping you to gather your thoughts. It will also kick your Monday fear into oblivion.
4. Clean your bedroom. We're sticklers for this, but a messy living space equates to a messy mind. We're not sure if actual studies have been done on this, but we're convinced you sleep better in a tidy, organised bedroom. Knowing where everything is when you need to find it, laying out your clothes for the following morning, maybe even lighting one solitary candle by your bed while you get set for the next day - all of these things combine to help you start your week on the best possible foot. Cleaning your physical space clears away the weekend and starts you afresh, feeling organised and on it.
5. Plan your lunches and dinners. This one's tough, but if you can get in the habit of looking ahead when it comes to food, you'll have so much more free time midweek to kick back and enjoy the moment. Too many times we've found ourselves reaching 5 pm and saying 'sh*t, there's nothing but week-old shallots in the fridge, what will I do for dinner?'. In these instances, we wind up rushing to the nearest shop, and most likely picking up convenience food. Planning ahead helps you to eat healthier too, which is a top priority for stress and anxiety. Diving on sugary foods late at night because we've been too busy all day to eat well is never a good idea, and will only exacerbate your tendency to feel stressed.
How do you like to start your week?