Stress! Argghh why do we do this to ourselves?

Isn’t it funny how in the modern day where we have all this modern technology that is meant to make our lives easier that we are more stressed than ever! Now I could talk to you about the mechanism of stress and what that does in our body like increase cortisol, increase blood pressure, increase adrenaline but with all of the information that is out there I am pretty sure you are already aware of this and aware of your food choices and how this can increase your stress especially if you are having high sugar foods. What I want to talk about is taking some time to reduce the stimulation of the nervous system which when in a stressed state keeps us on edge and keeps us from sleeping. Contemplate the following: How often in a day do you look at your cell phone? How often do you switch on your TV? How often do you spend staring at a computer screen? Do you go to bed and think oh I will just catch up on the news and go onto your cell to view what has happened during the day? All of this activity is stimulating to your brain.

One of the things that I like to do to reduce this stimulation is one or two nights a week when I get home, I don’t switch on the TV, I switch off my phone, switch off the computer and I turn on some classic or instrumental but chilled out music. When I am done doing the evening chores I pick up a book and read, I often drift off to sleep but figure my body needs it! I don’t do a heap of physical activity before bed, like the gym, if I am going to go to the gym I make sure I am done by 7pm. As the overstimulation makes our ability to relax and prepare for sleep so much harder. I avoid coffee or any other caffeine based products after 5pm as the stimulation effect from caffeine takes between 4-6 hours to leave the body.

I do find by switching off all of the stimulating devices it enables me to feel calm and that helps me to have a good night sleep and lets me cope with daily life stresses.   Another thing that I do when my life feels hectic and I feel like I am running from one thing to the next like I am on a treadmill is I take a stock take. This I explain in the exercise below. I recommend you have three sheets of A3 paper to do it 🙂 x

Vitalise Exercise to do

I want you to take a piece of paper (A4 is fine) and write down everything that is happening in your life that is giving you stress, write every single little thing whether it be demand for coffee, demand for time, children wanting this, family wanting dinner I want you to write it all down let’s call it the demand list.

Next I want you to write down everything on a piece of paper that gives you joy or that you like doing.  Weather that be sleeping in, walking, spending time with friends and family just list them. Let’s call this the Joy list.

Have a pause – go make yourself a herbal tea 🙂

Next on an A3 piece of paper I want you to make a calendar – Monday to Friday, Saturday & Sunday along the top with the hours running down the left hand side 9.00am, 10.00am etc

I want you to write into that calendar currently what activities you are doing in each hour.  I want you to do this for the week.  It might be 6.00am – wake up, 6.30am ready for work, 7.00am eat breakfast etc.  But you must fill in the entire days with everything that you are doing.

The A3 paper is so you can glance at your week on one piece of paper. Don’t forget to write in every single little thing like get dinner ready, getting to work, make skype call everything.

Once you have done that.  I want you to sit with it don’t think or do anything with it just sit with it, place that paper to the side.

Now I want you to take a fresh piece of A3 paper and I want you to draw up the exact same table with the hours running down the left hand side and the days Monday to Friday Saturday & Sunday along the top.

Now I want you to put into this calendar the things you want to be doing, be as creative as you want, I want you to fill it with the things you would love to do on a daily basis Monday to Friday, Saturday & Sunday make sure you include everything off your joy list, every little detail on how you want to spend your time.

Once you have done that I want you to sit with it don’t think or do anything with it just sit with it feel what you are feeling.

Take a break – cuppa tea 🙂

Now I want you to take your first piece of paper, and your piece of paper that you have just done, and I want you to look at them both side by side, now we live in the real world so we are not able to jump straight into your ideal world but we can do some things.  We are going to find a middle ground.  I want you just observing look at the first paper look at Monday – look at your ideal paper look at Monday.  What on your first paper can you remove?  What on your ideal world can you include?

On the third sheet of A3 – the middle ground paper, I want you to do the same thing write Monday to Friday include Saturday and Sunday – write the hours down the left hand side.  What you have observed from your first piece of paper you would like to remove, and what you have observed from your ideal world piece of paper you would like to include write this in. Take Tuesday and do the same thing, looking at both your first piece of paper and your second piece of paper, and just removing the things that you don’t want to do and write in the things that you do.

Do this for the entire week once you have finished I want you to observe it and how it makes you feel?  Are you feeling frantic?  Are you feeling happy?  Are you feeling that I can easily implement this?
What I have done here is created a road map for you.  It’s not anything but a piece of paper that can help you to start removing the stress and increase your sense of well being and happiness.  It is a piece of paper that I hope will empower you to say no to the things that are causing you stress, it’s a way for you to see how your whole week works.  And it’s a middle ground.  It’s not your bible it’s a guide and I hope it will work as a guide for you to say ok I have 24 hours in a day and of this 24 hours I want to spend my time doing….

We have to be real as we all have to work but by incorporating an element of both I hope it gives you a vision and when you look at it, just let go of the emotion that comes with letting some things go.  Think will this bother me in a week? Will it bother me in a month? I think the answer will be no.  Take your middle ground paper and your ideal world paper and put them somewhere visual for you, maybe on the wall in front of your computer but just somewhere where you can glance at them and think this is why I am doing this.

With your first piece of paper I would love to say throw it away, but I am going to say place it in a draw somewhere for the first two months, because if you find things are not improving, not getting better you may need to pull it out and remind yourself well what have I removed from this?  What have I changed? If the answer is nothing then you can’t make change or make things better without removing or changing something.  If the answer is I have removed some things then smile, but ask yourself well what am I doing that is still causing me stress, and observe and see if there is something more from your middle ground paper that you need to remove?  Look at your middle ground paper and ask are there things here that I want to keep doing or do I need to remove more? The middle ground paper is there to help you to make a step towards your ideal world.  Everyday as you keep going, you are consciously making a step towards your ideal world that you want to create for you.

From this exercise my hope is that it will help you to identify and remove the stresses, that have made you feel like a mouse stuck on a running machine and not able to get off,  by always frantically trying to do everything.  I am hoping it will cement a visualisation of your ideal world.  I am hoping this will be a useful tool and guide for you to clear clutter that you don’t need. This is my Vitalise exercise for you 🙂 and I hope it goes towards helping you get your energy and a sense of well being back. Me xx