3 Tips for Stress Management
Hello there, I hope this finds you well. This week, I'm going to talk about a subject I've posted about before, which is stress management. I've talked before about how for cancer prevention and looking after yourself after a cancer diagnosis, managing your stress is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. If you are a cancer survivor, as most of my readers are, none of us probably know exactly what caused our cancer. But you can bet your life most people I speak to will tell me at some point in the run up to their diagnosis, or the way they've been living for months, maybe sometimes years before a diagnosis, stress was playing a major part in that. So for me, as part of my recovery plan, I'm very conscious of the fact I need to manage my stress, and I must not allow myself to get stressed out anymore (I’m human and some days are easier than others I will be honest)
I'm going to take you through three top tips for you. I'm hoping these are useful for you. As always, there's no judgement here. I'm not telling you what to do. I'm saying these are three things that worked for me. Maybe they'll work for you?
1, Taking a break. I think this is something that we all know we should do. But how often do you really take a break? If you are working, as a lot of people are, looking at a screen all day, health and safety regulations will tell you it's a good thing to get up and walk around, look away from your screen at least once an hour. You should look at the horizon, look at something far away.
Sitting at a screen is not good for you, we underestimate the damage it is doing to our bodies, and our minds. There are numerous studies and articles proclaiming that ‘sitting is the new smoking’, In other words it’s very harmful to our health, and we probably underestimate the damage it is doing to us. Our bodies were designed to move, if we don’t remember this we are storing up trouble for the future.
Whatever your lifestyle, whatever your routines and are, taking a break is essential for your well being and for your stress management. Recently I was very lucky, my husband arranged for me as a birthday treat, it was a surprise, just three days away for a weekend in Whitby in North Yorkshire. We didn't have to go too far. It took us just over two hours to get there. And oh my goodness, it was just like being in a different world, away from the home and the every chores that we all do. We left those behind us for three days, we spent time together, we spent a lot of time outside. Luckily, the weather was absolutely glorious. So we did some coastal walks along the coast in Whitby, which was absolutely stunning, it was so beautiful. But to be honest, whatever the weather, and wherever we were just getting outside, getting some fresh air, getting some exercise is such a good thing to do for yourself. It's a real treat. And so just for once not worrying about what we ate, you know, the healthy eating routines we have we put to one side, we were treating ourselves to a lot of carbs, some lovely fish and chips, we found another shop that had been recommended to us where they did a wonderful pie and mash. We went for an Italian meal and had a lot of pasta. Just pure indulgence just for three days. And it's not something probably sustainable for a long time. But for just a few days of a break, of putting our normal routines to one side, not having to set the alarm clock not having to get up or be anywhere or no commitments other than to ourselves of having a really nice time. And truly being present with each other, it felt so good. It felt like we've been away for ages. Often you don’t realise how busy you are, or how stressed you are, until you stop. It was literally a breath of fresh air to get to the seaside, to take in the sea air, to do the coastal walks was just absolutely wonderful. So that's something I'm trying to bring back now into my everyday life. Now were back home to life in the suburbs of Manchester, I’m trying to keep that good felling alive. So today we've been for a long walk, not quite as pretty as Whitby, but we walked to our local park, near to where we live. So that's the first tip I'd give you is to schedule in regular breaks.
- New experiences
The second tip that's really good for your stress management is just making changes to your usual routine, just mixing it up a bit. As I said we've never been to Whitby before, it was a new experience for us. We went some lovely places we've never been before, we explored the ruins of the Abbey which was very interesting and visually stunning. New experiences are a really good thing for your mind, body and soul. So I'm inviting you to think about what new experiences could you do for yourself to help you manage your stress and again, we're all individuals, it depends what floats your boat, whatever you would like to do.
So this week, I have booked in for a new thing for me, which is to have a gong bath at a lovely yoga centre in my town, It's a bit like a meditation where you go into the studio that has a big Gong and you lie down in the quiet, in the dark and listen to the sounds of the gong and the vibration that it makes is apparently is very relaxing. I'm going to go in comfortable clothes so that I'm hoping to come back in a very relaxed state that I will be ready for bed, I'll be completely stress free, and living in the moment when I come back. So really looking forward to that.
- Make time for Self Care
The third tip I'm going to give you, and this is so important, and I repeatedly talk and write about self care. And I'm going to keep talking about self care, because it comes up time and time again, with everybody that I'm speaking to, and almost nearly everybody that I'm working with. So often I will ask about their self care, and what are they doing? And quite often the answer is ‘Oh yeah, I know, I should do that, I just never have time’.
But if you know you should do it, why aren't you making time for it? Life is busy, I get that. I'm not here to tell you off. I'm here to say, if you don't take care of yourself on a day to day basis, please don't wait until you get a serious diagnosis, or you get seriously ill or you get to the point of being seriously burnt out where you just can't cope with everyday life. I've seen people have an absolute meltdown, simply because they've ignored the self care, they've not been taking breaks, and they've not been managing their stress. So please don't allow yourself to get to that state.
Think about it. Now. If you want to live your happiest healthiest life, and I want to live a long life, but it’s important to me that it’s a long and happy, healthy life. You know, I'm 60 now I'm in my midlife, I want to think I've got many years ahead of me, but I want those years ahead of me to be joyful, in good health, and not living with illness and not living with stress. So I want to do everything that I can to prevent that. And part of that is scheduling time in my diary for me. Time for self care, because I know what happens if I don’t – other priorities take over. We're busy, life sometimes throws challenges our way, things happen. And often before you know it, it's Sunday night again and another week has gone by. I can't believe we're in September already, most of this year has passed.This year has flown by for me, I don't know if you're the same.
It’s a good time to take stock and think about what what's working for you in your life and what's not working. Give yourself some credit for the things that you've achieved. Don't be so hard on yourself. When we look at our to do list out we always look at the things we'd like to achieve. But remember all the things that you have achieved already. And be proud of yourself. Be proud of the person that you are. There is nothing wrong with you. You are doing great, I really believe that.
But if you are anything like me, I'm a busy person, I'm also getting quite forgetful. And I also find it sometimes that I get a do a task, and it takes me much longer than I thought it was going to do. So for me, it really helps me to plan and to schedule and to book in the time for my self care. So, I said to you, I'm going to the gong bath on Thursday, I'm going to book it, I'm going to pay for it in advance, I will set a little reminder that's going to ping on my mobile phone and tell me where I'm going. I'm a bit old school do like a paper diary as well. So I've written it in my paper diary as well. So hopefully I'm not going to forget.
So I've got all these reminders to tell me where I am going on Thursday afternoon. It’s booked in, it is non negotiable. It's happening.
Every week I want to plan in activities that my future self will thank me for, taking breaks, doing some exercise, stress management, learning new things, new experiences, along with drinking lots of water and eating healthy food, these are all things that are helping me plan for a long and healthy life ahead.
I've given you three top tips there for stress management. there's so many new things that we can all try. And I'm going to be sharing with you my new experiences, but I'd love to hear from you as well if you've got new experiences that you try and that you enjoy, that you think will be helpful for other people, let me know about them. I’d appreciate that.
My last tips was scheduling some time just for you, for self care. How would it be if you just treated yourself like somebody who is really important? Because guess what my love you are? I'm always here for you. Please reach out to meet you and get in touch with me. You know where I am at confidence after cancer.co.uk ping me a message get in touch. I'd love to hear from you. Have an absolutely fabulous week and I will speak to very soon. Thanks for reading. Stay safe, stay sane!
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