5 easy ways to de-stress right now

feel less stressed

I’m the queen of stressing out. I can appear calm and collected on the surface for weeks, but it only takes something small and insignificant to tip me over the edge into total meltdown-mode. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years and now implement all of them on a daily basis to keep me relaxed, or call on them to tackle those panic-stricken moments that come out of the blue.

1. Listen to a podcast

I’ve never managed to maintain a blogger-style morning routine (are any of those real?) but one thing I consistently do in the morning is listen to podcasts. When I get out of the shower the first thing I do is put on an episode of My Favourite Murder whilst I get ready.

Yes, true crime relaxes me and I know you won’t judge me for that. It’s the dedicated ‘me time’ that I don’t often find elsewhere in the day, and it lets me forget about work and instead listen to two hilarious ladies explain the details of gory murders that have happened across the globe.

2. Go for a walk

There is something about waking outside that really helps me focus. Putting my phone on silent in my pocket definitely helps matters, as does breathing in the fresh air and getting a new perspective on things.

If you’re feeling stuck creatively, or just putting off doing certain things I honestly think walking outside is the perfect motivation. It helps clear your head, releases endorphins and gives you that can-do attitude that’s so hard to find when you stay cooped up indoors.

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3. Write a list

Sometimes actually doing the things that stress you out are just too much, and I for one like to bury my head in the sand as long as possible before getting proactive. That’s where my love for planning comes in.

When I’ve got too much going on in my head, I take a pen and a notebook and do a ‘brain-dump’, something I learned from the incredibly organised Jenny Melrose. It’s basically a way of writing down all the thoughts, tasks and to-dos that are swirling around your mind in order to feel a little better. Once you have the list of random thoughts, you can start constructing some sort of plan.

This is great because it allows you to pick out the easiest jobs that you can complete quite quickly. For the more daunting tasks, dedicate a whole page to mapping out the smaller steps that need to be taken making the job easier to manage. Ta-da! More planning = less stress.

4. Organise a small space

Looking for organisational tips? You won’t find them here. I’m pretty scatter-brained when it comes to household chores and really don’t take any pleasure in cleaning, but I will admit that it feels good to do it now and again.

When I’ve got a growing to-do list sometimes I find it helpful to take 30 minutes and tidy up a small area of my home, as it leaves me feeling more motivated to continue with my day. For me this area is normally the kitchen. I cook a lot from scratch so I make a mess in there. I like to wash all the dishes, clean the surfaces, sweep and then mop the floor and then I normally feel a little more calm and collected.

5. Talk

Talking is such a simple thing, but something we often neglect to do when we’re feeling stressed. We’re conditioned to bottle things up, battle on and continue spinning plates until they all coming crashing down around us. We wonder why we can’t do everything all at once, but everyone has different capabilities and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I ended up seeing a counsellor because I couldn’t be open about my problems.

Pick up the phone and call someone you trust. Tell your colleague that you’re a bit over-worked. Text that one person who knows you inside out and ask for help. I let out most of my minor aggravations on Instagram stories on a daily basis and people always respond with helpful messages to pick me up and make me feel better.

Have you found any easy ways to feel less stressed?

 

How to declutter your mind in 30 minutes 

declutter your mind destress relax anxiety

I spend so much of my life stressed out. Stressed out for reasons that are stupid and pointless for the most part; with my internal voice posing various questions such as “How many toilet rolls do we have left and will I remember to go to the shop for more?” I know, riveting stuff right? Sometimes, I worry about money, my health, how I treat my friends and how often I see my family. Other times I wonder if my life has been memorable. Have done enough good in the world? Then I think about the toilet paper again. So naturally, I need to find ways to calm the chattering voices in my mind, to find some serenity in the madness. Here’s how I do it…

Write a list 

Writing lists is a really straightforward way of offloading thoughts from my mind onto paper. I have an app, diary, journal and a notepad all on rotation depending on where I am and what kind of notes I need to take. I use Google Keep on my mobile to collect all different types of list from a basic ‘to-do’ to blog post ideas, useful websites, research to do, meal ideas and personal mantras. In my diary I can create bullet point lists for more pressing tasks and assign them to specific days which really helps me relax, because even though I haven’t taken care of ‘the thing’, said thing is now part of my grand plan so it will get done. My notepad is for more elaborate lists, or expanding on ideas and I often use mind mapping (I know, I’m a total geek but I’m cool with it) to come up with ideas for my blog. My journal is reserved for those times when I have a barrage of negative thoughts filling up in my mind. Like an overstuffed suitcase I need to take out the excess and discard it somewhere safe. In my journal I write completely honestly, knowing that no one will ever read it, and I often start without an idea of what I actually want to say. This can lead me down a rabbit hole, but a cathartic one nonetheless, that ideally ends in some sort of resolution or at least identification of a problem that can be worked on in the future.

Turn off your phone 

It might sound obvious but how many times do you actually sit and relax without your phone nearby? I often find myself in the middle of something important, like writing this blog post, only to hear that familiar ‘bing’ that instantly lures my attention away to whatever is happening on social media. Is losing my train of thought really worth it to find out that someone liked my latest Instagram post? Probably not. If I’m feeling overwhelmed it can be really good for me to pull a curtain over the world of the internet and just be in my own space for a while. It allows me to really focus on one task at a time – surprisingly difficult for me –  without that niggling feeling that I might be needed elsewhere.

Exercise/yoga 

It’s no secret that exercise is my number one form of stress relief. I get cranky when I haven’t worked out for a few days and I feel instantly renewed when I finally do hit the gym, take a class or even just take a long walk in the fresh air. Not everyone thinks of high intensity exercise as a way to relax, but for me it’s like the fitness equivalent of ‘giving myself a shake’, realising that things aren’t as impossible as they seem and it can put pointless worries into perspective. Doing demanding moves like burpees and tuck jumps is a way of getting out of my own head. For an introvert like me it’s also a great way to socialise with others indirectly without too much anxiety. Since moving to a new gym I’ve also been doing yoga regularly and I can really see the benefits. Physically it’s an invaluable tool for relaxing muscles that you didn’t even realise were tense, and mentally it’s perfect for forcing those racing thoughts elsewhere whilst you focus on breathing and holding challenging poses. Although most classes last an hour, apps like Down Dog offer short sessions that can be done at home and act as an instant way to clear your head.

What are your tips for decluttering your mind?

Holland & Barrett mini haul

holland and barratI love a good look around my local Holland & Barrett, and with their ‘Buy one get one half price’ deal in full swing I decided to make a few purchases.

I am really into fruit teas at the moment. After giving up coffee a few months ago I ended up sampling a lot of new teas because I was bored with my usual green or peppermint varieties. My current favourites are Vanilla Rooibos (from Marks and Spencer) and Apple Crunch by Twinings. The Twinings one is being discontinued so I had to pick up this Apple & Cinnamon tea  as a replacement. Slimatee on the other hand, is just a great stand by for when your system feels clogged up, normally after a heavy meal or a few days of bad eating. I don’t use this every night as I’m not sure how good it is for your gut so I save it for maybe once or twice a month.

When nut butters took off last year I bought a jar of Meridian’s Almond Butter and it took me about 3 months to get through it. I know most girls love eating it out of the jar but I just don’t like it enough! I used it up in curries and shakes eventually, but thought maybe I should try the cashew version. Again, I couldn’t eat this out the jar but I’m definitely in the minority there so I would recommend you give it a go for yourself.

Finally, I picked up a sachet of Chocolate flavoured Whey Protein. I currently have a batch of strawberry flavoured protein powder by My Protein and I don’t really like it. Considering how little I actually use protein powder I am very wary about splashing out over £20 on a new version just to find out I don’t like it. So when I saw this sample size I thought it was worth a try. I’m going to try it mixed with almond milk instead of water to see how it tastes. I hope you enjoyed reading my little haul, I can’t wait to try my new products!

What have you bought as Holland & Barrett recently?

 

 

 

 

Tiger balm white ointment

tiger balmtiger balm 2If like me, you’d like to avoid taking pain killers wherever possible then I’ve got a great product recommendation for you. One of my fitness instructors whipped out a little tub of this out at the weekend whilst we were at the Les Mills GFX event in Glasgow and I just had to rush out and buy some.

She was offering it to a friend who had a sore throat, to massage onto her neck for a quick soothing effect as well giving off a wonderful aroma. When I commented that I had a sore head, she suggested I rub this same balm on my temples and I was hooked! It gives off a menthol scent similar to peppermint oil which is said to help focus your mind as well as help give temporary relief to minor muscular aches and pains. It can be used for the treatment of tension headaches which often occur from tension in the neck, head and shoulder muscles.

I’m also planning on applying it before bed time to my sore points which are usually my knees and shoulders. After doing Metafit today I  massaged some into my back to relax my overworked body! If you are constantly battling against aching muscles due to exercise or just long days at work, I think this will work for you. The balm itself is solid and turns to an oil once warms between the fingertips. At 19g pot was about £4 from Boots and I think it will last ages because a little goes a long way. Let me know if you have tried Tiger Balm and what uses you have found for it!