I have never made new years resolutions but after a weary and weathering 2011, I am looking for inspiration. Hoping this year I can share a bit more with you about life and creativity!
One of these is coping with stress. Living in Sydney is great but it carries its pressure points. I really think it’s the little things that build up over time which cause our stress levels to bubble over.
If we can pinpoint and reduce these, hopefully we can prevent a meltdown when something major happens.
If you live in an idyllic rural enclave or a tropical island with no traffic to speak of, please ignore (and feel my jealousy). I live on one side of Sydney and work on the other. It involves leaving very early to miss traffic, or jumping on a very crowded train.
Tactic: Distraction and Diversion. Two tactics I am trying here are listening to audio books/classical music. Not a revelation but helps calm and distract from the traffic/people in close proximity. Secondly, I have started exercising next to my work, after work. By the time I finish, things are quiet and cuts half my driving time.
Normal day is wake up with alarm, jump out of bed and run crazily around drying my hair, eating my breakfast, brushing my teeth, packing my lunch and deciding what to wear (all at the same time – yes a rare talent).
Tactic: Getting up ½ hour early, sitting to eat my breakfast and working out what to wear the night before. Sounds simple, but means fewer things to worry about in the morning and a calmer start to the day. Keen beans would include 30mins of meditation in there, but I can’t seem to sit still long enough for that.
Exercise. I know.
We all know it should be done and surprise, surprise it actually helps us stress less. So choose your poison and put it in the diary.
Tactic: If you love to exercise then please ignore. For everyone else, the ease and closeness of your chosen exercise makes a big difference. Note from my first point, I am doing Yoga in the building next door to work and it does double duty reducing my commute time. On other days I am walking and playing tennis across from our house. Morning and lunchtime exercise is not in my vocabulary unfortunately.
More: Find a local teacher, gather 2 or 3 colleagues and start an after work or lunchtime training/yoga session. Apps if you have an iphone are the go here too, choose one that lets you plan exercise for the week, alerts you and lets you track how far you’ve run, how many sessions you’ve completed.
I love a good list making session, sad isn't it. Not only does it relieve the stress of forgetting important things, but it trains your brain to release the worry when you write it down. Same strategy as when you wake in the night and write down what’s on your mind.
Tactic: I have taken this one step further and have lists saved in the drafts folder of my phone and include everything from the measurements of the shelf I am after to what I need to buy for dinner. Always at hand.
More: I have posted about being organised here. Instapaper is also a nice little program that lets you click a button and save pages as little bookmarks as you browse the web and come back to later.
Health. At the Core.
After a recent illness this is really at the centre of all of this stress-lessing and I am determined to get back to full flight. Healthy eating and being organised helps. A lot.
Tactic: Sit down and plan out your weekly menu. Seems overly organised doesn’t it (and I don’t even have kids), but seriously it takes 20mins once you have a few good go-to recipes. No more arriving home late with nothing to eat and grabbing take away. Buy your staples ahead of time and then all you need are some lovely fresh veggies to finish it off. If you are really keen, poach some chicken, boil some eggs and make yourself a yummy lunch salad for the first half of the week.
More: My New Roots Beautiful, fresh recipes. Even if you intersperse your normal meals with a few of these you will be doing well. Sarah Wilson and Louise Bell (Table Tonic) both write great blogs on living a healthy, creative, fulfilling life and are two of my favourite blogs. If all else fails order it to your door. In Australia, Doorstep Organics and others bring health to your door
Working from Home: If you are lucky enough to do this, a beautiful workspace can make the world of difference....
This is just the tip of the iceberg I know, but hopefully it will spurn me on to new heights….next I want to tackle finances/budgeting, beauty/maintenance and time management.
NB. This is my longest blog post to date...hope someone is reading it!
I’m interested, what are your pressure points and what are your stress-relieving tricks?
Images: artur84 via freedigitalphotos.net, Mental Health Australia, My New Roots