- Sunday, 18 January 2015 -

Stress Less

Hello my lovelies! With the weekend finally upon us, it's important to relish those deliciously rare moments of relaxation and take time to unwind. Have that cheeky lie in, lounge around in your pjs, binge on Netflix - it's vital to grant yourself some me time and recharge those batteries. I'm what you could describe as a 'chronic worrier', never switching off and guilty of turning things over and over again in my mind. Having a regular sleeping pattern eludes me and I've never experienced the mythical bliss of NOT having something to worry about, like my mum always says; if I've not got something to worry about, I'll find something. Sound familiar?

Practice mindfulness: In order to combat the swirling soup of worry and dread in my head, I actively practice a method called Mindfulness. Ever lie awake at night, completely consumed by your own thoughts? Attacked by the "I should haves" and the "what will I dos"? Mindfulness means to live in the moment, when you're lying in bed waiting for precious sleep to envelope you, there's not much you can do to remedy these anxieties. So tell yourself to stop it, that it's time for sleep and embrace your other senses instead: listen to the wind outside, feel the cooler side of the pillow, drink in the darkness around you. This technique can be applied anywhere - perhaps you're washing the dishes and you find your mind straying to thoughts of bills, bills and more bills, try to focus on the task at hand: the warm water against your skin, the splashing sound, because right now there's no point in worrying. 

Gain perspective: Like any other teenager undergoing their gruelling GCSEs, stress seemed to follow me around like a dark cloud. Obsessed with wanting to do well, my brain refused to switch off. That was until one day I gained perspective when a close friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer - losing sleep over impending exams seemed petty in comparison to a person's life hanging in the balance. Thankfully, my friend recovered but it planted a seed in my mind, that there's more to life than worrying. When you find yourself stuck in a rut, it's important to zoom out and gain some perspective, will what's worrying you now be worrying you in a week or even a year's time? Identify the source of your worrying and try to think of the worst possible outcome, and accept it. For example: you don't have a job so obviously you're going to run out of money and become homeless and probably end up freezing to death on the streets, but what about all that you DO have going for you? Would your friends and family really allow that to happen?

 Take action: Stress is often a signal to do something. That bubbling of butterflies you get in your stomach when a deadline is looming could be a prediction that your procrastination has gone on long enough. So, take action and break down the task into little sections making it doable, not daunting. Another useful exercise for minimising stress is actually allocating a set time to worry, say you finish work on Friday and afford yourself an hour to mull over everything that's bothering you, maybe you could use that hour to write down your feelings or even chat through your worries with a friend. This way, throughout the week you're giving yourself permission to enjoy some peace of mind until your allocated amount of "worry time" arrives. By postponing worry, we save ourselves from needless mental wear and tear, and when the end of the week does come around, usually what we were worrying about seems trivial or has been solved.

Love yourself: When it comes to worrying, we're our own worst enemies - we talk ourselves down and doubt our own ability, letting negativity ensue. Do you ever find yourself playing the agony aunt and giving your friends and family amazing advice, only to wonder why you can't do that for yourself? It may sound crazy but do talk to yourself, if you catch yourself spurting sinister thoughts, try to turn them around, for example, you're stressing over the fact that you've gained a few pounds over the holiday period, instead of letting your mind spiral into a pit of self-loathing, tell yourself that this weight is only temporary and that everyone is in the same boat battling the post holiday bulge. Also try to allocate some much needed 'me time' at least once a week, where stressing isn't on the schedule, you'll find your mood lightened if you just give yourself a break.

What're your tips and tricks to stressing less?

  1. Love this so much, Claire! I've been trying to be more mindful recently and it definitely makes a difference to focus on the moment instead of the stresses of life. And loving yourself is so important, a lot of people don't realise just how important it is! Hope you're well! xxxxxx

    Rhianna | robowecop

  2. Great tips! Mindfullness is such a good skill that I think everyone should learn. I meditate and it has really helped me too. I think the last one is the most important, we need to love ourselves and if we are having a hard time, just take good care of ourselves! Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)

    Hayley-Eszti | www.hayleyeszti.com

  3. Interestingly I've been thinking of trying to take up Mindfulness, I have a book with guided meditations and I never really got round to trying it but I think it could be amazing at helping me de-stress.


  4. Loooove this post <3 I agree with you about mindfulness - when I had bad panic attacks 2 years ago, I found it helped me a lot to focus on things around me, for example touching a desk or listening to cars go past, the smells outside etc. I found it helped me to "ground" my thoughts and stop the attacks getting worse. I'm a lot better now with my attacks :)

    Dannie x

  5. Lovely tips, I've got a week of exams coming up so I definitely will be practicing these techniques! I love your first tip about being mindful, I think thats incredibly important!

    Karisa x

  6. Claire, I feel you're like me. I'm constantly worrying. I always feel like I should be doing something. I mean yesterday for example, watching the television, 8pm on a Saturday night, and I'm thinking about work and the following week. ER. NO. STOP! I'm trying to train myself to live in the now, it's a very brutal process but if we stop worrying - we can enjoy life more. Also, forgive me if you already do this, but do you know about the app called 'headspace'. I use it just before bed to unwind. Stick your headphones in, and lie back. It's so worth it. xxxx

  7. Lovely post, Claire <3 Loving yourself is so important and sometimes we really need to truly just live in the moment. Breathe. This is a phrase that I repeat to myself when I feel like things are getting out of hand. Sometimes we just make things a little too complex when we need to focus on good vibes and keeping it simple

    She Will Be

  8. An absolutely fab post! I've started a series on mindfulness on my blog so might link back to this, if that's ok? Lisa xx

  9. Very inspirational thought! I am often stressed in work! Thanks for the tips!

  10. It's always nice coming across bloggers from Northern Ireland :) wonderful post by the way x


  11. I'm guilty of always stressing or thinking about what needs to be done, so I'll definitely bear these tips in mind. I think the one I find hardest to do is love myself. I find myself doubting my ability and confidence so much. I need to talk myself down of my high horse!
    Kate xx

  12. I am a massive worry guts too! I'm just a generally nervous person and anything can get me started. I've had to cancel so many of my plans in the pasts because the stress and sick-to-the-stomach feeling was too much to deal with. I might try some of these tips. Also can I just add that yoga and sitting down and just breathing seems to help me xx

  13. thank you for this post!!!!! esp. the tips/tricks to quiet a mind before bed. that always seems to be the worst part of my day. when the house is silent and i'm left alone with my doubts and anxiety.

  14. Great tips! Mindfulness is definitely the one I need to adopt. Will give it a go tonight :) xx


  15. I can be over-thinking sometimes. And it causes me a lot of stress. Thank you for sharing these tips! :)

  16. Such a genuine, honest post with some great tips to think about! :)

    Em x


  17. Great post, thanks for sharing these tips :) I love your blog and I have followed you with Bloglovin and GFC. If you ever get a chance to check out my blog I would be delighted, thanks!

    Camille xo