Start the new year with the intention to maintain that “holiday vibe”.

Returning back to work after enjoying a restful break can be tough but this is a great time to set the intention of minimising stress throughout the year.

Stress affects our biochemistry with the release of a whole cascade of hormones that are part of the “fight or flight” response.  Our body activates these hormones when we are in a stressed state as it can’t detect the difference between when we are confronting an actual life or death situation or when we are worrying over our work commitments, anticipating an upcoming confrontation with someone or we’re stressing about a deadline.

Stress for a lot of us has become routine. Some days it feels manageable, and other days it feels like it has a life of its own and this is considered “normal”. The end result is being in a constant, physically stressed out state. This is a problem because the body’s stress response isn’t designed to continuously cope with the levels of stress and it impacts on other body systems.  

So what can be done?  Minimising stress is the key and preventing the effects of stress is how to keep the body in balance.  In an ideal world this would mean having an equal balance between work and relaxation.  Keeping completely chilled, not overworking, eating well, doing exercise you enjoy and choosing activities that bring you joy.  In reality, for most of us it’s a struggle to not take on too much, say no to extra commitments and not feel guilty when we do something for ourselves.

It seems we are very good at being busy but not so good at not being busy.  The opposite to busy is what will give that stress response a break and ultimately lead to better health.  I know that can seem impossible during a workday with obligations, meetings and deadlines but ensuring small breaks throughout the day can be helpful. Even 10 minutes of deep breathing is beneficial and if you don’t have the discipline and motivation to do this unguided there are many phone apps available that have meditation and mindfulness practices of various types and for specified times.

Scheduling “screen-free time” can be challenging in this world where we feel a constant compulsion to scroll. Switching off all devices at least a half hour before bedtime will ensure a more restful, rejuvenating sleep and an extended break from technology over the weekend can do wonders for dampening down those stress hormones.

Let go of the drive to do everything, be everyone for everybody and allow time out as that’s when the fight or flight emergency system can stop pumping out those stress hormones, so you can regain balance and feel better.

And if you need help with any of this contact me.

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