We live in a busy, fast paced world juggling multiple balls and demands that never seem to end. We hope to have more energy for our partners, families, and personal interests but there is never enough time. In my counseling practice, I see many people stressed out by deadlines at work, constantly pulled in different directions, and trying to fill other people’s “cups” but not theirs.
They thought the goals they pursued would bring them happiness but it turned out to an elusive goal.
We all can get caught up in the chase of the next promotion, the next accomplishment, expecting validation from the outside world. Success becomes this moving target – the moment we reach one goal, we go to the next… thinking we will be happy when we get to the next level – whether it is a new job, losing all the weight, or finding a partner.
You don’t have to wait to burnout or break down to start a new self-care plan.
First, make a commitment that you will prioritize YOU and your well-being. Have you noticed how you want to keep doing and fulfilling others’ needs… but you can’t do that unless you fill your own reservoir.
Here are 7 suggestions to relieve stress and refuel your energy:
1. Mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment, and being aware of what’s going in your body and mind. Meditation practices help you disconnect and suspend the ongoing internal noise at least for a few minutes.
Resource: Insight Timer is a phone app that offers a variety of free meditations for 5, 10, 15 or 30min. Listen to a meditation for 5 minutes in the morning or evening.
2. Do you have any creative hobbies? Do you like to sing, dance, draw, cook or play an instrument? When was the last time you spend some time enjoying your creative side? Leave behind the daily worries, and immerse yourself in a creative activity – whether it is drawing in the studio, taking photos outside or creating some art.
3. Physical Health. Exercise and body movement is beneficial for your body and mind. It activates the endorphin in your brain, which helps to improve your mood and relieve stress. So many people find exercise to be a chore. Choose an activity that you find enjoyable – whether it is yoga, a fun cardio class or walking in the park or by the lake. My suggestion is to schedule it on your calendar, and keep it consistent for at least 21 days so it becomes a habit.
4. Decrease the Noise. Set aside some time on your lunch break or early morning to pause and connect with your inner needs and desire. What is your body telling you? We become ineffective when the inner noise becomes too much. We have to disconnect from time to time to lessen the noise.
5. Journal. Do you find yourself be entangled in your own thoughts and complex decisions. Journaling is a great way to slow down your thoughts and express them on paper or digital format.
Resource: Concerned about the privacy of paper journals. You can journal online at penzu.com.
6. Gratitude. Find things you feel positive about. What are you grateful for? When you feel frustrated with your work, is there something else in your life that you feel happy about?
Regularly experiencing positive emotions such joy and gratitude creates an upward motion, helping you to refuel your energy. Quiet the negativity while you work resolving a frustrating area of your life.
7. Social Connections. How do I connect to other people around me? This is one area in which technology helps and hinders it too. We have so many “friends” on Facebook but we feel more and more disconnected from each other. Plan time to socialize with friends and family in person. We are social creatures, and having quality social connections gives your life meaning and support that we are not alone.
As you are thinking about recharging and refueling, vacation is not the only answer. It is a matter establishing healthy habits and prioritizing yourself to enhance your wellness. If the stress is becoming chronic, consider counseling to help you manage the anxiety and pressure.
It is about making a choice to live a well-balance life, meaningful life. Then, you can give and spread out happiness to other people around you.