At the outset of this year our youngest two started school – I naively believed that I would have all the time in the world to myself. As it happens the exact opposite has occurred – just until the last week or so it has felt like I have been constantly coming and going – I was considering installing a revolving door.
However, today circumstances have finally conspired in my favour and I find myself quietly pottering around the house in my pj’s at 9:30am! Yay!!! As I am enjoying the peace and quiet I remember the concept of a ‘mental health day’ – in the past when my world has been far too busy and intense I had taken a day out here and there to be pampered or go out for lunch or shop or anything that I wanted to do.
Since we have had children the idea of a whole day of this has not been so readily embraced. But now that I think about this concept again I am realizing that intermittently I have slotted in some ‘time outs’. Considering the concept in a mindful and necessary way, I wonder how necessary this ‘down time’ has become and how many of us are taking it for ourselves…
With the economic downturn that we are currently experiencing it seems to me the perfect opportunity to embrace the concept of ‘time out’ and ‘down time’. As well as looking after ourselves if we took the time out at home gardening or reading we are also looking after the planet by not driving any where… ticking all the boxes.
So while I have been pottering around I came across some handouts for coping with stress – I prefer to think of it as dealing with life in general.
I hope that one or some of them help you find some space for you – which will give you some more time to enjoy a cup of tea.
- Try saying no to commitments and responsibilities that are no longer rewarding you – if I am dragging my feet about an activity that was previously great for my but has now become a burden I recognize that it is no longer good for me – saying NO is very empowering.
- Reduce stressful situations wherever possible – it had been my experience that if my first reaction to an event or situation is to not go that I generally shouldn’t have gone…listen to yourself.
- Seek out relationships and networks that are good for you and make you feel good about your self.
- Feed your body – choose a variety of healthy foods – we grow some of our fruit and vegetables – the taste is so much better and it is great to get your hands dirty, very grounding so to speak.
- Remember exercise can relieve tension and lift your mood.
- Get enough sleep. Explore non-medical ways to improve your sleep.
- Feed your spirit. Develop old interests and explore new ones – I have recently started attending art lessons, something I was very interested in when I was at school, but haven’t made any time for previously.
- Learn stress reduction techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga or tai chi. Everytime I return to yoga after not attending a class for a while I feel so fantastic that I wonder why I don’t always go – commit to taking the time for you.
- If you feel overwhelmed by the stress of your life, seek professional help – ask your friends, they may have needed some help in the past too – remember to make use of the wonderful support that can be offered by your friends…