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April 10, 2019
April marks Stress Awareness Month, which if you think about it - who wants to become aware of stress? No one. But the truth is, most of us are living our daily lives completely stressed without even realizing it. And, without the awareness, we’re actually allowing stress to dictate our behaviors, create tension in our interactions, spill into our relationships, and affect our physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Let’s face it - life can be stressful! We’re busy, modern people extending ourselves in a million different directions. We’re going from appointment to appointment, taking care of our kids and families, racing to work, and trying to prioritize our partners all on top of striving to live more meaningful and joyful lives.
And beyond the day-to-day craziness, life is just…real. It’s imperfect and unpredictable. Events occur spontaneously and outside of our control - like traffic jams and missed trains and break ups and receiving difficult news about our loved ones. Life happens, no matter how hard we try and keep it all together.
Not only this, but it seems as if we as a society actually put stress on a pedestal by believing that stress and success must go hand in hand. Like, the more stressed we are in our daily lives, the more direct we are on the path to achieving and experiencing everything we want. This kind of thinking is literally embedded into our language and the DNA of our culture - we glorify the “hustle” and “grind” and feel compelled to adopt the “work hard, play hard” mindset.
But actually, the more stressed we are, the more we’re constantly living in survival mode, trading our health and happiness for something completely outside of ourselves (where health and happiness can never truly be found!). The more out of control our emotions become and the more we act in ways we’re not necessarily proud of. The more we project unnecessary things onto our children and partners, coworkers and bosses. The less present, aware, and engaged we become in all aspects of our lives.
Thankfully, like everything else in life, stress is what we make it, and it actually is a choice. The events that occur may not be a choice, but we can choose how we respond to them and how we structure our days to either feed a stressed out mindset or prioritize space, self-care and reprieve. With truly supportive mental and emotional “tools” in our kit, we can create metaphorical “space” in our minds to breathe and be present no matter how much we’re juggling on a daily basis. And, we can perceive potentially stressful, unexpected, and maybe even painful situations as opportunities to grow and evolve.
WHEN IN DOUBT, WRITE IT OUT (GET THE STUFF THAT’S IN YOUR HEAD DOWN ON PAPER LIKEEEEE YESTERDAY): This first tip is inspired by David Allen’s book, “Get Things Done,” which I had the opportunity to listen to as I was pouring Essential Rose oils this weekend. David talks about “making your mind like water” (inspired by his background in Martial Arts, how cool?!) and says the first step to doing this is by dumping out what’s in our heads down on paper. When we’re holding all of our thoughts inside, this prevents our capacity to be present and fully engaged with our lives. Not only this, but our brains are actually not wired to hold information - they make terrible “offices” as he says - and are best served planning and creating once all of our ideas are transferred to another storage center. If you’re anything like me and your mind moves a mile a minute, taking time each day to get your thoughts down on paper and create lists (with very specific tasks, he suggests) where you can organize and prioritize all of your ideas will be incredibly helpful to a clear mental state. David mentions he even carries a tiny notebook around with him in his pants pocket so he can write down anything that comes to mind throughout the day, which releases him from worrying about his thoughts in the moment and helps him be fully present with whatever he’s doing.Listen to this Ted Talk here.
CREATE CONSISTENCY IN YOUR DAILY ROUTINE: If life is unpredictable and inconsistent, which it can be, then a powerful way to stay emotionally balanced is through creating our own consistency in our daily routines. Whether it’s a daily meditation or journaling practice, a workout class, music or art lesson, committing to a tangible practice we can incorporate into our day with consistency will keep us grounded, motivated, and focused no matter what else comes our way. And, when things do happen, our routine will help keep things in perspective.
GET MORE SLEEP: I know when we’re very busy sleep seems like the last thing we can afford ourselves, but the more sleep we get the more productive we’ll be and the better we’ll be able to handle whatever life brings. More than this, lack of sleep can have serious negative affects on our mental health and ability to regulate our emotions. Ever been so tired you could cry at a commercial, or things made you infinitely more irritable and on edge? Sleep is crucial to regulate our emotions and help us make sound and clear decisions throughout the day. So even if you’re tempted to take on one more task at night, give yourself the gift of rest and pick it up the next morning. I’m sure you will do it better and with more efficiency the next day anyway rather than with a foggy and tired brain!If you have a hard time falling asleep at night, try our Soothe Moodset with Lavender and Chamomile essential oils to reduce stress, deepen breathing, and tranquilize the mind and senses to help you drift off.Check it out here.
MOVE SLOWER THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY: Hey, New Yorkers, I’m talking to you! Yeah, I really am. Because I am one. And I know what it feels like to walk a million miles a minute, feet moving as fast as the thoughts racing through our heads. Rushing from one thing to the next and on edge as we’re moving throughout our days. I even move this way living out in the wide open desert in New Mexico! So no shame here. But can you just slow down a bit? Like pause, inhale, look at your feet, and ground, before you race out the door and off to the next thing? Before each transition, try this method: become conscious of the transition you are about to make from one moment / place to the next. Pause, inhale, look at your feet, prepare yourself. Drop your shoulders away from your neck, soften your jaw, tilt your head back a little, and give yourself a moment. Ask your feet to move a little slower, breathe as you walk. See how far you can extend your breathing into the task at hand. You will still get where you need to go just as fast, but with more presence. See how it goes! I’ve been trying this and it’s been very helpful to keep me mindful throughout my actions.
ESSENTIAL OILS can also be used to reduce stress. The top essential oils for stress relief include Lavender, Chamomile, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Bergamot and Rose. These essential oils contain naturally occurring chemical compounds that balance the central nervous system, reduce tension and inflammation, uplift the heart and senses, and provide emotional support.
SEDATE MOOD OIL
SOOTHE MOOD SET
EMPOWER BODY OIL
BRIGHTEN MOOD MIST
RETREATS & WORKSHOPS Jennifer Rose Goldman offers exclusive self-care retreats and workshops to help you strengthen your self-relationship. Practices include gentle movement, breathing & meditation, aromatherapy & tea, guided visualization, and much more!
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