6 Simple Rituals for Overcoming Stress & Anxiety
How often do you feel you are burning your candle at both ends? That no matter how hard you try to destress or what boundaries you set, the to-do list gets longer, and you find it harder to catch your breath? Even with businesses shutting down and our usual activities ceasing, somehow, we’re still just as busy as before. We’re filling up our free time with activities and home workouts and picking up new hobbies, and it’s exhausting. This kind of burnout has been getting the better of our generation and we’re starting to fall victim to it from a very young age. The constant strive for productivity is making us unproductive.
The hardest thing about the society we built is that it has become increasingly difficult to extract ourselves from triggers; work, illness, racism, pandemics, environmental crisis’, social media… The list itself is endless. But one thing I found that helped me has been building a ‘medicine cabinet’ of rituals that I can treat myself to when I start to feel anxious or overwhelmed. Here are a few rituals that may help you too.
Make A Morning Routine
Figure out what it is you would like to do when you wake up in the morning and set your alarm, so you have time to do it. It doesn’t need to be anything lifechanging or huge, but those little tasks add up. Simple things like making your bed, having a moment of mindfulness & gratitude, moving your body with a sun salutation, and eating breakfast sitting down all set you up for a beautiful day.
Practice Meditation, Mindfulness, & Conscious Exercise
We know meditation, mindfulness, and conscious exercise are tools we can use to help us feel better, but we always forget to work them into our daily lives because more often than not it can seem like a chore. But if you work a meditation and gratitude practice into your morning routine, even if it’s only 10 minutes, you’ll begin to notice a difference within a week. Mindfulness is a practice that you can bring into every facet of your life, whether it’s getting the kids ready for school, being in a board meeting, or hanging out the washing, at the core of the practice it’s really about presence.
We also know that exercise makes us feel good (hello, endorphins) and keeps our bodies fit and healthy. But this doesn’t always mean exhausting ourselves in a gym class - ask your body what it needs today? It might be a sweaty gym workout, or it could be a gentle yoga flow or a walk-in nature as you listen to your weekly podcast. You will know what feels right - and the more you love to exercise, the more you will want to do it.
Leave Your Work At Work (Say Goodbye As You Leave The Office)
This is not always achievable for everyone, especially as work fluctuates in this unpredictable climate, but make every effort possible to leave your work at work. Develop tools and skills to help you get more quality work done during the day and if you do have to log on from home, make it short and sweet. As a first step, you can even endeavour to only bring your computer home every second day. You’ll soon come to realize just how important that work-life balance is.
Eat Nourishing Meals (And Enjoy Cooking Them)
Food has incredible healing capabilities. Healthy fats are vital for brain function, adaptogens are ideal for balancing stress and cortisol in our bodies, and even just the process of cooking a nourishing meal can help you unwind and relax at the end of the long day. Nothing to focus on but the recipe, the aromas, and the all-important taste-testing, as you put on your favourite music and dance around the kitchen. It doesn’t need to be a three-course meal from scratch either, try our 5 Minute Nourish Bowls for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner.
Have A Feel-Good List (And Schedule Time For It)
It seems counterintuitive that we need to pencil in time for ourselves, but if we don’t, the days begin to pass us by very quickly. Making a feel-good list of your favourite activities is one of the best ways you can encourage your brain to relax. Grab a big piece of craft paper, some coloured pens, and start to write down everything that you know makes you feel good. It could be yoga, meditation, running a bath, dancing to upbeat music, walking in nature, journaling, or watching a childhood movie. Keep your list nearby and in moments of stress and panic, know that there’s something you can do to fill up your cup.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
You’ve likely heard how the key to good health a decent night’s sleep is - 8 whole hours of it. This seems do-able, but when the time for bed rolls around there are a million things that need to be done. So just as you set a morning routine, set a night-time routine to help you wind down from the day. Instead of starting to get ready when you’re meant to be sleeping, start an hour or so earlier. Make sure you turn off all technology and devices about an hour before you sleep, and if you use a smartphone for your alarm, switch it to flight mode. You can use this time to read a book, do some knitting, wash your face, have a bath, diffuse some oils or burn a candle and journal, do a gentle yin flow, or have a meaningful conversation with your partner in bed. You know what it is that helps to calm you better than anyone else.
Reproduced with the permission of the Food Matters team. This article by Tess Patrick was originally published at https://www.foodmatters.com/article/6-simple-rituals-overcoming-stress-anxiety