We all get busy from time to time, and when things creep up on us and all of a sudden we’re juggling a dozen competing priorities at once its easy to start feeling overwhelmed and stressed. When it comes to being healthy and living a healthy life, it’s important to manage stress levels effectively, as stress can be as bad (or worse!) for you than what a few days of poor diet or skipping the gym can be. That said, it’s often hard to take time out to actually manage and stay on top of our stress levels – but I promise you, taking a few moments to be aware of how you are feeling and taking a few easy steps to help stay on top of your stress levels will pay of in the end.
I have definitely been there too – in fact, I have been skipping my regular Tuesday morning yoga class for a few weeks now due to being too busy and prioritising other things instead. This week however I dragged myself along and afterwards I was so grateful that I got myself out of bed to go (though not so grateful initially when I was running around in 3 degrees at 6.30am throwing buckets over water on the car windscreen!) I spent the first ten minutes of the class thinking “I should have skipped this to go into work early to try and get through the growing mountain of work I have on at the moment”. Shortly in to the class however, the teacher started reciting one of her mantas – “I take time to relax” and I realised that that was exactly what I needed to do. I managed to push all (well, most) thoughts of work to the side for the rest of the class and focus on my practice. It paid off – 50 minutes later I walked out of class feeling relaxed and smiling.
Sometimes, all we need to do when we are feeling stressed is to bring a little awareness to exactly how we are feeling so that we can try to deal with it. I find yoga is a great tool for this. Other times though, this is easier said than done. For these times, here are a few of my tips I use for managing workloads to help deal with stress.
Try to prioritise
In busy times there are often competing priorites – work, family, friends, study, all vying for your attention. Try to reprioritise what you have on – potentially putting of some less urgent activities such as regular social engagements until you have handed in that looming assignment, or leaving the housework for another few days – will the world really end if you leave the dirty dishes in the sink an extra day just this once? Or, if your finances allow, get a cleaner to come in and help out with the housework instead, allowing you more time to focus on other priorities.
When things start to get a bit stressful, negotiate with others – work colleagues, family members, housemates – to see if your workload can be shared or if someone is willing to take a bit of your load. Could you get another parent to run the kids to school, or a work colleague help out with a few of those pesky tasks that have been hanging around for a while and really need to be actioned? Remember to pay it forward though, and to help out in return when things start to quieten down for you.
Get some sleep!
As tempting as it is to stay up until all hours trying to catch up on things, you will feel much better if you aim to get at least 6 – 8 (preferably 8!) hours of sleep per night. Cutting down on sleep should always be avoided – it will lead to poor sleep patterns and fatigue, and tiredness can lead to sugar cravings, which will in turn lead to blood sugar level spikes, which will lead to further sugar cravings – you get the idea.
Vitalise yourself with veggies
Though it may be hard to stick with healthy eating during busy times, this is one of the best things you can do. A diet packed full of vegetables will help ensure you remain feeling healthy and energised. Make a big batch of Superfoods salad which will last a few days in the fridge, a big pot of soup, and some green smoothies. If all else fails, try to grab a green juice to sip on instead of that second or third cup of coffee.
When all else fails, breathe
When things get really stressful, close your eyes and take three, deep breaths. This sounds so simple, but is so often overlooked. It is a great way to center and calm yourself
I’ll be back again tomorrow (hopefully! Or the next day.. :) to share some more tips on how to eat healthy when you’re busy, as well as a healthy breakfast dish for busy mornings (and no, its not a smoothie or oats for a change!) Until then, stay healthy – and stress free x