Why you need to complete your stress cycle
How many of us spend our days feeling like we are stuck on a hamster wheel, that goes round and round, with no exit sign?
Life during and emerging from the storm of Covid has left a big impact on working life. Are some of us still in a reactive/survival phase, trying to figure out what to do next, or are some of us able to make connections, explore options and feel resourceful?
Let’s apply the brake a moment and stop. A marker of wellbeing is the adeptness to respond to and recover from the challenges of daily life. We all have that capability, but sometimes we need to reset in order to do so.
What happened to my brain?
We all have a smoke detector in our brain called the Amygdala, sometimes known as the fear centre. Its main job is to detect danger. The stronger a threat is seeming to be, the more reactive the smoke detector sounds. The more it becomes activated, the bigger our stress response becomes. During this process, the higher parts of the brain, our logical thinking and ability to focus begin to shut down. We are left with high arousal stress response, where we can become hypervigilant (feeling on guard) and not able to make decisive decisions.
How do you reset?
Let’s start by learning to calm our nervous system in simple ways, which will help to calm the fear centre.
Every day easy tools to help
Our breath is the one constant in our life, but do we stop to notice it?
Stop now and take a moment to notice how you are breathing, fast or slow, deep, or shallow? The deeper and slower we can breathe, the calmer we become.
Get up from our desk or chair, move about, stretch our arms and legs. Shake our hands/arms and or legs. Move your head from side to side.
Go for a walk/run/skip/jump – it’s doesn’t matter what you do, but it mattes that you move.
Simple as that, chew something. It will create saliva in the mouth, this gives a signal to the brain that all is okay. When your mouth is dry, it sends a message to the brain that danger might be lurking, and the fear centre can become activated.
At the end of the working day, write down all you have achieved. Make a list of what’s important for the next day. Draw a line under it and remember to tidy your desk.
Evening time, draw or write 3 things that have helped to make your day a positive one. It might be a smile, something in nature, a cuddle from your pet, something funny… whatever it is make note of it… by the end of the week, notice how many positive experiences you have had.
Create your bedroom as a place of rest and relaxation. Remove any work items from the room (if you’re having to work from there during the day). Make sure the room temperature is not too hot or too cold. Disconnect from digital devices at least an hour before sleep. Have a regular bedtime routine before getting into bed. Try to get at least 6 to 8 hours rest a night.
Find your way to complete your daily stress cycle – Reset and Recharge.
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