You’ve just had enough. You are just managing to cope with your symptoms and get through the day doing the one thousand things that need to be done. And then, your train is late, your boss wants to have a meeting with you and on the top of it, your computer is refusing to behave.
You can feel all the tell tale signs that you are going to have a flare up, that your symptoms are going to get worse and worse. For some of my patients, it’s a headache or a migraine that rears its ugly head or it might be joints aching to an unbearable level or feeling more and more fatigued.
Sounds familiar? You are not alone to find that stress is making your symptoms worse.
On the top of it, the conventional advice is to ‘just stop stressing’ as if you could just do that by the flick of a switch. I know… they haven’t a clue, have they?
There is nothing better than prevention
The trick is to not wait until you are feeling completely snowed under to do something about stress. Stress is part of our everyday life and in small doses, it is a good thing. It makes us move forward and do all those things that are important to us (and that we want to do well). But let it gather some speed and it suddenly overtake our whole life, making a lot of the symptoms much worse than they were before.
Be proactive and take time each day to relax and wind down.
I personally have two ways to do it: I do some yoga or I spend 10~15 minutes doing some meditation.
But each of us will have our own ways. The aim is to stop ‘doing’ for a bit, doing for the sake of the end result, and just concentrate on being. Now you will probably ask me what on earth does it mean? Do you just sit there, staring in the empty space for 10 minutes? Well no, not really. It’s more about doing something you enjoy for the sake of doing it.
Some people like to do a bit of gardening, some people like drawing or painting. Some people enjoy singing in the shower! You might want to try some ‘mandalas’ (aka colouring books for adults) too. Just concentrate of what you are doing, don’t let any other thoughts intruding and enjoy the movement, the singing, the colouring.
Learn to recognise the signs that you are getting stressed.
It might be a general feeling of tension, your shoulders are tensing up, you are frowning a lot or you are slightly short tempered. Whatever it is, this is the sign that you need to take a small step back and BREATHE. Just take a few seconds where you concentrate on your breath, breathe fully IN and fully OUT 10 times. Be aware of the feeling of the air coming in your nostrils, feel your lungs expanding and filling up with air. And then breathe out and let go. Relax your shoulders, stop frowning and put a smile on your face.
Make a point of not rushing anymore. From taking the time to have a relaxed breakfast to not overtaking that slightly slower car in front of you, (re)learn to take your time. Check out how fast you are talking and if you are always trying to do 2 things at once to have them done quicker (clue: it doesn’t work. You usually end up doing at least one of them not that well and then spend more time ‘putting the finishing touches’)
Get some regular exercise.
It doesn’t have to be a punishing routine, just moving around, dancing with a young child, walking the dog or anything that you enjoy doing will keep the energy moving in your body and will help reduce the stress.
Have some acupuncture to help you relax.
Sometime, stress is so omnipresent that it’s impossible to relax, even a little. You might find your thoughts are taking over. They whirl around in your head with a life of their own but they just won’t leave you alone. Acupuncture will help you relax and stop your thoughts from going round and round in circle. By getting this little bit of headspace, you can start implementing some of the techniques I’ve explained above. Acupuncture is so relaxing that most people doze off during their acupuncture session. And some of my patients tell me that actually just coming into the treatment room is making them more relaxed!
How about you?
How do you relax and ease the stress out? Have you found some simple techniques that work for you?
Enjoy a more relaxed YOU
If you have noticed that stress is reducing your quality of life and making all your symptoms worse, contact me to see if I can help you.