We all lead busy lives, constantly running out of time, flitting from one thing to another and the stress that runs alongside this plays a regular part in our daily life. With the constant plates we are spinning, if’s hard to feel like we can achieve any sort of balance. So we’ve put together 5 simple steps on how to manage stress and calm your mind.
Sleep is one of the key components in how to manage stress. We can sometimes feel that we don’t have the time to sleep and so we go to bed late at night or we feel so tired that we can barely get up in the morning. But a lack of sleep can cause even more stress. Stress forces your mind to be overactive at night time and you feel you can never switch off or get a restful night’s sleep. Set yourself a regular routine and a firm cut off point for when you stop working. Try switching off your phone, make yourself a warm drink (chamomile is great for helping you sleep!) or even have a warm bath or shower to help calm your mind. Listen to your body to help you gauge when you need to be going to bed and when to get up in the morning.
On average, a person needs 6-8 hours a night of sleep, work out how much you need and stick to the routine. Put your alarm clock over the other side of the room, or outside your door so that you have no choice but to get up and hunt around for it. Turn a light on as soon as your alarm goes off and by the time you have managed to switch it off, you’ll be up and awake. Don’t make your way back to bed!
The word mindfulness can sometimes be met with a groan or indifference as people associate this practice with clearing your mind (something which is incredibly difficult to do), sitting cross-legged (which can also be difficult) and with gentle Buddhism music playing in the background. Might not be your cup of tea, right? However mindfulness isn’t about clearing your mind so no thoughts pass through it and it isn’t about entering a state of utter zen. Mindfulness if about being aware of your thoughts and feelings in the present moment. Taking 10 minutes everyday to realise how you are feeling can help bring a greater sense of calm to your mind. Even acknowledging that you feel anxious or stressed can help you cope with your stress. There are lots of meditation and mindfulness apps out there that can teach you how to manage stress through mindfulness.
Being mindful doesn’t only mean knowing how to manage stress and calm your mind, it also means knowing what triggers your stress. Identifying what makes you feel stressed and anxious is one of the first steps in knowing how to manage your stress and calm your mind.
Take time to reflect on your feelings or events that could contribute to your anxiety. Consider the frequent issues that appear and that you tend to focus on a lot, such as your finances, relationships or work. Even writing a list of all one-off and ongoing events that are going on in your life can help mange stress and allow you to understand how much you have going on in your life and how much you have to cope with on a daily basis. Writing down how you are feeling is the first step in confronting your anxieties and helping you overcome them.
Eating well is also key in how to manage stress. What you eat can heavily influence what you feel and how you react. Especially in stressful situations it can be really easy to reach for quick, unhealthy food to satisfy your craving or turn to a glass of wine for comfort. If you regularly binge on junk or sugary food because you don’t have the time to sit down and eat a wholesome meal, this can increase you anxiety and stress levels and also make you susceptible to illness.
Take the time to plan your meals, even if that means preparing your meals the night before, as well as taking regular breaks for stopping to eat. Don’t eat food on the go or at your desk, allow yourself the time away from your work to take a break and enjoy your food properly.
There are simple changes that you can make to your diet to help you manage stress and calm your mind to make your body feel less wired. On some days, try swapping refined white flours such as bread, pasta and rice to their wholegrain alternatives which are full of fibre and can be calmer on your stomach.
Even taking break from caffeine on every other day can help improve your irritability and anxiousness. A good de-caff coffee can taste the same, minus the irritability, increased heart rate and stressed mindset!
Another way how to manage stress is by doing regular exercise. We don’t mean doing hours of running or HIIT (although you can do that if you want to!) but going for a bike ride, a walk, doing some dancing or yoga to release those endorphins (the chemicals your body releases to reduce your stress levels and lift your mood). Don’t forget that regular exercise also has a positive effect on your sleeping habits too, helping you to sleep better and feel more energised. Doing regular exercise has also been proven to treat depression, which can be a common illness among many business owners.
Exercising in the morning before you go to work can be one of the most effective ways of how to manage stress. Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier one morning and try going for a run or doing some yoga. You’ll find it sets you up well for the day and you can feel happier and more motivated. What a great way to start the day!
Look After Yourself
Running a business means you have so many things to manage, never mind managing yourself or your stress levels. However, looking after yourself is the first step in how to manage stress. Without doing this first, you can’t ensure you’re motivated to exercise, eat well (you always reach for the junk food when you’re stressed), sleep better or be mindful! Running a business can mean that you spend so much time moving from one thought to another, that you don’t actually think about what you’re thinking about! Sound confusing? Do you ever sit and take the time to think about how you speak to yourself in your mind?
- Are you critical of yourself?
- Do you become frustrated with yourself when you haven’t achieved something in the time you thought you would?
- Do you feel you could always do better?
- Do you become frustrated with yourself and other easily?
If one of these actions resonates with you, this means you need to start thinking about yourself more kindly. You’re working yourself and your mind too much. When was the last time you congratulated yourself on something you’ve achieved? How regularly do you tell yourself you’re doing a good job?
Taking the time to look after yourself and process your thoughts is a key driver in how to manage your stress. When you think positive thoughts, you emit positivity and positive actions to calm your mind.
We are fully aware that finding how to manage stress and calm your mind doesn’t start overnight. It really is a step by step process. Start with the step that you find the easiest to do. Start buying some healthy and nutritious food in and see how that will affect your mood and productivity or start by just giving yourself 10 minutes to see how you are really feeling. By doing one of these steps, you’ll find that the rest will follow and you really will become more motivated, happier and knowledgeable on how to manage your stress in the future.