This year is full on - my polite understatement there - and we are still not through it. I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling overwhelm at every turn. It's even more important now that we take time to nourish ourselves, look after ourselves and remember that we are important. The overfilled bucket is no good to anyone, you included.
I've started reading Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski and it is really resonating. As a small business owner, I'm heading into my craziest part of the year, full of early morning starts and middle of the night finishes so to avoid burnout, and its disastrous consequences, I'm setting myself 8 simple ways to de-stress and be kind to myself. Hopefully there's some good hints for you.
1. Yoga - When I get out of the door and run, I hate it but feel better afterwards. But the fact is I am finding it hard to put running regularly in my routine so I'm going to make a plan to do yoga a couple of times a week before bed as that seems achievable. I think we all must know about Yoga with Adrienne by now but I've heard her latest grounding lessons are very comforting so I'm going to start there.
2. Reading - I get stuck too easily in an unfocused scroll on the internet. There's only so many times you can see a Reel with lots of finger clicking. Just me? So I'm going to keep a book close with me at all times so I can grab ten minutes of fiction. Phone down, book up.
3. Be Creative - Get your hands busy to release the stress of the everyday. I have always had a block when it comes to drawing, but my son's endless requests for complicated dinosaur creations have forced me out of my comfort zone. And you know what? I'm getting better at it. The patience and concentration is what I need to improve my drawing and take my mind off other things. My friends have been swearing by Zoom life drawing since the beginning of lockdown if you fancy trying that. If you are more of a wannabe crafter check out Sewcial Circle's ready-to-make kits and online workshops. I'm waiting for these punch needle cushions to be back in stock.
4. Brain Dump
Untangle your mind with a brain dump. I'm trying to be better at mono-tasking, instead of multi-tasking, but when there is so much going on my brain keeps pinging little notifications of new jobs to do. They are so distracting. So I set myself a timed brain dump.
Step away from the phone or computer, find yourself some paper and a pen and give yourself ten minutes to write down everything in your head. All those little jobs, big jobs, reminders and little distractions that you can't shift. Then go and make a cuppa or have a walk. When you come back look at the list organise any priorities and give them a deadline date, then go back to what you were doing. You might need to repeat this regularly, I definitely like to do it first thing in the morning.
5. Creating The Mood
Whether I am working or relaxing, there is something so calming and soothing about making the space smell nice. At home I light my candles from Loop Bristol which I am now also stocking and you can buy here. At the studio I have my Flickerwick or Cole & Cole diffusers. I've also been getting into aromatherapy roll ones with a set from Neu Oil on rotation and another one from Liha Beauty on my Christmas list.
6. Dance It Off
Dancing has always been my stress reliever. Lights off, curtains closed, headphones in and dance like no one is watching. I can do without the posed Insta dancing videos but my current daily wind down is definitely finding ten minutes before bed for a dance in the kitchen while everyone is asleep. What would be your song to shake it all off to?
7. Have a Laugh
The news is heavy, the world is heavy and our hearts are heavy. I can't be the only one who has turned to an excessive comedy consumption at the moment. Laughing is good for our mood and our health. So I've been revisiting some old favourites like Toast of London, exploring all of the stand up specials on Amazon Prime and Netflix and improv comedy podcast Comedy Bang Bang.
8. Taking Time For The Small Pleasures
I'm not one for guilty pleasures and instead would rather try and savour the nice things in life, instead of feeling rubbish about them. Making my coffee is a peaceful ritual for me, I make it with a V60 dripper which is slow work but it makes me stop for a moment a few times a day. And there's always time for some chocolate, go dark if you want to be virtuous, but the new chocolate collection from Little Welsh Chocolate Company that I have on the website is a definite pleasure to savour.