What a whirlwind life has been! In my previous post, I shared exciting news about my day job and shared that I will be travelling to the US a fair bit over the next couple of months. My first trip, a two-week stint in San Francisco, is over and I have two more trips to gear myself up for. But in the meantime, I have three days to prepare for a huge work event where I will be hosting a panel discussion. What’s that saying, no rest for the wicked?!
I’m not complaining, I actually relish a busy, stressful life. Being a Londoner, it seems to be the norm to be rushed off your feet rather than having a quiet life. But busy shouldn’t be worn as a badge of honour. I love having a full plate and travelling but that doesn’t negate the toll it’s going to take on my body an mind. I’m really feeling the effects of jetlag and honestly, everything is feeling like a struggle. Waking up in the morning is a struggle, being able to fall asleep is a battle, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything, where did all that laundry come from and do my friends even remember who I am?!
Sometimes it feels like life is stacked against you and you’re fighting against the world. At times like this, it’s easy to react negatively. I can hold my hands up to reacting to stress by becoming irritable, short-tempered and snappy; I’m sure everyone reading this can attest to indulging in that behaviour. It’s a natural reaction but I’ve realised it’s so counter-productive and only serves to produce a cloud of negativity. Instead, I’m trying to be conscious about how I react to stress. I realised that we can’t necessarily control the amount of stress in our lives but we can control our reactions to it and I’ve been retraining my brain to unlearn those negative knee-jerk reactions and reacting more positively.
You know what, it has made a huge difference in my stress levels, my mindset and my overall happiness. I can honestly say that despite being hella tired, stressed and a little grouchy, I’m the happiest I have been for a long time. I attribute a lot of this down to shifting my mindset. I’m always one to spread good vibes so I wanted to share my top five ways to shift your mindset and deal with stress in a more positive way:
1. Switch off
When life is stressful, it is totally fine to withdraw slightly and take time for yourself. Cancel plans, take a raincheck on the gym, do what you need to do but put yourself first. Sometimes downsizing your obligations can be incredibly liberating and necessary. As an introvert, I actually *need* time alone to process and it’s taken me a while to realise this is okay.
2. Focus on solutions
It can be really easy to indulge and wallow in stress. I’ve definitely worn stress as a badge of honour and focused on how stressed I am instead of trying to fix it. But why waste that energy focusing on the problem rather than the solution? Instead of stressing about being wide awake till 3 am and waking up knackered after just 4 hours of sleep, I’ve focused on finding a solution – baths, sleep sprays, reading, sleep tea. I’m still jetlagged but I’m feeling better with each passing day because I realised I have the power to change my situation. I feel positive as I’ve taken ownership of my problem and taken steps to fix the situation.
I learnt to reframe from a wonderful therapist I saw a few years ago. Instead of dwelling on a problem or situation, we worked on reframing my mindset to think positively. This is helpful because some situations simply can’t be resolved and I found that acknowledging that the issue is bigger than you can be freeing. It allows you to focus on the positive things and express gratitude. Expressing gratitude actually improves your psychological health by reducing toxic emotions. This tiny shift in my mindset has been extremely useful in dealing with the big stuff, like my mum’s cancer or being made redundant.
4. Random acts of kindness
Sometimes when you’re most in need, the best thing to do is give. When you’re feeling down or stressed, sometimes you need to be an agent of change and be the good you wish to see in the world. I try to practice kindness every day, especially when I’m down as it cheers me up and it’s empowering to see that you can positively impact someone else’s life. Whether it’s offering someone your seat on the tube or giving your Deliveroo driver a hefty tip, try doing something nice for someone.
I’m a huge advocate of the benefits of meditation. It can help quiet your mind, give focus or clarity and help with healing. Recently, I’ve been far too exhausted to meditate “properly” so I’ve been turning to meditation music to help me find my centre. I found tons on YouTube which are set at various frequencies to help your body heal. I found this one useful to cleanse any anxiety, this one for healing and promoting positive energy and I pop this on when I’m sleeping as it’s 6 hours long. I always wake up feeling much more refreshed.
I hope my tips have helped!
Photography by Adorngirl