Stop Saying Yes when you mean No and other handy stress hacks

Stop saying Yes when you mean No

You know that moment when you are asked to do something or come to something and you agree to it all the while knowing you are going to spend the next week stressed out trying to work out what excuse will work to get you out of it. Start practicing to say no when you actually do mean no and it is amazing how much stress falls away. A simple, ‘thank you but No I cant’ is polite, honest and much much easier in the long run. The person asking has usually moved on the the next person they want to ask and they aren’t left disappointed in the end when you finally think up the excuse you think will work.

When It is a work request, it can be trickier but If I simply don’t have the bandwidth, I say ‘Based on my current workload, I can’t take that on today but I can do it for you on this day by this time… Does that work? …. If it is your boss and its urgent, agree what comes off the current to do list so that you can make it ‘yes’ and mean it!

Having Predictable Downtime & Setting Boundaries

If we are to avoid burnout or chronic tiredness due to our every busy lifestyles it is essential that we find ways to properly rest our body and mind. Affording ourselves predictable downtime through setting reasonable boundaries is a useful way to start some better habits to sleeping better, better energy levels and enhanced feelings of health and well being.

One of the worst things for keeping our brains active, pumping out cortisol and preventing us from starting to relax is our smartphones. These are responsible for extending our working day way beyond what is a reasonable expectation for contribution to your job. If you want to remain productive and more importantly healthy, happy and well then have a time in the evening after which you don't check your email or use your phone.

Signal rest for the body with a nightly wind down ritual such as a cup of tea or a bath. This should also be the signal to the rest of the family that you are now 'off duty' '

If it is an intensely busy period at work rather than cut out your time for exercise altogether, make the workouts shorter or get a quick class done at lunchtime or early in the morning before the day gets really hectic.

If you have a period of time where lots of extra weekend work is required, decide when it is going to get done, do it then draw a line under it and put it out of your mind. Don't allow it to impinge on the other part of the weekend or you might as well not have stopped working. Easier said than done sometimes so the best thing is to get outside, get some time with friends or family, attend to your hobby. This 'down time' will mean you get to work more refreshed more relaxed and in a better state to make decisions and be more productive.

Plan a reasonable bed time and stick to it rather than sitting in front of the TV. Better leadership, productivity, decision making and levels of personal happiness are all outcomes of a regular good nights sleep.




5 Minute Breathing Hack for Stress Management

Our internal chatter is a huge contributor to stress and most of us aren't aware of this going on in our heads. Constantly replaying memories, annoyances and past mistakes or worrying and projecting how things will turn out is exhausting and turns out also activates our stress response.


A moment of mindfulness will really good for taking you out of your head. It helps to reset the body to a better state of ease. Try this quick technique to activate the Parasympatheic Nervous System (also know as Rest and Digest!) and return to calm.

Do a quick body scan and see what is tight – usually the neck, shoulders and jaw.
Relax them, peel your shoulders away from your ears and pull them back if you have been hunched over the laptop
Slow everything down by taking a few slow, controlled, deep belly breaths to help you calm yourself and give yourself some space before you begin.

Breath deeply into your belly on a slow count of 5, hold for as close to the count of 5 as you can, then breath out slowly for a count of 5.

Repeat this a few times to help bring a state of calm and centered energy to you.


If you are in an interaction with someone that is heightening your feelings of stress, just 'pause before action' and examine your thoughts and decide how best to respond. Ask yourself: am I jumping to conclusions here, am I reacting rather than responding, what is the perspective of the other person in this interaction and what will serve me best when I respond?

This is a great quick hack to break the cycle of automatic behavior and improves decision making to being based on a place of calm and coherent thought.

The Benefits of a Sauna or a Steam

Steam Rooms and Saunas

 

I am a big Steam and Sauna room user and for me they are not just a way to relax or chill out. I find them hugely beneficial in terms of post workout recovery as well as helpful if I am recovering from a winter cold. I’m still working on finding room in the garden to build one!

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Here are just a few ways in which Steam or Sauna Rooms are helpful:-

1) Recovery and Tension

The heat relaxes muscles, soothes nerve and joint pain as well as relieves headaches.

2) Removes Toxins and helps clear skin

The heat makes your body sweat which helps relieves the body of waste products as well as improving circulation helping skin look better.

3) Can Increase Flexibility

I find that combined with regular work to stretching muscles, a sauna or steam room means that the heat penetrating muscles helps improve their flexibility.  

4) Increased Muscle Gain

Spending time in a sauna is know to increase muscle gain by increasing protein production, through introduction of heat shock proteins, growth hormone and improved insulin sensitivity.

5) Stress Reduction

The heat helps to release endorphins that reduce the feelings of stress in our bodies. I love to chill out in a sauna when life is very busy.

6) Post-workout Relaxation

This is essential for anyone working out a lot. Simply being in a steam room or sauna is time to relax which aids recovery.

7) Promotes Healthy Blood Flow

The bodies capillaries dilate when they are exposed to the heat of the sauna or steam room which allows blood to flow freely and easily throughout the body, transporting oxygen to all areas of the body which needs it. 

8) Sinus Pain relief

Many people suffer from pain in their Sinuses. The heat from saunas and steam rooms opens and thins the mucus membranes all around your body. If you have a cold this is also a great help as they aid in unblocking sinuses and improving your breathing.