Do you wake up, curse on the alarm clock, hit snooze, and 3 times after you’ve hit the snooze button finally find it within you to finally get up? Do you drag yourself half asleep to the toilet, wash up and get dressed ? If you are a female good luck; you will have probably changed 3 times already. Do you make your way to the kitchen -which is probably messed up cause… who has the power to clean the dishes from the day before?- and swallow a coffee as fast as you can because and before you know it, it’s already time to go to work…? AGAIN…?! And you cannot even remember where the stupid keys are! AGAIN! This sadly happens to most of us on most days -if you are living alone! Can you imagine living with more than you? Already CHAOS, PANIC, STRESS rule and take over your body!

It is a fact: Most of us go to work ALREADY stressed! Now, we also have our work, our customers, AND our bosses to worry about it ON TOP! Oh, man…!

I can honestly say that the first time at work I felt stressed was my first day at work. Or should I say first week? Or was it more? To be fair, it was a mixture of feelings, most frequently switching from excitement to fear, to stress, to being proud. So I decided I needed to put an end to the negative stuff, especially stress. I dug deep into my notes from the past and found some answers. Before writing this article, I dug a little deeper for us, just to keep us up-to-date 🙂

I cannot STRESS enough how STRESS can kill you. So I hope you and I find these stress management strategies helpful. Please remember, just because it is working for me or others, does not mean it works for you. The list is quite long -options, options ;)- but even if you apply 1/10 of it, you will probably have better chances of limiting the effects of stress -especially chronic stress- than others. Just experiment with a technique for some time -if you are open to it- and see if it is sincerely for you or not.

 

I. What can I do to release stress in the moment?

1. Learn the physiological signs of stress and acknowledge how your body reacts to it. Do not ignore the signs, i.e. sweaty palms, increased heart rate, neck stiffness, upset stomach..

2. Think of the stressor as an opportunity to grow and move on, rather than something negative. Shift your way of thinking and use the rush you get to focus undeniably to the task in hand.

3. Say over and over: “I got this! Done it before, can handle, time to crush it baby!” Believe me when I say, positive thinking will get you a long way! 🙂

4. Activate your yang, your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) that is. The PNS has the ability to calm down the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is eventually responsible for the adrenaline rush. How to activate your PNS? A simple on-the-spot technique is the “5x5x5 deep breathing“: breath deep through your heart, feel your abdominal muscles and your chest expanding and contracting, imagine your diaphragm moving up and down. 5 seconds inhale, 5 seconds exhale, for a total of 5 deep breaths.

5. Write down a to-do list, prioritise, strategise. Everything will be clearer and you will be able to focus in no time.

6. Talk to someone you trust, someone who can listen and can give advice. Talking things through will always pave the path for a better understanding. It helps us to see the problem with a fresh eye and get to solutions faster. [PS: These kind of people are hard to find, so when you do, cherish them and show them how much you appreciate them]

7. Promote a calm aura, as if you are the Dalai Lama in the middle of a war zone. Relax your face, relax your shoulders, stand up straight, and keep your voice calm and reasonable. Why? Well, consider the last time someone talked to you in  a distressed tone -for me it will always be the nurses… How did you react?

II. What can I do to relieve/release stress on the long run?

1. Take time to define on paper your code of conduct, your dreams and visions, your values and rules, your ideals, ultimate goals, and beliefs. Be honest and ask yourself these little treasures:

A. Where do I stand today?

B. Where do I want to get to?

C. Why?

If question C does not stir up some emotion inside of you, know it is not the right one. So, keep asking why and you will get there. Finally,

D. How do I get to B? What can I do differently?

Knowing your core self will help your focus and allow you to say no to stressful things that may not even be as important or urgent for you and where you want to be.

2. Practice mindfulness techiques purposefully, intentionally, with an open mind & heart.

mindful breathing

pexels-photo-899753.jpeg
Photo by Nguyễn Xuân Trung on Pexels.com

mindful STOP: STOP and smell the flowers 😉

mindful daily routine

mindful eating: smell, sight, sound, texture, taste, temperature

mindful commuting

3. Pay attention to the positives, rather than the negatives: think of something or someone that makes you happy or puts a smile on your face.

4. Practice gratitude:

Write “Thank you” notes

Write gratitude letters

Journal 3 times/week about 3 things you are grateful for. I have noticed that the smaller and the more unimportant something may seem to be, the more I am grateful for it.

5. Volunteer (do acts of kindness), give

6. Connect with others and empower your compassion: with people you love, with people you feel can teach you something new, with strangers.

7. Relax:

Progressive muscle relaxation (Audio)

Diaphragmatic breathing

Guided imaging/visualisation through all our senses to get to our “Happy place”

8. Try destraction methods, i.e. cold showers (not a fan, lol)

9. Have a self-soothing, self-compassionate outlook on yourself: look at your mistakes with kindness, use constructive criticism with yourself rather than cold judgement, see the day as an opportunity for progress instead of perfection. Hug yourself.

10. Be proactive: Plan ahead, use prioritised action lists (what, where, when- even your recreation time!), use if-then statements (i.e. “If it is 20:00, then I will exercise”) and get excited about getting things done! Check out my first blog about planning here!

11. Count your little wins, give yourself a tap on the back, and celebrate your progress any way you feel like!

12. Spend time in nature, in green places.

13. Cherish & nurture your hobbies, recreation and leisure time. If possible do it away from work, and just play and have fun with others.

14. Pray

15. Self-reflect with the help of journaling

16. Use techniques like: Neural feedback or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

17. Search and find a mentor or ask the help of a life coach

 

Appointment booked. I’m all set. Coach me!

$250.00

18. Define your inspirations, role models and heroes according to what you want to improve on.

III. Last but not least, here are some lifestyle changes to consider:

Nutrition: the what is just as significant as the how

The what: limit salt, sugar , “whites”, (i.e. bread, milk, sugar) & red meat,  eat a “rainbow” of vegetables and fruits, go for healthier carbs & nuts, drink plenty of water.

The how: mindfully, without TV, enjoy and talk to others

Exercise: 30 min/day moderate, aerobic exercise (which means not being able to talk with ease) & weight bearing (yoga, pilates, weight-lifting). Zumba® is a fantastic, fun way to tone, burn calories and most importantly have FUN! Check my Zumba instructor page! Check out when the next class takes place and make sure you share your love by clicking on the ♥ button!

Zumba Basic 1

Sleep: 7-9 hrs/d is considered physiological.

Take care of your sleep hygiene, i.e. avoid exercise, alcohol, smoking, caffeine at least 2 hrs before going to bed. Control the sleeping environment, combat cognitive hyperactivity with breathing or meditation.

Now it’s up to you? How does your body, mind, health experience stress? What have you been doing so far? What is working, what not? What would work? Which practices, tools, ideas are you ready to give a go? Which others come to mind?

I would be happy to connect with you!

Until then,

∞ ,

Curious Sabrina

 

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The “Wheel of life” is one of the most beloved tools of every coach. Even during a quick surf on the website of the most popular life coach Tony Robbins, you will encounter a message “Take our free life assessment”. Personally I find it a great tool in the sense of raising awareness, noticing or measuring progress or failure, feeling more determined, and setting goals. As a coach this helps me understand my client’s situation and general life better. Values, beliefs and areas we never realised existed come during the session on the surface.

But first things first. For the curious newbies, here is what a “Wheel of Life” might look like.

IMG_20180826_102249_HDR.jpg

You can easily find a blank wheel of life online with a simple Google Search or create one of your own. Here is a sample to download!

What you will need: Time (30-60 minutes), will to invest on you, a blank wheel of life, a pencil or pen, coloring material (optional).

Step 1: Just look at it, take it iiiiin. At first it might seem puzzling, even intimidating. Please trust me, allow yourself time and take a breath. Stay open, trust yourself and it will be ok. Have a look at each category and sense how you feel about each category. I am sure there are thousands of thoughts running through your mind, but remember…

Step 2: Relax! The exercise in itself is easy. What is not easy, even for me sometimes, is to stay true to myself and consider what MY standards and expectations are. I try to remind myself not to think of the expectations of others. And that could be difficult at times. It is important to connect with yourself, respect and be truthful to yourself. After all, the exercise is for your eyes and yourself. It is your life, this is your wheel, chose wisely, responsibly and feel free to make this exercise as personalised as possible. Finish when you are fully and completely resonating with the result!

Step 3: Bring your gaze to the category that speaks to you the most. Is it health- or home-related? Is it money- or career-related? Let’s take for example the category “Health”.

Does it resonate with you? Really? If that’ s so, let it be. If not we can change it! How? Yes… We could delete it, but seriously who does not want to be or stay healthy? Our body is our vehicle and its health depends on us, therefore I cannot imagine someone wanting to delete this category. Even if you wanted to delete it, would you stop a second and rethink it, if I were to tell you that you can change the wording? You say “WHAT?! MINDFUCK!”. And yes, interestingly enough clients prefer to change the wording of the category or even split it. How? Well, some people prefer “Wellbeing”, “Wellness”, “Vitality”… Endless possibilities! Label it the best way it suits for you! The split might be “Wellbeing Body”, “Wellbeing Mind”, “Wellbeing Spirit”.

But Sabrina can I do this for every category? What if I end up with 9, 10 11, 12 categories and end up changing all their names? Usually I would allow a client to expand as much as they like, just to see in which way this is going. Sometimes, surprises happen and values seem more logical in comparison to the given categories. And the “Wheel of Life” may turn into a “Values Wheel in personal/work life”, a “Strengths Wheel” et cetera. And here is exactly where the coach comes in. One of our jobs is to listen actively to what the client says and rephrase it so that it makes sense to both parties. A harder part of the job is to listen intuitively and have the balls, OOPS, excuse me boldness… ehmm rather COURAGE to say out loud what is not being said!

You will know that this step is done when you can say “Yes, this resonates with me!”. A little smile might appear on your face, you might feel some pride and joy, you might feel also weird and a bit uncomfortable now that you have created something personal. Touch the paper and feel its texture. Take some deep breaths and get ready for the next step.

Step 4: What is complete satisfaction for you in each category? Closing your eyes might help the imagination process. What does satisfaction feel like in this area? What can you see at this ultimate level of success? What can you smell? What can you hear? Who is with you? What are their reactions? Stay in that moment for a minute and appreciate it. Now, open your eyes and land smoothly full of determination in the now.

Step 5: Choose a category consciously. Ask yourself this simple question: ” How satisfied am I with X on a scale from 0 to 10?” Remind yourself of YOUR standards and expectations. This is not about how your life should or could be, this is about how your life is at the current moment. This is not about the past or the future. This is not about past accomplishments/failures or future goals/worries. Stay in the current moment and mark your level of satisfaction with the number along the line corresponding to each category. Zero (0) meaning completely dissatisfied is in the middle of the wheel, ten (10) meaning completely satisfied is on the outer circumference of the wheel. Go ahead and do the same for all remaining categories.

Step 6: Connect the marked numbers of each category by drawing a continuous line. If you wish, go ahead and color the area that has been created. This is where you are right now in your life.

Step 7: Take your time and reflect!

  • How is the ride? Bumpy? All smooth sailin’?
  • How do you feel about your life when you see the wheel?
  • What surprises you?
  • How do you invest your time in each category? How would you like to allocate your time ideally?
  • Which 3 categories would you most like to improve?
  • Which 3 categories need your immediate attention?
  • What’s the Numero Uno you should change?
  • What’s the Numero Uno you wanna change?
  • Who and what might help and support you?
  • What’s the smallest action you can take to get started?

This concludes the Wheel of Life Exercise, or the Eye-Opener as I call it.

I cannot wait to know how this exercise helped you. What are you taking from this exercise? 

Have questions? Need help? Please remember that as a life coach I am here for you!

Infinite Love,

Sabrina