Monday, 4 May 2009

my strategy for managing stress

>This has been a manic time for me recently, due to work pressures. Usual symptoms - loss of sleep, irritability, tiredness, upset stomach. Same old, same old.

We all face stress and I have certainly had it beat me in the past: I'm trying to get better at managing the rascal.

These are the steps I'm taking and I think they are helping:

I guess that the first thing to recognise is that I am stressed. I don't mask it well anyway, and so 'coming out' and saying I'm stressed helps me. I hope it helps others too, to see that I'm not trying to be strong all the time but let my emotions show.

You'd expect me to say that gardening helps and I won't disappoint you. Getting outside into the fresh air and doing something practical is so, so satisfying and helps me to achieve the balance that stress denies me. In the garden, one can become truly 'lost' and the satisfaction of the work done is immense. At the moment, our ferns are stretching themselves after winter and uncurling this years fronds - 'circinate vernation'. It is such a privelage to witness.

And while I'm talking about exercise, one of the best things I've done over the past two years is take to walking. On a good week, I'll indulge myself and park twenty minutes from work and walk the rest of the journey. ipod onto shuffle and fresh air, and exercise. Listening to my favourite music elates me anyway - then add to that walking. My best days at work almost always coincide with days when I walk to work and back. Or walk at lunchtime. I walk in the evening and love Blidworth Woods at twilght. Nightjars like giant moths, roding woodcock, tree pippits with their parachuting song flight.

I would say that becoming vegetarian has helped me too. I've become more aware of what I eat and do eat more healthily.

And last of all, but not in anyway least, comes morning yoga. Twenty minutes of calming exercise followed by breakfast in the garden, with birds singing and the gentle bubbling of my pond - and the day is set up brilliantly!

So, in summary, my strategy for managing stress is marrying body and mind:
the calming effects of gardening and nature;
energising music;
cathartic walking or gardening;
healthy eating;
recentering yoga.

I will try and fit 'a quart into a pint pot' again next week, and suffer the draining consequences. But I have the strategies to help me through.

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