Stress-Free Living Amidst Life’s Hustle and Bustle

We all wear the crown of decision-maker, boundary-setter, visionary, purpose-seeker, goal-chaser, and desire-maker. Yet, amid all this power, things can sometimes go amiss, and we unwittingly become stress creators. Even though we can consciously orchestrate our lives with grace and authority, making choices that align with our values, dreams, and ambitions, we sometimes allow stress to sit at our table and wreak havoc in our lives.

Too much stress does not serve us; it is a happiness thief. It messes with our minds, making it hard to see things clearly; it steals our motivation and inspiration; it bullies our bodies, running over our nervous system and causing all sorts of problems. It can even take away our sleep, leaving us tired and cranky. So, managing stress is worthy of attention as it protects our happiness, wellbeing, and productivity.

As we move into the festive season and the pace speeds up, juggling more balls and jam-packing our days, it becomes increasingly essential not to keep a chair at the table for stress.

We can remove the chair simply by shifting our attention to prioritising our wellbeing. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Practice saying NO. Check in before saying Yes and ask yourself, ‘does this prioritise my well-being?’ This can prevent you from becoming overwhelmed, over-busy, overtired, and overstressed.
  • Author a powerful narrative. The words you use to describe your experience become your experience, regardless of whether it’s objectively accurate. If I am telling myself I can’t cope, I am stressed out, I can’t deal with my family, then that is the reality I will experience. If I alter my narrative to something like, I am willing to cope, I am more loving and caring for myself each day, or I accept my family just as they are, nothing alters my peace of mind. Then, my lived experience is far less stressful. Try it. Notice the language you use and how it makes you feel; change it if it doesn’t feel good.
  • Integrate short mindful moments throughout your day. It does not have to be a big commitment or another task. Simply be still, move your attention to your breath, and follow your breath on the inhalation and exhalation. Let go of any tightness, clenching or resistance in the body. Just be still and quiet for a minute and welcome the peace.
  • Turn the corners of your mouth up and smile; embrace the power of a genuine smile. It’s a simple yet effective way to lift your mood, reduce stress, and create a positive ripple effect in your day.
  • Keep your attention on things you are grateful for, things that are going well, maybe the health of your loved ones, being alive, whatever is true. This simple act lifts your mind and fosters a more optimistic perception
  • Move your body, get some physical activity happening and release endorphins, which reduce stress, lift your mood and refocus your energy.
  • Nurture your relationships and connect with friends and family meaningfully and joyfully.
  • Take time to relax and recharge your mental and emotional intelligence; it may be getting your hands dirty or being in nature. Reading, swimming, meditating, cooking, It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it works for you.
  • Last but not least, focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want. What we focus on grows stronger.

We all know how to stress less and enjoy more—eat healthy, get enough sleep, drink water, exercise, calm our minds, set clear boundaries, and focus on our vision and goals. However, knowing it and living it are two different experiences.

Change comes from putting that knowledge into practice.

Stress does not define us; instead, it is an unwelcome guest we can easily kick out or choose not to invite. As we consciously prioritise our wellbeing, let us remember that the power to stress less and live more lies within our daily choices and practices.

At this beautiful time of the year, show stress to the door and welcome a reign of peace, joy, and fulfilment.