I’m so over being stressed.
Stress was for college applications. Stress was for my college years, and my grad school years, and my mid-twenties. I thought that stress was something I needed to fuel my energy and make me productive. I thought that if I wasn’t stressed, I obviously wasn’t trying very hard and and wouldn’t be successful.
I don’t feel that way any more.
I’m over being stressed out. I no longer feel the need to “compete” with others by talking about my busy schedule, complaining (but secretly bragging) about how I don’t get enough sleep, and constantly commiserating with friends about how little free time I have.
I mean, I’m busy….we’re all hustling! I’m just starting to think, more and more, that productivity and energy and good ideas stem from a well-rested brain, not a frazzled one.
And more importantly, I’m starting to think that maybe I have more control over my stress levels that I thought I did…
10 LITTLE WAYS I FIND REST
1. I listen to the podcast “hurry slowly.“
I’m so in love with this podcast, which is all about “how you can be more productive, creative, and resilient through the simple act of slowing down.” My husband introduced it to me, and I’m hooked. I’ve learned so much and I’ve noticed a fundamental shift in my approach to how I view my time, my energy, and my productivity. Check it out if you haven’t yet!
2. I’ve started being more intentional about saying “no.”
It’s not as hard as I thought it would be, y’all. And I’m finding that people actually respect me more (not less) when I tell them that I’m flattered to have been invited to a lunch date/party/book club/wine night/event, but I am protecting my schedule and trying not to over work myself. It feels really good to graciously say no and realize that I’m in control of my time.
3. I listen to great audiobooks in the car.
I’m a violinist, so my job means that I spend a lot of time in the car driving to rehearsals. Instead of dreading this time, I actually look forward to an hour of sitting in traffic because I know that I’ll get to enjoy 60 minutes of an audiobook! (PS: check out my “2018 Reads” page to see everything I’ve read so far this year.)
4. I take naps.
Yep, I’m admitting my love affair with the 30-min afternoon power nap! I spent too much of my life thinking that taking a nap was equivalent to weakness, but I know SO much better now. If I woke up early in the morning, sometimes my body tells me it needs a nap after lunch. Instead of denying it, I splurge and enjoy that deep sleep, and then I wake up ready to be twice as efficient because my body and brain feel rested.
Say it with me now:
“Naps do NOT equal weakness!”
(You might need to say it about 10,000 times before you believe it….I know that I did!)
5. I meditate almost every morning.
This is a habit I picked up in January (it was my monthly goal – read the recap here) and I’m still enjoying it. Sometimes I’ll meditate for 3 minutes, and sometimes I’ll get really deep into those alpha brain waves and lose track of all time and meditate for 30 minutes or more. The benefits are HUGE, and I’m just loving soaking it all up! Meditation helps me increase my self-acceptance, awareness, creative thinking, and problem solving, and it helps me decrease stress, anxiety, and depression.
6. I’ll treat myself to a cocktail at night.
I definitely still enjoy a glass of wine after dinner from time to time, but I’m also starting to get into cocktails! They’re a little more special, so I feel excited about drinking them and I’m more aware of the flavors. I don’t make anything super fancy, but it’s fun to have a couple ingredients on hand to make a boulevardier or something equally simple as a way to relax in the evening.
7. I put my phone in a different room when I’m working.
Anyone else get distracted by your phone when you’re trying to be all productive and stuff? All of a sudden that 60-minute window turned into 45-minutes because instagram ate up my time! (And I didn’t even really enjoy it that much…) I’m working on keeping my phone out of sight and silent so I can be more intentional with my time. For instance, I’m typing this blog post and I have exactly 20 minutes until I have to teach a violin lesson. My phone is downstairs on my night stand, because I know if it was on my desk right next to me, I’d be checking it every 5 minutes and I wouldn’t get this blog post written!
What this does for me is increase the amount of available time for rest. I don’t actually feel that putting my phone in a different room is a way that I rest, but by keeping it away, I use my “work” hours more efficiently so that I can have “rest” or “play” hours and enjoy them, guilt-free, knowing that I’ve crossed everything off my to do list.
8. I breathe.
When I’m teaching a long stretch of violin lessons for more than 4 hours, I can start to feel pretty tired. I don’t have breaks built in, so I have to find a way to “rest” while I’m still working. Just by focusing on my breathing, I notice an immediate refreshment in my energy levels, almost like I took a mini shot of espresso! This is something you could do anywhere: at your desk, in the car, or while you’re sitting in a meeting.
9. I DON’T check my phone right when I wake up
This provides a massive shift in my day! (And in all honesty, I’m still working on this – I only do it about 50% of the time right now.) Sometimes I’ll use my email to wake me up in the morning, kind of like a little jolt of stress to wake up my brain. Instead, I’m trying to start my day with meditation/journaling, then shift to checking my email and social media channels. I got this idea from the book Unsubscribe, which you absolutely must read if you’re interested in learning how to get rid of email anxiety!
10. I talk to someone I love.
The world is not all about me. So simple, right? Why do I have trouble remembering this one? When I’m especially stressed or tired or overwhelmed, I find rest by talking to my husband or my mom or my sisters. I get to take a load of my chest, but I also remember how many other things are going on in the world besides this one tiny problem that’s making my shoulder creep up toward my ears. Talking to someone I love is one of the fastest ways for me to find rest.
Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you found something in this post that helps you!