My brain is one that has always operated at a million miles an hour. I’ve always had multiple projects on the go (why only undertake a simple task when you can juggle three things at once?) and frequently operate in a direction that’s on a one-way trip to burn-out, only to re-set and start on that troublesome road once again. Self employment for me is the embodiment of that burning desire to continually reach further and get more into my working day, but it’s also the downfall of a personality that doesn’t know when to quit. Having no set routine, no end to the office day and no such thing as a working week can be a blessing and a curse; yes it provides the flexibility for me to fill my days in the way that I wish to, but it also can cause a horrendous level of stress as there’s always ten more things on my ‘to do’ list that need to be actioned immediately.
Although I started 2017 on an incredibly positive note and promised to be easier on myself, it’s actually been one of the most stressful and eventful years that I can remember. They say everything happens at once, and in the last six months everything that could have happened has done: from family operations, court cases and cancer diagnoses, to working on some horrendous campaigns and being pulled from pillar to post as I attempt to juggle everything alone. (I have delegation issues.) All that topped off with a wedding to plan with six months notice and it’s no wonder I’m desperately in need of a week or two on the beach! I don’t mean this to be a sob story (I know I’m still bossing it and, for goodness sake, I managed to plan a wedding in the best part of six weeks) but a note to all of you reading that may be getting increasingly stressed and feeling alone: I can promise you you’re not.
According to the Health & Safety Executive*, there were nearly 500,000 work related stress, depression or anxiety cases in 2015/16; nearly half of these were new cases and approximately 11.7 million working days were lost as a result. In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost – so imagine how much more productive we would be, both individually and as a united front, if we could eliminate even a fraction of that. For me, the easiest way to keep stress under control is via frequent exercise; you don’t have to pump it hard in the gym for hours on end, but a light jog or a quick swim can help to clear the mind and put everything into perspective. Since I’ve been going to the gym a few times a week my stress levels have definitely decreased, and during heightened times it really helps to do nothing but count the number of repetitions on the leg press. Even if I take a trip down at 9.30pm at night, a sweaty session helps to release my tension and calm my mind – as well as releasing endorphins which in turn help to create some much needed positivity.
Something I also want to make more of a commitment to in the coming months is finding a daily moment of calm. Taking time out for a few minutes a day for meditation helps ease the emotional tension that hinders our everyday routines; mindfulness may seem slightly hocus pocus, but it really can make a positive difference and help us to let go of the stresses and worries that are bogging us down. Clearing our minds, focusing on our breathing and remembering to appreciate the little things is such a great way to start the day – and committing to only ten minutes every morning can make such a difference. I’ve dabbled in meditation and mindfulness before, but I know I’m going to be turning to it increasingly frequently as my wedding day gets closer and closer. Even more important though is having a supportive network of friends and colleagues that can listen to you moan, give you some great advice and generally just go with you to get cake; having an incredible network of women in my life that I know I can turn to when I need them eases my stress without having to even do anything.
What’s even more stressful about stress is that it can lead to everything from dull skin to breakouts, insomnia to cold sores. Although a face mask, tonne of water and an early night can be just what the doctor ordered, it’s also great to know when there’s a product that will help to eliminate even the smallest manifestation of those emotions. Fortunately lipivir understand that the appearance of a cold sore can be confidence draining and stressful in itself, and that we all want to be armed with the tools to ensure we feel our best. As a result they set about creating something to help: a lightweight gel that can be applied around the edge of lips daily to help prevent the appearance of cold sores. (The HSV1 virus that causes cold sores reactivates by sending signals between particles to ‘wake-up’ and start replicating so they can spread; lipivir has a special formulation that disrupts these signals so they don’t arrive. Its special formula is made of a biologically inactive substance which interferes with the signals, ‘jamming’ the viruses’ communications and preventing outbreaks.) As someone that suffers from cold sores, I can tell you that having the peace of mind that I’m going to be cold sore free even in the most stressful of situations is one less thing to worry about.
As modern women we’ve never been under so much pressure (from both ourselves and external forces) to achieve so much and do so with a smile on our faces. We’re all striving to manage a successful career, have a kick ass social life, have and bring up a family, look after our ageing generations and teach them how to use a computer, keeping our social media accounts looking like we live the life of a Kardashian, watching all of the Netflix, visiting as many exotic locations as we can tick off in the space of a year, having an on-trend haircut, getting the latest iPhone and all the time being oh-so-humble about everything we’ve managed to fit into a 24 hour period. It’s just too much. I know I always put so much pressure on myself, but it’s important to often take a step back to understand what’s making you stressed and how to remove that from your life.
If I could give myself, and you, some advice for managing these increasingly frequent stressful situations then it would be this…
1. Prioritise. What’s actually really important and what can wait? What can be delegated and what can be put on hold? Nobody can work 14 hour days continually and not fall apart.
2. Learn to say no. Whether that’s work, family or social commitments, it’s ok to turn things down or say you’re too busy (even when you’re just catching up on murder documentaries.)
3. Understand our health is just as important as everyone else’s. It’s all very well trying to look after everyone else and make sure they’re ok, but if you don’t look after yourself simultaneously then you’re all screwed.
4. Cut unhealthy connections out of your life. Whether that’s a toxic friendship, a client that keeps you awake at night or a family member that can’t take no for an answer, just put them on mute.
5. Take time for you. A hot bath, glass of wine and a good book can really put everything into perspective; just imagine what a day at the spa or a mini break could do!
Life should be for living, not worrying. Let’s not forget that.
To find out more about lipivir, visit their website: www.lipivir.com
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Read my previous post, How To Ensure Healthy Kissable Lips All Year Long, for some more top tips. Check out What Beauty Confidence Means To Me too!
This is a sponsored post on behalf of lipivir; all opinions and recommendations are my own.
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