This blog is somewhat counterintuitive: I’ve been feeling stressed out the past couple of weeks because of how busy I’ve been…so it was obvious that I had to take time out of my day to write about it! Whenever I feel like I’m being pulled in a million different directions, I dive into my virtual tool box to find what I need to keep myself grounded. Most of us are in similar situations between work tasks, familial obligations, and everything else we have going on in our lives. There are countless ways to “reset” yourself, so here are just a couple of my favorites you can try the next time your life is topsy-turvy.
Put your technology down. This is somehow one of the hardest things for me to do! I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to check my phone as soon as I wake up, and throughout the day I’m constantly refreshing my email, social media, and news sites. Take some time during the day to put your phone down. The constant bombardment of stimuli from our technology has become increasingly overwhelming for many people. Dedicating an hour or more to not having your phone constantly distracting you is more impactful than you would think! If I’m spending time with others or trying to focus on an assignment, I, personally, turn my ringer on low and flip my phone upside down so I’m not constantly eyeing the screen. Speaking of screen time, did you also know that blue light from our technology disrupts natural circadian rhythm? Under your settings you can schedule a “night mode” which will switch your device to warmer hues so that your sleep cycle is not being disrupted. I have mine on from 7 pm until 7 am, and I try to stop checking my phone an hour before going to bed. Not all of us might be able to go without technology due to work or home life, but I will say that when I spend less time mindlessly scrolling through my phone, I feel better in the long run.
Take thirty seconds dedicated just to breathing. After you’ve given yourself a break from your phone, give yourself a couple moments that are free of tasks, worries, preoccupations, or invasive thoughts. You can even set a timer if you like! Close your eyes and focus on the sensation of your breath. Once you feel a bit calmer, you can open your eyes and continue to focus on what you were doing. I love doing this throughout my day because it doesn’t require any app or guidance and because it can be done almost anywhere at almost any time. When we become stressed from work, traffic, or other issues, our breathing starts to become shorter and more shallow. We might not even realize it’s happening as it’s an unconscious physiological response to stress. By bringing your awareness back to your breathing, you’re, in turn, introducing more oxygen to the body with deeper, fuller breaths. It’s not a new age, hippie technique; it’s a simple way to give yourself a moment to regroup.
Send a thought of gratitude out into the world. Every single one of us has something to be grateful for. The list of blessings and opportunities in my life could almost be endless! When I’m stressed and feel unbelievably overwhelmed, I almost immediately feel better when I remind myself of all the things in my life I am grateful for. This small but powerful reminder suddenly puts everything in perspective, and my worries start to seem less important or less impossible. I find it especially helpful to find the silver lining of my stresses. For example, if I’m anxious about work, I remind myself how grateful I am of the business opportunities I’ve experienced that others haven’t. If I’m stressing about finances, I take a moment to appreciate having a roof over my head and clean water to drink. When I’m feeling down and out, I remind myself of the many amazing people in my life who love and support me. Bonus points if I call or write one of those people expressing my gratitude for their presence in my life! There will always be things that stress us out; pairing those issues with gratitude brings balance to our perspective.
If you’ve been feeling all over the place recently, I hope this topic has been helpful for you! These were just three quick tools I use when I’m in need of some centering, and I’d love to hear what you do to ground yourself when you’re feeling like you’re insanely busy. You know you can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time!