Finding my inner "zen"

quotes-933816_1920I’ve always been a “stresser”, one of those people that over-think everything and look at it from every angle before making the decision that – nine times out of ten – I instinctively wanted to in the first place.  I find it hard to switch off, to let go, and just enjoy the moment. I know I’m not alone out there, and we all – I think – have our stress triggers, things that set us off and send us down the rabbit hole into sleepless nights or over-eating or drinking etc. etc. etc.
For my husband, it’s lack of sleep.  Less than eight hours a night and he finds it hard to cope with the little things that crop up in the day.  For me, it’s work.  Or rather, too much work.  I’ve always had jobs that required me to work longer than my 37.5 hours, often late nights or weekends, and that hasn’t changed now I’ve started freelancing (though I did just say no to my first job this week to avoid the late nights so go me!).
For me, I know finding a work-life balance is key to less stress but, let’s be honest, for most of us out there, that work-life balance isn’t always possible.  Over the years, then, I’ve tried a lot of different things to help me cope with the stresses of working life and keep me sane.
I know it will always be something I need to be conscious of but I do feel, as I’ve gotten older, I have finally found some of those tools to help me stay calm, collected and just a little bit more “zen”.  I have to say, they aren’t that original but that’s probably why they work…
….a long walk, where I listen to the news and realise my troubles are so much more trivial than most peoples in most parts of the world.  Until the end of last year, I would often never move from my desk for the whole day.  Then, I set myself a challenge to get that little bit fitter and started fitting walks into my day.  Now, I honestly couldn’t live without my afternoon break from the computer and, even on the days I run (which doesn’t put me anywhere near a state of zen because it’s so hard) I still get out and walk.
….a bit of mindfulness, which I know is a bit of a buzz-phrase at the moment but does work, or at least it does for me.  Working for a mental health charity for the last few years, it was something we recommended to people we supported.  I figured it might be a good idea for me, then, to give it a go.  There are so many options for mindfulness out there, though, that it took me a while to figure out how to make it work for me, especially as I’m not much of a one for meditation.  My answer came with a free course from Future Learn – Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance.  There’s a lot in there about how to be mindful at work and, as that’s my main area of stress, it really helped me I have to say and I now find it second nature.
….a warm bath, one that isn’t too hot and isn’t too cold but just the right temperature to help send me off to sleep.  I can often spend an hour lounging, reading a book or listening to the radio (both distraction techniques that stop my mind wandering), topping the water up when I need it before heading straight to bed and, if I’m lucky, an uninterrupted nights sleep because my mind and body have switched off.  I’ll often use bath oils like lavender to help me off to the land of nod, though my favourite when I can afford it is Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil.  It’s not cheap at £49 a bottle but it is sooooooo good!
….a good book, which I already mentioned but is one of the best ways for me to switch off from the world.  I love to read and a day without picking up a book seems like a day wasted.  No matter how many hours I work and how tired I feel, I try to make sure I get a few chapters in before bed, making the move from thinking about reports to – in my case – who murdered who in some quaint English village.
And that’s it for me, a way to stay sane and stress(ish) free from morning till night.  Do you do any of these things – or how do you de-stress and stay sane?
Emma x

16 thoughts on “Finding my inner "zen"

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  1. Hello lovely…. sometimes for me the book can be stressful – if it adds to my perceived workload (in terms of having to review it and within deadlines!.
    The work thing is a big one for me and I’ve been stressing more about work of late than I’d like. I know though that some of the things I worry about are resolved quickly and the project I’m worrying most about is one that isn’t even really a ‘major’ one for me. I think it’s my lack of control over it that has me stressing the most but I also think it’s impacting on the rest of my life because my mind is staying busy and it means I have less headspace to do the stuff I enjoy – like writing or blogging.
    I need to get better at some of the strategies you suggest. Walking for example offers me time to think without distractions about the stuff on my mind.

    1. It is often the little things at work that stress me out too for exactly the same reasons. I just keep thinking I’m getting too old to be bothered by things – then spend the night tossing and turning. I get what you meant reviewing books but I am now cutting back on review books
      So that should help.

  2. I’m a big warm bath fan and try to take at least a short one every night. I’m a bit high strung and that winds me down better than just about everything else. I’ve also been having really good luck with yoga lately. There are so many channels on YouTube that has great videos. Yoga with Adriene is my favorite. I’ve been surprised that some of the breathing techniques have ended up being really calming.

    1. I’ve been trying yoga but I just don’t know if I have it in me to be that in the moment. I tried yoga with Adrienne and I did like her – she is very “normal” I thought.

  3. I’m trying so hard to let go of the things I can’t control. I tend to over think and then my tummy dips and before you know it I’m a complete stress head. Walking relaxes me & I’ve just started lap swimming again – that’s like active meditation. For when I’m working and I catch myself doing it I’ve downloaded the “calm” app and just look at the pictures and breathe. It does what it says it will. #TeamLovinLife

    1. There are some really good apps out there for keeping calm. I have had that stomach drop feeling soooooo many times and I would love to not have.

  4. I’m a fan of the bath. We also have a hot tub (outside) but I still prefer the indoor bath with candles, trashy mag and time alone where nobody can bother me #teamlovinlife
    PS That “not bothering me” never worked when the kids were young, but thankfully they no longer want to see their mum naked … so …yay!!!!! Time alone. #teamlovinlife

  5. I’m a massive stresser. I usually find I suddenly have a lot of things to do at once and no time to do it. I’m also like your husband and can’t cope if I’m sleep deprived, everything is too much if I haven’t had much sleep, and I haven’t had much sleep last night. Today is going to be loooooooooong!

    1. Yes, I have this habit of thinking I can do more than I can. I am lucky I need very little sleep – though my husband isn’t thrilled when I want to keep going!

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