5 more quick ways to calm down
Last week I shared five quick circuit-breakers to use when you are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed.
1. Stop and breathe
2. Ask yourself: What do I want to choose to do next?
3. Pet an animal
4. Remember a hilarious moment
5. Consider if multitasking is helping or hindering right now
Here are five more
Choose one or more from these to help you press pause on an impending freak out.
6. Stop looking at your To Do List
This is one of my favourite tricks if I am feeling under pressure and my To Do list is out of control. I get three post-it notes and identify the next three things I am going to choose to do. Just the next three, the rest will just have to wait. I write those priorities on three post-its on my desk. Then, I hide my To Do list from myself, as looking at those 29 things to do is just stressing me out. Three little post-it notes however — that’s totally manageable. Overwhelm is completely reduced as I am not looking at the mega-list, I am just putting my full focus and energy on the next three things and I work through those methodically and in a much quicker and more focused way than I would when they were lost in this sea of To Do’s. Once done, I find my list and do three more. Not looking at your To Do list is immensely relieving.
7. Do something different with your brain
If you are getting stressed, a good way to change it up is to do something different with your brain. If you have been looking at spreadsheets and numbers for hours, do something creative-brained, like a little light Pinterest for five minutes, just to allow your brain to disengage and then re-engage with renewed energy. If you have been in massive team meetings or a kindergarten for hours giving out people energy, find some peace and quiet to recharge solo, even if it’s just for three minutes.
8. Do something different with your body
If you have been sitting, stand up and walk round for no good reason other than to change up your energy and focus. Go walk round the block. Take the stairs instead of the lift just to get the blood circulating and the body processing those stress hormones more efficiently. Put on a great tune and dance it out. (Depends where you work, admittedly. I work with so many lawyers as clients I’d love to see them implementing this!) Then recommit to the task at hand feeling fresh — blood pumping round the body and your mood significantly raised.
9. Shift your perspective
When we are feeling stressed and overwhelmed our focus gets very narrow and “me” focused. One way to completely shift out of overwhelm is to open that perspective up to someone else’s life. I post a heap of inspirational stories on my Facebook page as I feel the news can be full of so much doom and gloom, that it’s important we celebrate the stories of humans behaving with amazing courage, grace, strength or integrity. Take a few minutes to watch my inspirational video of the day and then feel yourself recommit to whatever it was that was stressing you. I can guarantee there is no item on your To Do list that will feel as stressful and annoying once you have seen an incredible tetraplegic young man painting with his mouth with grace and dignity.
10. Accept and reflect
Sometimes life just feels stressful and overwhelming. You might well be trying to do too much and be overcommitted. It can be a good thing to recognise and be aware of — so you can take proactive steps to realigning your commitments going forward. We have the chance to think differently and choose differently in every moment. Tomorrow is a new day and we get to start fresh.