5 Techniques for Reducing Stress

 

There are a number of factors in our current economic climate meaning that stress appears to be on the rise. Increased workloads to cater for increased financial pressure are contributing to unrealistic expectations and added to this, social media can contribute to a sense of guilt and anxiety that you are missing out on your best life, making it seemingly impossible to find an off switch! Ultimately this means that finding a healthy balance between work, family & relationships can seem like an impossible task at times.

At Dandelion, our challenge has been starting up a new business from the ground up whilst maintaining the day job, bringing up our children (now three and with an advanced understanding of the term “NO!”) and fitting in day-to-day tasks such as keeping the house in-check and food in the fridge!

Here are 5 techniques that have enabled us to remain healthy, both mentally and physically during our journey so far;

1 – Exercise
There is much evidence to suggest that regular exercise can help to improve your mood and reduce depression and anxiety. Exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain. And, fortunately, embedding exercise into your daily routine is not as daunting as you may think. You can benefit from exercise no matter how intense your workout is. So this could be as simple as a 30 minute stroll around the block on your lunch break, or a short aerobic workout in the evening with the guidance of an app.

I myself exercise by walking my dog through the woods for 20 minutes every morning and evening. It’s very therapeutic to connect with the natural surroundings, though a young chocolate labradoodle is perhaps not the most relaxing of companions when in in an environment full of squirrels!!!

Another form of exercise I dedicate time to fitting into my weekly routine is yoga. We have been lucky to have worked with a number of yoga instructors for their various branding and web design needs and this has led us to immerse ourselves in the discipline… and we’re so glad that we did. Though yoga is a physical discipline, fundamentally the key is to develop a connection between body and mind. It enables you to improve your strength and flexibility whilst developing increased awareness of your consciousness.

There are many forms of yoga, which range in physical difficulty. If you are interested in trying yoga and initially want a lighter workout then I recommend you try Yin, consisting of lengthy poses mostly conducted when laying down comfortably. For more of a challenge you could try Vinyasa, consisting of poses connected by smooth flowing movement.

And if you don’t mind sweating (a lot!) give hot yoga a try. The same workouts but in 40 degree heat to enable your muscles to stretch further!!

 

2 – Listen to Podcasts

If you are currently experiencing stress or anxiety and finding it hard to find a healthy balance, you are not alone! We have found listening to podcasts from professional business coaches and successful entrepreneurs who have shared their journey particularly reassuring, understanding that it is guaranteed that you will face big decisions, need to take risks and will make mistakes time-and-time again whilst developing a business as you continue to grow and develop.

Podcasts we’ve listen to and recommend are as follows;

  • The Daily Do – For a quick fix listen to these short daily podcasts providing positive Inspiration, morning routine and mindset motivation with a personal perspective from Paddy Byrne.
  • How I Built This – The stories behind some of the world’s best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.
  • Hashtag Authentic –  A weekly podcast exploring the secrets to online success for dreamers, makers and creatives. With practical tips and inspiring stories, Sara Tasker of ‘Me & Orla’ (Instagram: @me_and_orla) guides you through the lessons and strategies for effective use of social media, most notably instagram, to grow your online audience.

 

3 – Meditate
Up until recently you we’re not allowed to mention the ‘M’ word to friends and family for fear of ridicule! However with many successful celebrities and respected figures now sharing how meditation is an essential tool for developing a positive mindset, which is key to success in all areas of your life, attitudes are changing. Meditation can be guided (following instructions) or individual (without instruction).

If you have never tried meditation before then I highly recommend you give the app ‘Headspace’ a try. The app has meditations to support you in developing a positive mindset to tackle all aspects of your life, including sleep, stress & anxiety, productivity & even parenting (which works a treat in getting my kid to bed at night!!!). You can try the basics course for free so go do download the app and see if it works for you!

4 – Use Essential Oils and Aromatherapy
Harvesting the power of plants, essential oils are extracted from a diverse range of seeds, roots, flowers and other parts of plants. They have been used for thousands of years, with the origins dating back to Ancient Egypt for their ability to aid mental clarity, support relaxation and sleep, relieve stress, immune support and ability to boost your mood. This can be achieved via aromatherapy massage, oral consumption or, as in our office, diffusion.

There are different ways to diffuse oils, we use an ultrasonic diffuser which agitates water with oil, producing a fine mist that is released into the air. These are easily available and there are many models that are very affordable. 

For diffuser recipes we recommend Pam Farley’s ‘Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes’.

Tip: Our favourite recipe is Ylang Ylang and Sweet Orange  or Lime and Spearmint! Try combining 5 drops of each within a diffuser or blend with Fractionated Coconut Oil for application your pulse points.

 

5 – Gratitude Journal

Regularly reflecting upon each moment for which you are thankful for and recognising your achievements, no matter how small will help you to experience more positive emotions, feel better, sleep better and help you to express more compassion, making you a better person. Keeping a gratitude journal is a good way of recording and reflecting upon everything positive in your life, helping you to stay on track in achieving your goals. This is something that Kelly does to stay positive, dedicating 10 minutes per day to updating her journal first thing when she wakes up each morning and spending 10 minutes reflecting upon her past entries before going to bed each evening.

Tip: Be sure to stick with this, it is said that it takes at 30 days to reprogram your brain with a new habit.

 

So there you have it, five things that we are doing to stay positive and relieve stress. If you are feeling overwhelmed give these five techniques a try. 

I hope this was helpful and would love to hear if, having read this post, you have tried any of these techniques and they have been supportive. Also, if you have a method of reducing stress that works for you, we’d love to hear it, do get in touch and let us know!

Photography by Dandelion Creative for Amy's Ashram yoga studio

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