You wish you could find it easier to unwind when you feel stressed out and anxious. Your body feels like a coiled spring. You feel stuck in your head, winding through the same mental loop over and over again. You try to unwind and relax, but you’re still tense and caught up in your thoughts.
Sometimes work and life get too much. It seems like everything’s coming at you at once. All your usual ways of dealing with stress don’t seem to be working. The more you feel stressed and anxious, the longer it takes to unwind. Yet, you don’t have the time.
Take a really deep breath.
When you feel stressed out and anxious, the key to unwinding is to be willing to let go of two things:
- Your experience of anxiety and stress.
- Your resistance to what is happening, which led to your anxiety and stress.
Feeling anxious and stressed can become our new normal. We justify it with thoughts like, “No wonder I’m stressed. Who wouldn’t be faced with someone like this, a job like this, a money situation like this, a mess like this, a problem like this….?”
Of course, there are some extremely stressful and anxiety-producing situations that can happen and we are living in uncertain and challenging times. It’s a good practice though, to take a look at what you are stressing over and ask yourself how you could see what is happening differently. A quick reframe can make all the difference. Ask yourself, “How can I see this situation differently?”
Resisting what is happening sounds more like, “If only this wasn’t happening. Why is this happening again? Why is this happening to me? How am I going to get out of this mess? What’s going to become of me? How can I stop this? I’m afraid. I feel so sad. How can I stop this pain?”
Sound familiar? Or, maybe your self talk while stressed and anxious sounds different but you still feel the resistance to what is happening that is causing the stress.
Now that you are focusing on what you are doing and saying inside your head, take the next step. Turn off the volume and let go of stress and anxiety. Once you do this, it will be easier to see things differently.
Try either of these two simple self care practices to unwind and de-stress
As soon as you are aware of what you are doing and saying to yourself, you can choose to focus on calming your mind and relaxing your nervous system.
A simple step that you can take is to lie down and rest.
Put one hand on your heart, the other on your belly.
Give yourself permission to let go of everything to simply be here now and rest for as long as you are lying down.
Be aware of your breathing. Maybe you are hardly breathing. As you rest and clear you mind, your body will start breathing naturally, with fuller breaths.This is wonderful, because it shows that your nervous system is coming back into balance. You will begin to feel more peaceful.
If activity feels more what you need, go for a walk.
I do appreciation walks around the block several times a day and suggest these to my clients. What is wonderful about taking an appreciation walk is that you open your heart as you appreciate the trees, the flowers (depending on the season), the blue sky, the clouds, while still getting some exercise and fresh air.
You will be able to think much more clearly and feel calmer, when you let go of the thoughts that cause you stress and practice some short and simple self care rituals.
Nicola Walker has been an inner freedom coach and hypnotherapist for over 20 years. She is creator of The Ease Experiment, working with women, who are birthing and evolving a business and creative projects, and find it’s harder and more overwhelming than they expected. With a focus on healing, mindset and joyful productivity, she supports her clients to activate ease and flow in their business each day. She is also a WomanSpeak circle leader and the author of the forthcoming memoir and self help book, Joy in the Middle of the Mess: An Evolutionary Adventure on the Quest for Success.
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