That word could not be more overused or over-glorified these days, but it’s still a reality, if not an aspiration for many of us.
It seems as though every product, social media post, article and podcast, circles around how to manage a busy lifestyle. We're bombarded with tips and tricks to cram more into our days to achieve better health, productivity, success and happiness.
Rarely, do we consider the possibility of space between the never ending stack of activities. Srsly, it does exist, and it's more important than ever for managing your mental health.
According to the 2014-15 Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey, around one in eight females (13.0%) reported having an anxiety-related condition.
In addition, The 2014 State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia report, surveyed 1,041 employees and found one in five Australians (21%) had taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy. This statistic was more than twice as high (46%) among those who considered their workplace mentally unhealthy.
With stats as alarming as that, you don't need to add more to your day, instead you need to find the moments in between to breathe.
You have literally no space. Think about it...
You wake up and check your phone, throw on your active wear, plug your earphones in and blast your favourite playlist while you smash out your morning workout.
Your commute to work might involve listening to music, a podcast, or an audio book whilst your mind drifts to the tasks you need to complete before the weekend.
When you arrive at work you trawl through the influx of emails, read the news, check social media, and make a few phone calls as you rush to get your morning coffee.
Your day consists of meetings, answering more emails, eating lunch at your desk, heading straight to a gym class after work or out on the town to meet friends.
Finally, when you get home, you sedate yourself with a Netflix binge and shovel down dinner.
When you’re sufficiently wired enough it’s off to bed to read one page of a book and fall asleep so you can do it all over again. Sound familiar?
If you’re a working mum double everything i just said and add the school drop off, pick up, prepping packed lunches, getting kids ready for bed and every other obstacle in between.
In all of that, there’s no time to just be.
At Srsly Honey, we’re all about being realistic about finding your moments of calm. We’re not going to preach to you about how you need to work less and meditate more (it's a good tip though) or dedicate Sunday to six hours of self care and personal development, that in itself sounds like another item on the to do list. Instead, let’s work with what we’ve got.
For our career chicks, boss ladies and multi-tasking mums, you really don’t need another thing you ‘should’ be doing. So here’s some stress management hacks you can incorporate into your daily routine.
Use your morning coffee run as a moment to listen to what’s around you. Walk a little further than the cafe next door to the office, it doesn’t have to be 2 blocks away, but just a touch further to give you some breathing room.
Walk without earphones and try to count how many different sounds you can hear whilst breathing deeply. Don’t worry if your mind keeps wandering, that’s totally normal.
Put your phone away
Keep your phone in your bag and try not to look at it until you’re back from the coffee shop or, if that seems impossible, just don't look at it while you're walking or while you sit and wait for your coffee.
If an office coffee run isn't a part of your routine, squeeze in quiet time first thing in the morning. Put your phone in another room, wake up 10 minutes earlier and just breathe and listen to the sounds around you before getting ready for your day.
Silence your commute
If you’re driving to work, switch off the music or podcast you're listening to and drive in silence for 5 minutes or longer whilst focusing on your breathing (please DON'T close your eyes).
These practices are a great way to turn the morning rush into a mindful one so you don’t start your day in the usual distracted mode of panic.
Drop the Pace
I bet you had a mild anxiety attack reading that title because DEADLINES. Don’t worry, I’m not encouraging you to go full sloth around the office or your day to day tasks, but I am encouraging you to pick some moments in your day where you feel you can drop the pace.
Performing tasks and actions slowly is actually a great way to alleviate that feeling of a never ending rush.
For example, consciously walk slowly to your colleagues desk, leave 5 minutes earlier for work and walk at a slower pace from your car, the train etc.
Spend a moment thinking of all the tasks in your day where you can slow down your pace without compromising your efficiency and take full advantage of each of these moments.
Revamp your desk lunch
Lunch breaks seem to be a thing of the past, so if you’re not able to block out that one hour to yourself (even though you absolutely should maximise your day to do this, because breaks are SUPER important for stress management) then make your own sacred space, even if it is only for fifteen minutes.
I’ve had my fair share of desk lunches, and i got to the point where my digestion was so bad from the stress, that I started to make small changes to see if i could calm down a little more when eating even if I didn’t feel I had the time to step away.
I would turn off my email notifications for the time that I was eating, plug in my headphones, and listen to classical or meditation music, which surprisingly helped a lot.
Before you plough into your food, send your last ‘urgent’ email (I know, they’re all bloody urgent), plug your earphones in and shut yourself off from your surroundings while you eat.
Another method is to take your laptop with you and get out of the office, a change of atmosphere can have a really positive impact on your stress levels. Even though you may feel as though you need to work, removing yourself helps you feel like it’s in your preferred space on your own terms.
Carefully chew each bite instead of gulping it down, and remember to breathe in between bites.
Once you’ve finished eating, try this super quick reset:
Take five deep breaths; breathing in through your nose for three breaths and out through your mouth for three breaths each time.
It takes no time at all, no one will notice and it improves digestion whilst also calming you down.
If you're not feeling too flustered by your work load, continue to 10 deep breaths, then calmly resume your work day.
Enjoy your Evenings
If you’re working late and feel like just getting home and plonking on the couch and watching your favourite show, then you should do exactly that, stress management is also about doing things you enjoy rather than constantly beating yourself up about what you should be doing, just make sure you can strike a healthy balance to avoid too much over stimulating screen time in the evenings.
Creater a calmer state by going to bed just a touch earlier and doing a 2 minute or 5 minute guided meditation. Spotify has heaps of playlists, or you can sign up to an app like Headspace of the Smiling mind.
Meditation seems hard to get into, but like any good habit, start small and build it up. Just do 2 minutes each day until you’re ready to move up to 5 minutes and so on, it really doesn’t have to be perfect, the benefit is in stopping the rush and making time for quiet as opposed to 'doing it right.'
I hope these hacks help you find some calm amongst the chaos, and although many of these tips are catered to business owners and the corporate lifestyle, these can easily adapted to any career or daily activities as needed.
We love hearing your feedback, so feel free to get in contact with any questions, concerns or your very own tips and tricks for daily stress management.
Email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, take some time to chill honey x
This blog post was written by Srsly Honey's Founder, Chloe McCormack.
Having worked in the fast paced advertising industry for close to 10 years, Chloe is passionate about supporting ambitious, career driven women prioritise their mental health and become the most confident version of themselves. The Srsly Honey ritual is designed to be a simple, relaxing, recharge in a jar that encourages healthy, glowing skin and a calmer mind.