Tuesday, 21 February 2012

How to de-stress in nine easy steps

Pulling my hair out with stress
Credit: immortalhumans.com 

OK, so this blog post has nothing to do with makeup, beauty or skincare.  So loyal followers of Desi Girl’s Blog may be forgiven for thinking that my blog has been hacked (the change in design will probably further this theory). 

However, this is an issue that probably affects most of us women at some point or other, so it’s totally worth a post.  Yes, I’m talking about stress.  
  
While I’m writing this post, I’m in a pleasant state of calm, but just a few days earlier, it was a different story.     
 
I was late for a class, so I drove like a mad woman, rushed to park my car, struggled to reverse close to the kerb, gave the evil eye to a poor woman for walking too slowly past my car while I was waiting to open my door, before bounding up the stairs to my class, only to realise that my class hadn’t even started!

Anyway, I spent the first half-hour of the class feeling guilty about the slow-walking woman and wondering why the hell I was so rushed when people were strolling into the class after me without a care in the world.         

The further irony was that the class in question was an Arabic class, which teaches the virtues of inner peace and patience – so it kind of defeated the purpose being a mad bitch en-route to this place of tranquillity.               
    
Anyway, I decided to assess why I’d been peeved, and it was simple, I was super-busy which in turn made me super-stressed.  I don’t know if there’s a technical term for this, but let’s just – for arguments sake – call it a superwoman complex.  I want to do everything and be all things to all people.          

Right before my class I was frantically tidying whilst also thinking about what to do for lunch.  I pride myself on picking everything up, to the point of burning myself out.

My busy-bee nature also extends to my work.  Working in PR, I’m expected to be on a constant adrenalin rush, and I’m always finding myself in situations to push me over the edge.    
 
I guess covering such a big geographical patch doesn’t help things either - I spent the first few months of my job in a head-spin.  Things have calmed down since, but I’m still multi-tasking myself into a split personality, while sending the odd frenetic tweet between managing journalists, clients, film crews and the odd royal. 

When things are especially busy, I find myself cancelling after-work activities like the gym or meeting friends because I just want to unwind.  When I do meet friends, I sometimes find myself discussing work.  When I go to yoga, I find myself clock-watching…              

More recently, it seems that being in a high-octane role means I also run out of patience with others when I’m let down.  I recently found myself grumbling with disbelief when a photo I’d requested hit my inbox - the subject was sat in front of a window, therefore nicely blacked out. 

Though now, thinking rationally, I can see that not everyone’s a photographer.  Plus, in the grand scheme of things – it doesn’t really matter.  But at the time I was so annoyed, but it wasn’t just about the photo, it was a crescendo of things stressing me out…                       
              
I’m the good daughter, the loyal friend, the constant learner, the keen cook, the fit-wannabe, the beauty blogger and the career woman.  Trying to be all these things is fine, but trying to be all of these things, all the time, is where my issue lies.      
      
So something’s gotta give…                  
     
Now, if you’re reading this and thinking I’m on some self-help rant (you’re right!) which is of no interest to you, you may want to flick onto my post about the scouse brow – it’s pretty funny. 

However, if you’re reading this and can relate, you might find the following tips useful…    

By the way, I totally robbed some of these tips off another website called Hub pages - http://kathrynvercillo.hubpages.com/hub/10-Ways-to-De-Stress-in-10-Minutes-or-Less

I also added some of my own and incorporated suggestions from my good friend Shaheen, who has been there, done that and got the tension headache to prove it.  Most of the tips are no-brainers, but I bet most of us don’t have time to implement them:
   
1)     Make time for yourself.  OK no-brainer.  But take some time away from those you love and listen to music or go for a drive by yourself.  That way, you’ll be better company and more appreciative when you’re among others.   
2)     Do a class… and give it your all.  Like I say, I go to yoga and clock-watch.  This totally defeats the purpose of the class.  So I’m going to try and stop this and immerse myself in the sun salutations and other hippie moves.  
3)     Do nothing.  Like I say I have ants in my pants and always feel the need to be busy or productive.  But it’s important to be happy in your own company and do very little.  While I’m not saying become a complete bum, spending a little time watching crap on TV can’t be a bad thing.    
4)     Take a brisk walk.  I’m not sure who ever said ‘any problem can be solved with a walk’ – but they’re totally on it!  How many of you take a proper lunch break at work?  I don’t, but I will now, complete with a walk to the shops!  Which takes me nicely onto my next point…
5)     Take at least ten minutes of your lunch hour just to eat.  I lunch at my desk and multitask.  I check my emails, tweet, take calls, read articles online - basically I’m rubbish at taking time out.  But my plan is to change this.    
6)     Write.  Even writing this post and admitting I’m a stress head has helped a lot.  So if you’re stressed, get your thoughts down.  (NB. You don’t have to publish them like I just did).  
7)     Unplug.  Technology has made many things easier.  But it’s also meant we’re never away from work, plus we’re becoming hermits.  So turn off your Blackberry or Iphone, step away from your laptop, log off FaceBook and Twitter.  All these things are great, but nothing beats a coffee with a friend in the real world, rather than the virtual one.      
8)     Do one thing at a time.  If you juggle too many balls at once, one’s going to fall.  And often when you’re doing everything, you’re mastering nothing.  So focus on one thing at a time - you’ll do a better job.   
9)     Don’t try and be superwoman.  As much as you try, you can’t be all things to all people.  Sometimes you’ll be late, sometimes you’ll do something wrong at work, sometimes you’ll need help.  It’s ok.  As someone once wisely said when I thought I balls-ed up at work, ‘at least nobody died’.  You should adopt this phrase when you muck up yourself (unless you’re a surgeon, of course).           

I’m going to follow these tips and hopefully be less of a stress head.  If you also have a super-woman complex, I hope this post helps.  If not, you’ll be glad to know my next post will be back to beauty.           

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