Stress-busters & the art of being mindful

08:30 Leila Gunn 0 Comments

We are all well aquatinted with the feeling of stress. It seems to creep up on us, subsequently avalanching us under a mountain of panic and sleepless nights. I've been feeling pretty stressed as of late, which is weird considering it's the summer holidays I.e. the time to relax - typical. I think it's because I've been packing so much into my days lately and I can't help already thinking that there's so much to do/decide this year at school..... We haven't even started the year yet! I've been reading a lot of stuff about 'mindfulness' recently, becoming more aware of yourself and how you're feeling. So, I've written a post with a few ideas of how to stress-bust as inspired by Leo Babauta's 'Too much to do, not enough time' post over on

Firstly, think about what's causing you the most stress. Is it work, school, a project, family life? There's a variety of things which can make us fret, but there are two options here. Number 1, you can try to eradicate the source of your stress, just don't do it, delegate to others etc. Obviously if it's something like family stress, that's not an option, but it's all about minimizing the amount of time you spend around/doing the thing that causes you stress. The other option is to prioritise it. Look at what you have scheduled to do in your day. To quote Leo's post 'if there was only one thing you could do today, what would it be?' That's the thing you should focus on, as the likelihood is that because it's so important to you, it's likely to be causing you some stress. So, get it done, and that stress should then decrease or disappear. Then you can move onto the next task, but don't overlap tasks. This leaves us feeling like we're doing more than we can handle, when really it can be solved by good time management. 

Try not to fill your day -  I personally feel like I need to be busy, because its 'lazy' (and boring) to just sit around doing nothing. As humans, most of us like to feel like we're doing something productive, something worthwhile. So, by packing our days, we feel like we're 'getting things done' and lets be honest, crossing a completed task off of a list is incredibly satisfying. But it's probably better for us both mentally and physically to limit ourselves to maybe 2/3 tasks a day, leaving us some free time to do something spontaneous, or just chill. As I was told a lot during exam season, sometimes it's important to rest. Although you may feel like you're wasting precious time, it allows you to re-energise and as a result you should work more effectively.

Total concentration - We're all guilty of getting distracted sometimes. When we are working on a task, we rarely focus entirely on that task. There are always distractions, there are always social networking sites open in the Internet browser, music playing in the background. By having this constant distraction/buzz, we make our brains work overtime as we multi-task. Although we like to have these distractions to make the time we spend doing the task less boring, this is not always the most productive use of our time. The task takes longer, as we lose track of how long we spend on our distractions. I often don't feel anymore relaxed than I think I would've working flat out until I'd finished the task. Turn of the radio, close your browsers - total concentration is the key to feeling less stressed long-term.

Sleep! I'm somebody who needs their sleep, but I often don't get enough of it, leaving me feeling constantly tired, (I'm sure a lot of you can relate.) But it's so important in allowing us to wind-down after a busy day, process what we've learnt or done during the day and then re-energise ready for the next. 

And finally, (perhaps most importantly) have fun! Oldest line in the book right? But true nonetheless. We need to relax, interact with other humans, get outdoors etc. it's all about creating a work-life balance. When one begins to outweigh the other, that's when we begin to feel 'unfulfilled' which therefore causes us stress. 

Thankfully relaxing and having fun is  what I'll be doing this weekend, after a very busy week this week, and an even busier next. I'm lucky enough to be attending V Festival in Chelmsford this weekend, which means I hope to have a V special for you at the beginning of next week,

Til then,

(stay mindful!)