Today is National Stress Awareness day so Emma and I thought it fitting to spend a little bit of time reflecting on the degree to which stress plays a role in our lives, as well as how we create the space to manage it.
We’re sisters, we have known each other our whole lives. We grew up in the same house with the same parents in the same town; and yet, one thing that has become increasingly clear as we’ve moved into adulthood and we build our business together is that we experience and deal with stress in our own ways. I think this is the case more broadly, what one person finds incredibly stressful, another may not. The same is true for the way that stress manifests itself.
We are all unique, but we can support each other. Despite my best efforts there are times where the stresses of work and motherhood and life just get to me and I rely on Emma to give me a dig and remind me to get my shit together. That goes both ways, we’re fortunate to have each other. I think if there is one thing that can make a huge difference when it comes to managing the negative effects of what can feel like overwhelming stress; it’s having people around that you are comfortable sharing with and that can recognise the signs in you, even when you can’t do so for yourself.
For me, I know that stress is getting the better of me when I start to find it difficult to focus. I’m exhausted and forgetful; which ironically makes it harder to deal with the things that are causing the stress in the first place—life right? To prevent myself from getting to that point (definitely my preference) I’ve found that meditation is key. I’m a big believer in the power of the mind and that thoughts becoming things. I use something called a passion planner. This helps me align my personal and professional goals, as well as helping me to stay organised, which in turn helps me to avoid stress. And then there’s taking time to chill— once a month a I get a baby free night where I can just be. Whether that’s listening to music, watching a film or going out with friends—just having that one night to myself really helps.
One of the other things I’ve realised as I’ve moved into my forties is how different the things that stressed me in my thirties are to what stresses me out now. As I look back, some of the things I used to find really difficult to deal with in the past don’t have the same effect on me now. So, onwards and upwards, it seems.
Over to Emma
There’s something ironic about rushing to find time to reflect and write about stress amidst the chaos of a busy day. Being honest, stress = 💩😂😂. In all seriousness though, too much stress affects my productivity and makes me feel like everything is on top of me— I can’t sleep and my mind races. Having the support of friends and my sister really helps though— even if it’s not directly talking about daily stressors and just chatting and laughing about nothing. Laughter is key! Running is another thing that helps me to clear my mind as is listening to music (if you fancy reading about my first 10k check out my blog.) I think it was Arianna Huffington who observed that we take better care of our smart phones than we do ourselves and she’s so right. If our mobile battery is low, we plug it in and recharge… and yet we often don’t show ourselves the same courtesy. Taking time for self care is incredibly important for managing stress even though the tendency can be to sacrifice doing things for ourselves in favour of “getting stuff done.” If I’m feeling overwhelmed with things I have to do (the too long to-do list) I find that writing everything out and planning when I’m going to get each thing done helps make some space for me to chill.
One of the things that I think is really important to keep in mind is that life’s pressures are something that we all deal with. It’s okay to feel stressed, but it’s also okay to ask for help when you need it and acknowledge the feelings. We’re definitely all better off when we support each other.
To read more about our thoughts on self care, check out our blog.
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