It won’t have passed anyone by that I’ve not posted much on here in a while. My job keeps me very busy (doesn’t everyone’s?!) but I noticed in the run up to Christmas that I was showing signs of chronic stress and/or burnout. We had a very slow and gentle Christmas break, two weeks of doing very little and being very gentle, and this gave me time to think and plan.
I realised that I hadn’t taken much care of myself in the run up to Christmas – not exercising, not thinking about eating properly etc. So I planned for things to better after Christmas, making time for myself and trying to give myself some space from work. I saw an advert on Instagram for the Oxford Floatation Centre and it looked amazing. When I get stressed because of my workload, I hold the tension all over my body and as I don’t relax very well, I’m always looking for ways to make myself relax so thought I would give floating a go.
I am a floating convert. It was one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve ever had. Everything is really easy at the Oxford Floatation Centre. I’d paid beforehand so all I had to do was go through a few bits of information before heading to my pod. After a quick shower, I was in the pod. I’d chosen to have some wave sounds and left the gentle colour changing lights on. Despite me being a little claustrophobic, I pulled the pod lid shut. This is because the pod is huge and, with the lights and sounds, it feels spacious. I didn’t feel claustrophobic once, but completely at ease and relaxed – so relaxed, I kept nodding off. It wasn’t so long until I fell asleep and woke up, just at the end of my session. It was incredibly refreshing.
Once the float was over, I had a quick shower then headed over to the pamper zone, where I could dry my hair before heading to the relaxation zone. I didn’t hang out here long, but next time, I’m going to bring my book and get a herbal tea and spend some time here. It’s really comfortable and everything is designed to help you stay relaxed.
I’ve already booked my next float and I can’t wait. It’s nothing like anything else I’ve ever experienced and it’s something I would recommend to anyone who has stress in their lives.
Unfortunately, like most people living today, I have suffered from stress so I know first hand the damage long term stress can do to your body & mind. The important thing is to take steps to combat it before it takes hold. Some things are small & achievable in your day, other things might require a bit more time & money. Either way, they’re all worth it and help you take a break from the stresses and strains of day to day life.
Go for a walk. Head outside into the fresh air and take in the sights. If you go by yourself, it’ll give you some time to think things over and clear your head. If you go with a friend, you’ll be able to get a different perspective on things and get your mind off things too.
Get a massage. This is something I used to when I was going through a very stressful work situation. My shoulders would be agony so getting a back massage was sheer bliss. It wasn’t unusual for me to fall asleep or cry during the massage, which just shows the extent of my stress levels!
Have a bubble bath. This might sound obvious, but it works. And don’t just chuck in some in Radox. I always keep a stash of fancy bubble bombs and candles that I only use when I want to take a long bath and follow it up with some luxurious moisturiser, clean sheets & an early night.
Take a deep breath & have a good whinge. I love a good moan, it is soooo therapeutic, especially when you use plenty of swear words. Don’t hold back – let it all out.
Spend time with a pooch. Some very clever scientists have discovered that spending time with a canine companion can reduce stress levels. I couldn’t agree more. Not than I’ve noticed a drop in my stress levels since we got Poppy, but when I am stressed, all I have to do is look at her little face & I’m back off the ledge.
Eat something delicious. Whether it’s treating yourself to a nice gooey cake or getting a cheeky takeaway, take your time over it, savour every last bite and enjoy it.
Meditate or something. I’m not a massive fan of meditation, but do some yoga, pilates, running, kickboxing, anything that gets you to focus on the job at hand and forget the stresses and strains of the day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
Do something frivolous. When I was really stressed at my old job, my OH would plan lovely things for us to do at the weekend, like go to Petersham Nurseries. It was good to get out of the house and go somewhere lovely and do what normal people do! It’s a great distraction technique.
Switch off. Turn off your phone, power down your laptop & spend some time lazing, whether it’s with a good book, a stack of magazines or a box set, just veg. It might seem lazy, especially if you’ve got a to-do list as long as your arm, but you need time to recooperate from stressful situations so vegging out is essential, especially if stress is impacting on your sleep.
Have a good cry. Believe it not, this helps. If I need a bit of encouragement, I’ll watch a bit of Grey’s Anatomy. It gets me every time, but boy do I feel better if I’m mega stressed.
Don’t let stress get on top of you. If it’s causing you trouble, like sleepless nights, a change in your appetite or worse, you wake up with palpations & anxiety (trust me, it’s as awful as it sounds) then go and talk to your GP. Don’t stay silent about how you’re feeling. Stress happens to everyone and there’s nothing wrong with needing a bit of help.