What to include in your stress toolbox
Managing your stress levels is incredibly important. Chronic stress and burnout can have long term physical and mental side effects that can impact your quality of life. I’ve already discussed why you should have a stress toolbox. So today let’s go through what you should aim to include in yours.
Self Soothing Tools
Self soothing is exactly what it sounds like-tools designed to soothe ourselves. Think of the 5 senses. Sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and what might be soothing for you with each of these.
Different to soothing tools, calming tools are things that activate our parasympathetic nervous system (or relaxation response). They send the signal to the brain that things need to caaaaalm down now. Deep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and yoga are all great examples.
Us humans are social, community based creatures. We don’t thrive when isolated and alone (and the pandemic has taught us this so strongly). We need support systems to help manage the stressors of day to day life! Think of a wide range of supports to include in your toolbox: friends, family, community groups, work, hobbies, social media, professional supports etc.
Distraction and fun are essential for having a work/life balance. Plus, we get out of our heads and get that serotonin flowing! If you are struggling to think of fun things to have in your toolbox, here is a list of 360 ideas.
Rational Thinking Tools
Finally, rational thinking tools should definitely be part of anyones stress toolbox. When we feel overwhelmed and stressed, our brain stops thinking rationally and goes into flight/fight mode. We become limited in our ability to see reason, pull back on the situation and see a different perspective. So having tools under your belt to identify those unhelpful thinking styles and turn them around to be more balanced is a wonderful skill to have (I teach this to my membership ladies big time!).
I go through much more detail in this video: