I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what recharges us, what keeps us well, recently. From personal experience and reading around the topic of stress, it’s clear that we all need to have or do ‘things that make us feel good’, and which are different from what we do most of the rest of the time.
Some people call these things coping mechanisms, some may say they are their form of escape, some people will do stuff and not give it a label (consciously or subconsciously). I certainly found a couple of years ago that during a stressful period in work, I also (for various reasons) wasn’t doing my 2-3 times a week short runs, was not doing much yoga outside of my teaching, hadn’t had a massage for ages, and I was not meditating. I’d never called any of these things my ‘coping mechanisms’, they were just things I did. It was through a conversation with someone else and then reading a book on the topic of stress that I put two and two together and got four.
Not only was I stressed in work and feeling unable to cope, I also wasn’t doing the things that helped me cope (kept me resilient). Resilience means the ability to return to balance or homeostasis, after a period of disturbance or stress, and applies to humans as well as ecosystems.
When you are resilient, you can cope with various stressful things. The body sends us warning signals that we need to do stuff to bring ourselves back into balance. This might be in the form of various pains (muscular, joint etc), increased inflammation in the body, things like IBS, headaches and migraines, disturbed sleep, low moods, depression, anxiety etc. And the complex systems in our body will make these things get worse until we take action.
But it doesn’t have to be like this, if we make sure we have daily, weekly and monthly things that recharge us, that keep us fairly balanced. These things have to be ones that work for you personally – what are your ‘coping mechanisms’? If you work out what you like doing and what makes you feel good, try to make sure you do it regularly. Stocking up in ‘stress free’ times is like keeping your battery well charged.
If you want to find out more about stress and some things you might find useful, and if you live near to Dumfries in Scotland, you might like to book on my Living with Less Stress workshop. If you’re further afield, try one of my free meditation tracks or download my free stress handout.
And how about putting something in your diary for this week that is your form of recharging?