Disconnect -- This is what I decided to do last month when I received two Skype calls, 1 text message and 3 Snapchats at the same time; I was about to cry. I understood that I needed to relax and disconnect. But it is hard for me as I never stop. With my job and my blog, I rarely have free time. Add to this an attempt to develop social interactions, and you obtain a crazy agenda where there is no time to procrastinate. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but I became addicted to my To Do lists, and slowly realized that I was unable to take time for myself without feeling guilty (‘I didn’t do anything today, I lost time,…’).
During August, I had less work (job and blog), so it made me realize how good it is to slow down for a while. I then decided to organize my agenda differently and keep a moment for me to relax. The goal is to reduce stress and keep burnout away! I guess you would also like to have 50hours long days in order to complete all daily tasks. If you also feel stressed because of your lifestyle, here are my tips to slow down:
Notifications,… those short alarms that makes life harder. It was unbearable for me to see one of these small red circles on an app without checking it. These icons triggered in me some kind of urge, an immediate call that my brain had to process right away. Such a burden…
So I simply decided to turn off all of the notifications, except for text messages and incoming calls. No more social media can send me any push notification nor make a message appear on my screen. I only see the notifications when I open the app, and it’s way less stressful like this.
One more point: I changed my e-mail mailbox parameters (also on my computer), so it refreshes only once an hour. Before that, I had an alert appearing on my screen as soon as a mail was coming. Now, once an hour, the unread mails arrive in my box but don’t require my attention. I also changed the sound of the alert. This loud sound was synonymous of stress as it triggered an urge to act. Now, I only hear a discreet sound, and that’s all what I need!
Deactivate my notifications has been a major factor to decrease my level of stress. I instantly felt better. I totally recommend you to do so!
Accept the fact you can’t please everyone
Here is another tip following the previous point: if you don’t reply right after receiving a notification (call, mails, text messages, tweets,…), you are less available for others. It doesn’t look hard, but I had to accept that too. Because I decided to be less available online, I decided to do same in real life. I can’t do everything at the same time, be at two different places at the same time.
Indeed, it is hard to decline an invitation, but it is important to keep some time for yourself. I’m personally unable to please everyone. Meeting my family, my friends, fill my professional tasks, go to meeting linked to my blog… And I don’t even talk about my personal life with my boyfriend! I feel like I always disappoint someone. And so I always feel guilty! I’m not a wonder woman who can manage her family, work, friends, and stills have time to do some activities… So I decided to be more kind with myself, to not feel guilty anymore and accept the fact I can’t do everything. Because now I know, for my mental health, that I need to have me-time.
Take time for yourself
It is important to have some me-time, when you only take care of yourself! A relaxing bath, an afternoon watching Netflix, a morning spent shopping. I personally love to spend hours doing some skin care, then following make-up tutorials on Youtube. I also love to read books, or watch a nice TV show. I rarely have time to do all these small things, so I really try to make some room in my agenda in order to make these moments happen. Moreover, I learn to not feel guilty for ‘doing nothing of my day’. ‘Doing nothing’ is in fact acting for your well-being!
That’s a fact: when you eat well, you feel better in your body and your mind! When I do my best to change the way I eat and choose healthier products, I feel more relaxed and I have a better image of myself.
One thing works very well for me: running! I’m getting more confident, I let all my stress out, and it feels so good! However, I’m not a running queen. To the best, I run 10km in a week. But it’s already enough to feel better.
Have a relaxing activity
Some people do some Yoga, other will meditate. I tried something different last summer. I had the opportunity to… float in a sensory isolation box. If you read this article until here, it means that you understood I was interested in reducing my level of anxiety. So when I have been offered this opportunity, I immediately said ‘yes!’. I went, or rather ran, to a shop named ‘Les Bulles à Flotter’ (‘Floating Bubbles’) to test these weird boxes. Ran is the exact word, as I’m an highly anxious person, I didn’t succeed in getting totally relaxed in these bubbles, even when feeling out of the world.
Let me explain more in details: sensory isolation is done in a large ‘kind of’ box filled with skin-temperature water, and magnesium salt. It helps you to float without making any effort, without the need of any of our senses. The feeling is totally unbelievable! The goal is to spend some time in this box (or ‘bubble’), in the dark, isolated from any sound. Muscles which are not in action will just ease off, so it is easy to fully relax. Some people even sleep during the session! Don’t worry, you can’t drown (since there is salt in the water, you can’t even flip from a side to another), and if you don’t feel good you can go out anytime. I am a bit claustrophobic but I didn’t feel bad during the session. I rather loved this experience. It is like being in another world, and it brought me a lot of peace. And I have to say, I thought it was super cool to float like Eleven in Stranger Things [Netflix Show] ;).
I think I will book a new session. But next time, I will try to book an appointment on a day I have less things to do, so I won’t be endlessly thinking about my next appointment and so on. I know I will feel even better this way! What was weird to me; when I got out of the box, I didn’t jump on my phone to check all my notifications or e-mails. I turned my phone on only a few hours later. The next night, I slept very peacefully and deeply (which is quite rare for me). Being far from any technology for a while and being at peace for a moment allowed me to feel super good for the next days.
If I don’t sleep at least 8 hours per night, I’m in a bad mood and I get even more stressed. So whatever my plans are, I go to sleep early! I never fail to this rule. Otherwise, if I party late at night, I sleep longer in the morning or I take a nap during the day.
Do a magnesium cure
If you feel stressed, anxious,… Maybe your body lacks some magnesium! Doing a cure always help me to feel better. I feel more rested and relaxed. But be careful and plan your cure timing as it takes time to feel the good effects!
Be in the present
Without paying much attention, my boyfriend Christophe and I started to have a routine last summer. When I was back at home after work every day, we used to have a glass on the balcony, on some deck chairs with cocktails, and we talked about our day at work and all. What’s best is that we used to leave our phones inside the apartment, so our relaxing time could happen without being disturbed by any call or notification.
With days getting shorter, it is harder to have our relaxing bubble outside. It is more difficult to resist to check my phone when it’s in the same room or if I hear it vibrating in my bag. We need to find a ‘winter version’ of our relaxing moment. It helped me to feel the moment we are living now, stop and enjoy the moment, without thinking about time or whatever e-mail coming.
I hope all these tips will help you in your everyday life as they did for me! I was really on the edge of a burnout, so I really felt the need to calm down. As my friend Caro always says ‘and so, what will happen if you don’t reply to this tweet, huh?’. The best tip I would give you is maybe to learn to set your mind free!