Exposure to too much of anything may make us become immune to it or numb to its effects. This can range from taking medication to wanting something so badly but losing interest in it once we get it. This indifference becomes particularly problematic when it comes to stress. It has become such a staple in our everyday lives, that we forget about the unfavorable impact it can have on our long-term physical, mental, and emotional health. In the book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle the author talks about how daily external and internal occurrences like work, money, time, self-criticism, expectations, and experiences of discrimination are all interpreted by our bodies as a potential threat.
This threat to our brains and bodies impacts many of the important functions and systems that keep us healthy like sleep and digestion. To counteract the stress that is coming at us daily it is important that we actively participate in practices that support us as we battle burnout.
Here are a few strategies to support you in curating calm.
Expression Exploration. Creative expression, in all its forms, is a wonderful way to battle burnout. Outlets to explore may include performing, literary, or visual arts, but they are not limited to these methods. You may express yourself in other nontraditional ways that work best for your personality and learning style. For example, my brother has always loved to work with his hands. When we were younger, he tinkered with electronics by taking them apart and putting them back together. He taught himself how to cut hair. And now he is an automotive mechanical extraordinaire.
How will you make space for creative expression as a stress-relief strategy?
Allow Affection. While physical touch may seem limited to romantic relationships, there are many other methods by which we can invite affection into our lives. Whether it’s your friend, your pet, or your family members, there are proven benefits of physical affection when it comes to reducing cortisol which is also known as the stress hormone. Now that we are somewhat free from the isolation of the pandemic, invite more hugs, hand holding, and other safe and loving touch into your routine to soothe your stress.
How might you find a mutually comfortable way to allow affection into your life?
Footloose and Fancy Free. When my best friend and I were younger, we used the phrase, “Footloose and Fancy Free” to describe our hopes for our social lives. At the time we didn’t realize how beneficial this was to our wellbeing. Social interaction and the laughter that often ensues are wonderful ways to heal from stress and burnout. Making time to frolic with friends is a worthwhile item to move up in priority on your to do list.
How will you prioritize positive social interaction as a strategy to combat stress?
This week I invite you to ponder a question that I’ve been contemplating lately. If all the things that you stress and worry about were taken care of, what would you do with your time? Don’t wait to do those things. Incorporate them into your schedule in small ways to curate calm today.
I am making space for creative expression.
I am allowing affection.
I am footloose and fancy free.