Create some light at the end of your stress tunnel (and put as much support in place to help you get there)

I usually end my working day by looking ahead to the next day in my desk diary. When things are very busy, I use a different colour pen to number each item in order of priority. And when things are exceedingly busy, I estimate how much time each task will take, too.

Last night, after working several long days and nights and weekends, my conservative estimate showed today’s tasks as taking 15 hours (sob – another long working day. Luckily, I love my work but still, I know the importance of balance).

Normally, I’d do my best to postpone things but I know that this current spate of extreme busyness will come to an end (or at least calm down a little) after October 14th. I can manage it.

And in the meantime, I need to be extra vigilant about putting supports in place. For me, these include:

  • Getting enough sleep no matter what – sleep is when our whole systems repair and recharge. It’s why we look older and worn when tired and why it’s considered as dangerous to drive sleepy as to drive drunk
  • Making time for at least two swims a week (plus the 4 mile round trip cycle to the pool) – a wonderful way to burn off stress hormones
  • Daily yoga and meditation (not just a course requirement but sanity saving, too)
  • Eating well (last week’s food poisoning memories will ensure I stick to this one for the rest of my life, I think)
  • Enough time at least chatting with loved ones by phone to hang in there until I can put more balance into my life
  • Getting outside daily (even if it’s just a 10 minute walk to the river (that’s the River Brain, Witham, pictured at the top of my blog :)) and back) – and hopefully, there’ll be enough sunshine to boost mood and bone boosting vitamin d levels naturally

These are my basics. Think about yours and feel free to borrow or adapt what I’ve suggested.

It’s especially easy to feel that things are out of your control when your stresses are caused by external factors but research has found that taking even a little control over your working environment reduces the ill effects.

Remember, whenever you’re going through a stressful period, that there are things, no matter how little, to support you.

You can also boost your dopamine levels (a feel good neurotransmitter which is associated with feeling good and rewards) by giving yourself lots of small rewards throughout your stressful period and anticipating the much bigger reward (and following through) on completion.

Find out more at



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