Coping with life

When you wake up in the morning do you wish you could go back to sleep? Does getting through each day seem difficult and exhausting?

If so, you are not alone. You may be one of the many people who are juggling several roles at once and find little free time to recharge your batteries. Or maybe you are recovering from an illness or emotional upheaval and feel your energy is spent. The simplest tasks seem to require huge effort and you feel you just cannot keep up with the world.

Here are some tips to help you cope:-

1. Make a list of the events which have led to you feeling this way - lack of sleep, work pressures, family bereavement, relationship difficulties, ill health. Are there ways you can minimise the effects these stressors are having on your life? Can you pencil in more short rest periods during your day? Even 10 minutes to unwind? Have you a good friend in whom you can confide?

2. Stay calm. If you tend to fret and fume a lot of the time over trivial things try changing your perspective. You may be attaching too much importance to minor mishaps and blowing them out of proportion thus making your stress levels rocket. Aim to adopt a more relaxed approach and avoid self imposed deadlines which are often unnecessary.

3. Get more sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. If you find it hard to get to sleep get into the habit of winding down with a bath, relaxing music and a hot drink. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and comfortable and that it is neither too hot nor too cold.

4. Eat healthily. Choose fresh wholesome and organic foods, if possible, and ensure you have variety. Fruit, vegetables and nuts combined with carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, rice or fish provide a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet. Reduce your intake of caffeine, alcohol and sugary snacks. While they may give you a short term lift they can put stress on your body and tire you out a few hours later. Drink at least two litres of water a day too and stop smoking. Aim to vary your foods and experiment with new ones from time to time. This will result in more nutrients for the body and may boost your energy levels.

5. Allocate more time to everyday tasks. This is a good way to minimise stress. If the school run tends to take 30 minutes give yourself 40 just to be on the safe side. Apply the same thinking to getting to work, completing chores in the home or office, keeping appointments and doing home improvements.

6. Say “Yes” to offers of assistance. Learn to delegate and watch your stress levels fall and your free time increase considerably. Accepting help, whether it is with babysitting, shopping, household chores or decorating, will also make you feel more in control of your life. If you feel snowed under at work, maybe your boss or colleagues could do something to lighten your load.

7. Exercise regularly. It will boost your energy levels, improve your circulation as well as the condition of your heart, lungs and muscles. If you manage just 20 minutes three times a week you’ll notice the difference. Your energy levels will increase, you’ll feel more positive and sleep better.

8. Get organised. This is the secret to not feeling swamped and to getting more from your day. Aim to spread your energy productively and try not to face into too many demanding chores all at once. Focus on your priorities when you feel good. If you are an early morning person try to get through your most demanding tasks then. If you are a night bird consider leaving the most challenging chores until after dark when your energy and motivation levels are at their best. By adopting this strategy, it will always be the less important activities that get postponed. Decide to do different jobs on different days and be ready to chop and change task schedules at the last minute.

9. Be positive. Flooding your mind with negative and destructive thoughts will dampen your spirits and drag you down. If you keep telling yourself that you are tired/fed-up/bored and that the world is a miserable/cheerless place this may become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Guilt, worry and boredom will also affect your mood and quality of life.

10. Try not to worry too much. It can wreak havoc with your mind and energy levels. It does not matter whether your worries are real or perceived anxieties about yourself or others, they may have the same effect on your system. Constant worrying will sap your energy and resources so try to find ways to reduce it or cut it out altogether. Get to the root of it and try to solve any underlying problems that may be leading to it or feeding it.

11. Drink water. An essential nutrient it is best taken between meals or half an hour before meals or one hour after.

12. Learn to put yourself first, at least some of the time. Practice saying “No” and declining unwanted invitations and unreasonable demands. This is a skill that will take time to perfect so use even the most insignificant of occasions to put it into practice. It will free up a huge amount of time for you and give you back control of your life. It will also stop you feeling resentful a lot of the time.

13. Be prepared. Running out of essential supplies, be they grocery or stationery, can be a source of stress and annoyance. Consider stocking up on foodstuffs so if you have to work late or cannot get out to the shops your cupboards will not be bare. Ensure you have firewood, pens, paper, clean, pressed clothes, petrol and some spare cash too in case of an emergency.

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