There is no doubt about it: we are living through a time of great change. It is hard to see what the future holds politically, economically and socially – and all of this uncertainty is stressful. It can feel challenging but it can also be a source of opportunity.
So how do we remain open and positive in these circumstances? Incorporating recovery strategies into our busy days can make an enormous difference. It is our constant under-recovery that leads to chronic stress, which leads to fatigue and under-performance.
Very often we feel that we don’t have time because we are stressed, rather than the other way around – because we are stressed, we don’t have time.
If we want to be as effective as we know we can be, if we want to feel on top of our tasks, if we want to engage with the people in our lives in a meaningful way, we must support our wellbeing throughout the day. Here is how:
1. Get a sense of your internal weather. The acronym HALT is useful when you are feeling jaded. Ask yourself: am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired? Then listen to the answer and look after yourself appropriately.
2. Create more space. These days, we are constantly preoccupied by the world around us but have zoned right out of checking in with ourselves. Regular meditation practice – just 10-20 minutes a day – will help you to stay tuned in. But this small investment of time has to be carved out and prioritised – it doesn’t just happen.
3. Become aware of the impact of technology on your day-to-day life. It is so easy to find that we are more connected to those at the end of our gadgets than we are to ourselves or to the people around us.
4. Make time for other people. The more isolated we are, the more stressed we become.
5. Get some physical activity into your day. We are not designed to sit for hours, so make time for a walk during your lunch break, consider arranging walking meetings and think about walking, running or cycling instead of taking a bus, tube or the car to work – these small, everyday activities reap great rewards.