We have just come back from a few days holiday and guess what: as soon as I stepped into the ferry to France I fell ill. I had my first EVER migraine.

That means I had to stay in a dark room for the first 3 days of the holiday, and wearing sun glasses-when inside- for the rest of the week we were there. On top of this, I had  my 3yo dancing on my back the whole time. It was fun!

Jokes a part, the reason why I am sharing this #story is because deeply inside I know what caused my headache : I pushed myself a bit too much in the last few weeks. Not just juggling the relentless demands of #motherhood, but also running a coaching practice which requires constant focus, #creativity and a specific eye on #boundaries.

Hence, I pushed myself on the edge of the red zone.

For those who are not familiar with the red zone is that space where we feel overloaded, we are barely surviving and one more plate to juggle will push us just down the dangerous zone of burn-out.

If you know me, you also know that this is a live issue for me, hence all my work is focused on resilience and well-being. We teach what we need the most!

As this week is #stressawarenessweek I feel it’s very much my duty to share some of the strategies I am currently implementing for myself and am applying with my clients in order to boost resilience.

One of the questions I have found quite useful to ask myself is:

What are the VERY first signs of overload/stress that I notice?

Recognising stress symptoms is not a bad thing, in fact it can absolutely prevent us from jumping into surviving/burn-out zone. Preventing is better than treating, right?

Planning and preventing play major roles in developing resilience. And so do awareness and knowledge!

Here my 5 tips for this week:

TIP 1: know your symptoms. And don’t ignore them. Spend some time developing awareness of the signs that come up for you every time you get stressed.

Example, I start with: walking and talking fast(er), feeling like my head is about to explode, craving sugar, chest breathing, feeling irritable, thinking A LOT about the future. What are yours?

TIP 2: what patterns do you recognise on your behaviours and thoughts that can lead you to overstress? What do you tend to do and think?

These patterns are habits, beliefs or reactions which we fall into automatically as they have been ingrained into ourselves since childhood. They might be part of the way we were raised and the experience we had in life.

However, sometimes these are patterns that do not give us energy, yet they drain us.

For instance, I have the tendency to work too much and set impossible deadlines for myself. I consciously need to make an effort to stop, as ‘relaxation’ has never been something I was allowed to experience. The message I always perceived was ‘if you stop, you lose’. And since I used to be a competitive athlete, losing was not something I liked spending time contemplating.

So, know your patterns. What behaviours do you generally tend to adopt? What do you spend your time doing?

TIP 3: allocate time in your diary for activities (or non-activities) that recharge you. You’ve got to be strict here. You can’t insert ‘day off ‘ or ‘morning run’ or ‘yoga session’ and then allocate that time to a last-minute client or work commitment. That’s cheating.

Be strict to be flexible.

TIP 4: stop to reflect and to visualise your ideal future. Imagine how you feel, where you are, who you are with, what you are doing. Now, write down the steps you need to take in order to create that future.

Put in the diary the first the step that you are going to take in order to create that future.

For me, it’s about having a pleasant work-life balance, with no guilt, fulfilling work, quality time with family and lots of exercise.

My next step, has been cancelling some of the meetings/appointments that were not urgent this month (and the next). Using Brene Brown’s words : ‘Choose NO instead of resentment’ .

It’s not easy, I know. But it’s probably easier than we think.

TIP 5: L.E.T. G.O. Really, let go of things you cannot control.

Write down the things that are NOT in your power: no matter how much energy you might spend on these, they won’t change as a result of one of your actions. You cannot control them

Now, throw that piece of paper away, or cut it into pieces or do whatever signals to your brain that the list is GONE from your control.

How does it feel?

So, in honour of #stressawarenessweek, I am going to leave you with a thought that sometimes works like a mantra for me:

The way we use our time, creates our future. And time is the biggest gift we can give ourselves.

If you need help with developing self-awareness and a plan of action to boost your resilience levels, do drop me an email.

As usual, I look forward to your comments, replies, insights…

With Kokoro x

#kokoroconsultancy #resilience #resiliencecoaching #stressmanagement #timemanagement #values #health #selfawareness #wellbeing #wellness #future #acceptance #strategies #communication #motherhood #parenthood

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