Busy work schedule, hectic days, phone calls, EMails… does it sounds like peaceful personal rituals to you? For some people, a day can pretty much equal hell. We are stressed by work, colleagues want something from us, we work in an open space, training is also on schedule but there is this deadline for the project X that always comes closer. Your bestfriend needs you to prepare her birthday party and you haven’t been grocery shopping for two weeks.
You know the drill.
Not really healthy, isn’t it? In the last couple of days I have been thinking a lot about our messy existence, about how we get overwhelmed with tensions and parasitic free electrons of the daily life. I started to change my habits and introduced personal rituals in my daily routine, because I believe that these very little me-times are an added value to my health. I’ll tell you why!
Stress affects your health..
Stress [stres] – “In a medical or biological context, stress is a physical, mental or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tensions. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure) – (quote from this article)
Many studies have showned that stress can affect your health in many ways. You can be confronted with two types of stress:
- The big event, like the deadline or the management of a big project, moving out from an appartment in another, etc.
- The perverse and gradual stress making his way to you slightly but surely.
Mostly, handling #1 is easier because its foreseen when you will come to an end with this state. It’s easier to take actions before the worst happen. In comparison, #2 is more, as I said, perverse. Because the moment you realize stress has become your companion, it’s already too late.
High stress leads to a high production of cortisol hormones, also known as the stress-hormone. Cortisol messes up with your different biological systems such as your skeleton, your cardiovascular system, your mental health, your immune system, and so on. No need to tell you how devastating that can be.
Depression, burn-out, heart disease, obesity, diabetes etc., can be increased, worsen or be the direct result of stress impact on your health.
Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally, it can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of. – Jay Winner
..but can be managed..
Good news is, you can assess your situation and act.
I, for example, have this annoying habit of letting stress overun me. Not the big event kind of type. I am more of a type two.
I know I have the capability to stress my body, my head, my feelings. It mostly affects my state, which can lead to difficulties to assess situations, take decisions or to think clearly.
The time I got burned out two years ago, I had a free ticket to watch how I was handling it.
When I experienced this state, I entered a bubble and became very strict in some targeted areas of my life – I remember being very strict with my nutrition and my training at that time.
As I could be rigourous in some field, I was also losing my discipline in others.
I could become energetic and lethargic at the same time.
So how did I managed to fight stress and burn out at that time? How do I avoid, today, to step into that state again?
..by establishing little personal rituals
Rituals [rit-u-al] – “A ceremony in which the actions and wording follow a prescribed form and order.” or “A set of actions that are conducted routinely in the same manner.” (The Free Dictionnary)
Some would just run in the opposite direction when they see the word routine.
But somehow, we all like and need a little routine sometimes.
With our busy existences, I think it’s really important to take time to just BE IN THE TIME.
To take time for ourselves, and enjoy the moment.
In my opinion, these moments are precious. It’s a way of finding your balance again.
Personal rituals help to lower the stress or to take you in another state for a given time.
These 10, 20 or 60 minutes are yours. Make the best out of it.
I have a morning ritual.
After my shower, I prepare my breakfast, go back to bed, turn music on, put bodycream and have breakfast in bed.
And I love every minutes of it. I decided to make every morning special by taking the time to do something I would do on weekends.
When my morning is spent like this, I assure you, that I come at work awaken, smililing and balanced. Especially on mondays.
To give you another example, I have a very good friend who takes time for his [many] personal rituals in the morning. Well, since he is a biohacker (owner of Flowgrade & Biotrakr – page only in German, but the blog is also in EN), I guess he also has awesome other moments during the day to just be chilled and lower the stress an entrepreneur can experience on a daily basis. Anyway. His morning routine is way longer than mine, but to give you some idea, he always starts the day with his 5-Minutes-Journal.
Don’t overthink too much. Your personal rituals do not need to be outlandish. Here some inspirations, but find what suits you the best.
- Meditate for 10 minutes
- Take time to breath deeply in a calm corner
- Working out in the morning or at lunch time
- Prepare a pomegranate (don’t laugh, this is one of my ritual)
- Preparing a matcha tea in the morning..
- ..or your golden milk before bed
- Close your eyes and listen
- Take a walk at lunch
- Writing randomly what comes into your mind for 30 minutes
And what about training?
Running or training put also a stress on your body. One would say a good stress other wouldn’t even name it.
Thing is, during an effort, you stress your body, your muscles and your skeleton.
But your body is your home. You only have one for your whole life.
So taking the time to care about him should be natural.
That being said, you could actually have a routine for before or after (or both) your run.
My favorite personal rituals are to warm up and do some drills before my session, using the foam roller after.
And my number one is… to take a warm bath and read the last running news in my Trail Magazine while eating some pomegranate (after the run obviously)
Sure, if you have a family or obligations and you are short on time, it’s not going to be easy finding me-moments.
But trying to establish even 10 minutes of a ritual after your run, or during a day will make you happy and more balanced.