Evidence shows that being overwhelmingly busy can cause stress, and we all know it’s true. Even when you’re busy doing things you want to do, not having a moment to pause and let all your experiences sink in makes you tired, irritable, and less enthusiastic about all the things on your ‘To Do’ list.
When stress hormones rise we become more susceptible to low mood and anxiety, and to physical illness. Our immune function is compromised and life feels harder—you know that feeling when something mildly irritating happens during a stressful period of time, and you react as though someone’s tried to kidnap your dog?
Sometimes, it’s impossible not to be busy. You don’t have the option of stopping any or all of the things you’ve got going on, so you just have to keep going. While in an ideal world we’d all be able to make time to look after ourselves all the time, here are three ways to stay well during busy periods.
While we are, of course, all breathing all the time, conscious breathing can have a profound impact on your state of mind and the state of your nervous system.
Remember to check in with your breath a few times a day, and with a bit of practice, it’ll become a habit that allows you to bring yourself into the present moment and find a sense of steadiness. If you find it difficult to remember, then set a reminder on your phone!
Start by simply noticing the breath. Notice the depth of the breath, the length of it, and how it feels. And then slowly, gently, start to take deeper breaths, aiming to exhale for twice as long as you inhale each time. So, if you inhale for 2 seconds, exhale for 4. If you inhale for 3 seconds, exhale for 6, and so on.
Work with whatever length of breath feels deep, but not difficult. You’ll find that your capacity for deep breathing will increase over time.
Drinking plenty of water has a number of health benefits that all contribute to supporting a busy lifestyle and keeping your energy levels up.
When you’re rushing around or even sitting at your desk concentrating on a screen, you sweat, and the water levels in your muscles—including your brain—decrease. Without water, muscles get tired quickly. So topping up your fluids frequently will help you to maintain the energy you need to get everything done.
The easiest way to make sure you drink enough water is to have your DLYN Bottle close by at all times. Having premium water nearby means you’ll be more likely to drink—and you’ll be able to keep track of how much you’ve had to drink. Just three fills of the DYLN Bottle is more than your daily recommended 8 glasses of 8 ounces per day.
When you don’t have enough time to work out or stretch, your muscles can become stiff, and unhealthy habits can crop up in your posture. This often leads to neck, shoulder and back pain, particularly if you spend time each day working at a desk.
But you don’t have to go to an hour-long yoga class to release tension in your muscles (although we recommend that, too!).
Wherever you are, try these simple stretches to ease out kinks and prevent aches and pains:
- While sitting on a chair, press down evenly into your feet so that you’re steady and grounded, and simultaneously engage the low abdominal muscles by finding a ‘lifting up’ sensation below the belly button. Take five deep breaths, maintaining the grounding through the feet and the engagement in the core. Then relax completely, pause, and repeat three times. This will gently activate and strengthen the core to protect the lower back.
- Bring your fingertips to your shoulders with your elbows lifting up, and then draw big circles with your elbows to release tension in the shoulders and neck. Change direction after five deep breaths.
- Place the palms of your hands together, with the fingertips touching the wrist crease of the opposite hand. Press firmly to stretch the wrists.