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Winding Down When You’re Always Wound Up
You’ve got a business to run or a demanding career, and you are on the go all the time. You work long hours, put everything you have into your job, and you find there’s very little time left for anything else.
The good news is, your business is doing well, or you are climbing the promotional ladder at work very successfully. The bad news is that if you keep working at this pace and never getting a break, there will come the point when your work will start to suffer and that current run of success will slow down and maybe even start to reverse.
Why can’t I just keep going?
You can, for a while at least. The human body and mind are an amazing combination that is able to withstand extremes of stress and maltreatment and still keep functioning at a high level.
For a while, even years in some cases, you can keep up the pressure you’re putting on your body and brain without noticing too many side effects. But the day will come when even the toughest of bodies and the most resilient of minds will start to falter.
Then you’ll find you start getting niggling health problems, fatigue, more minor infections, headaches, and you could start to feel low, anxious, or find it harder to think clearly.
These are all signs that the stress you have been subjecting yourself to is finally taking its toll on your system, and if you don’t take any notice, these minor side effects will become major health issues, and you want to know is how to relieve stress.
But I can’t relax, I’m not that sort of person
Some of us seem to thrive on stress and be less affected by it. That’s not exactly the case, and appearances can be deceptive. You might look at someone else and believe that they must be under stress because of the amount of work and other responsibilities they have to cope with.
However, it’s not the appearance of stress that counts but the way an individual feels that matters.
Stress is damaging because of the fight or flight hormones that get released when you feel under stress, which although perfectly natural as a response to danger, becomes harmful when it is a chronic condition.
So, unless you feel stressed, you aren’t going to be releasing those hormones, and thus you won’t be affected by the chronic build-up of cortisol and adrenaline that leads to health problems.
Others of us feel that they dislike relaxing and don’t want to try because they want to be busy all the time.
Again, this is something of a misconception. Relaxation is required by all humans, so unless you’re not human, you need to relax.
The reason you say you can’t is that when you try you find it very hard, and ironically this indicates that your stress levels are so high you are constantly pumped with those pesky hormones, and that’s why you find it so hard to switch off.
What can I do if I can’t relax?
If you’re struggling to ease up, start by switching over rather than switching off. In other words, do something completely different that diverts your mind away from your normal thought processes and makes you think about something else.
Extreme type sports can be ideal for this because if you find it impossible to relax this sort of activity is very appealing.
You’re still fully occupied and concentrating, but because you’re focusing on something new, the parts of your brain that have been getting overloaded are able to take a break.
Any activity that makes you concentrate on something new will help, so if you don’t want to take up a new sport try gaming, sudoku, or any type of absorbing puzzle.
A couple of glasses of wine is all I need to relax in the evening
There’s no doubt that having a drink can relax you, and having the odd glass of wine or a couple of beers now and then isn’t too much of a problem.
The danger is that you’ll start to rely on the alcohol to get you through your day and if that happens your body will start to suffer from the effects of excess alcohol, making you feel worse and locking you into a vicious cycle.
Don’t slide into this kind of dependency, be honest with yourself and look for other ways to chill out in the evening.
Many people swear by the relaxing properties of cannabis, and it is well-known for the calming effect it has on users. If you live in a state that has decriminalized the use of cannabis, you might want to give it a try, in which case you can click here to find out more about the drug and how to obtain it.
Any illegal substances should be avoided, as they are highly addictive, expensive, and very harmful to your health and wellbeing. It’s not worth the fallout, so avoid banned narcotics.
Prescription drugs, particularly opioids, have become an increasing problem over recent years, so if you take any of these medications, don’t assume the extra one or two won’t do you any harm.
At prescribed doses, they will help you with your health problem, but taking more won’t do you any good and some of these drugs are again highly addictive.
Meditation isn’t for me
The word meditation can bring up associations of mystics and gurus, a world of spiritualism that is far removed from science. This stereotypical image is unfortunate because there is actually plenty of evidence that meditating can be very effective and make a significant contribution to wellbeing.
There are many different forms of meditation you can try, and if the word itself puts you off, look for mindfulness resources instead. You can try some easy ten-minute sessions in the privacy of your home, where you’ll be able to appreciate the benefits.
It’s not always easy to wind down when you are perpetually busy, but it’s such an important factor in maintaining your health that it isn’t something you can ignore. Try some of these suggestions and see if one or more of them work for you, and make relaxation a priority in your life.