I know! Meditation is the secret sauce to take your wellness up to the status of the elite gurus. It’s the “be all, end all” for the health of your entire mind-body-spirit. It’s the absolute must-do that is the only path to beating the infamous health-buster called “stress.”
Don't get me wrong, practicing meditation is an excellent approach to optimising your health and overall well-being. Meditation is great for relieving and dealing with stress, and all of the issues that come along with it. But it's not the only way to get there.
The whole purpose of meditating is to calm the mind and emotions and relax our physical body too. I know for some people, finding the time and learning how to meditate can lead to more stress and anxiety, especially if it feels “too hard” or like it’s “not working”.
Luckily for you, there are other ways to minimise stress that don’t involve meditating. So let’s talk about some of the other things to try if meditation is not exactly your thing.
Spending some time every day writing out your thoughts can help to relieve stress. You can use journaling to list the things you're grateful for, this is known as gratitude journaling. You can use it as a "brain dump" to get all your thoughts and ideas out of your head to clear your mind of worry and to-do lists that are cluttering it. You can use "ever since" journaling to describe your life after you reach your goals.
I talk more in-depth about the benefits of journaling here. If you're still not sure how to get started with a regular journaling practice, then I’d love to gift you my journaling guide so you can get started with this healthy habit.
I am not referring to the kind of reading that you do to learn something, or to advance your knowledge. For reading to be a relaxation technique, it needs to be completely for pleasure. Allow yourself time out to rest and unwind and get caught up in the story line of a good novel, escaping reality in another plot line for a while. Reading can be a great way to switch off at the end of day and help to relax you before sleep too.
Adult colouring books are really popular now and sitting down to colour in the pages where there are lots of detail and tiny areas to colour in is one of my favourite things to do. Sometimes, hours can go by where the focus has been purely on the pencils and lines and colours- I actually consider it a form of active meditation.
You can always opt for something simple, like kids colouring pages too. The idea is the same. By making the repeated movements and focusing on the art you’re creating, it can help to clear your mind.
4. Knitting or crocheting (or other crafts)
Knitting, crocheting or other yarn activities are a great way to de-stress; this is a skill that comes in all levels from beginner to advanced. You can choose a quick little rectangular scarf to make, or a detailed sweater. You can choose the pattern, size, and yarn. Once you get into the flow of these skills, they're great to do when you're feeling stressed.
Not only can they relax your mind to focus on your work, but you can end up with some great gifts for your friends and family who will love receiving a hand-made goodie made with such good intention and thought.
5. Gentle exercise
Gently moving your body is another great way to de-stress. Activities that are slower and less intensive are ideal when managing stress is the goal. Things like walking, yoga, stretching, or tai chi can all be great ways to relax your mind and improve your strength and balance at the same time.
6. Sleep in or take a nap
A common cause of increases in the dreaded stress hormone cortisol, is a lack of sleep. Too little sleep and too much stress go hand-in-hand. Start practicing an evening routine that can help you unwind and improve your sleep quality and make it a priority to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Aim to go to sleep at the same time every night- even on weekends so your body gets used to having s regular bedtime.
Some people swear by an afternoon nap as a way to revive themselves for the evening ahead. Do whatever works for you to get enough good quality sleep to help you break free from stress without having to meditate.
7. Pamper yourself
Maybe you love getting massages or mani/pedi's? Maybe you love a long bath or lighting candles? Perhaps you can add your favourite relaxing music to the mix for a pampering evening? Spending some time to pamper yourself regularly is great for your mind, body, and spirit. Practicing regular acts of self-care like this are essential for busy entrepreneurial women, but can sometimes be the most difficult for us to prioritise, especially if we aren’t used to gifting ourselves time for treats. I share 100 ways you can add more self-care into your life and slow things down a notch in this guide which you can download below for free.
8. Spend time in nature
You don’t have to head away on a big holiday to relax in nature. While a calm beautiful beach or mountain retreat may be amazing, you don’t have to go that far. Even spending time on the grass at your local park or playground, or walking through an area with lots of trees and green in your neighbourhood can do the trick. Grounding your feet on the earth can be really balancing and relaxing.
My family and I make it a ritual to go somewhere green for a few hours every Sunday so that we can escape the urban jungle and get back in tune with nature- this does wonders foe the nervous system and the way we can go more positively go about the week ahead.
9. Make time for people (and pets) you love
It's so important to spend time with family, friends, and pets whom you love. New research is coming out about the health issues related to loneliness. Reach out and plan to hang out with your besties, or even offer to take your neighbour's dog for a walk in the park. Quality time is another reason that my family likes to go for a drive together outside the city on Sunday- not only do we get the chance to commune with nature but we get to spend relaxing time together too.
10. Use essential oils
If you haven’t got onto the essential oils bandwagon yet, then it might now be time! These amazing drops of oils from nature have the power to calm and relax our nervous system through simply inhaling the aroma or applying a few drops to our skin. Some of the most popular oils for relaxation are lavender, sandalwood, ylang ylang, vetiver and orange, but there are hundreds of oils which can help to keep our emotions balanced and the stress levels down.
If you’re not sure where to start with using essential oils, you might find my free guide to using essential oils for balancing emotion really handy. You can download it for free below.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is reducing the amount of stress in our life. How you do it, be it meditation or otherwise, is not that important. What’s important is that you find what works for you and consistently focus on minimising stress in your day-to-day life.
Try journaling, reading, colouring, knitting/crocheting, gentle exercise, sleep, pampering yourself, spending time in nature, making time for people and pets you love, or use essential oils as an aid.