How to control your stress levels: plan activities that re-energise you

In October I promised to write some posts on what I belief are ingredients to control our stress levels.  First of all I believe we need to learn to make more choices.  Almost as importantly,  we need to learn to embrace imperfectionism.

This time I want to talk about the importance of activities that re-energise you.  Stress is an imbalance in your energy system.  Situations that are happening where we feel out of control, intrusion against our values, powerless, fear, ... cause stress. At that moment our body will produce stress hormons.  And that is good. Stress can be good. The stress hormon helps us to focus and concentrate, we get a burst of energy and motivation to act.   Our sympathec nervous system triggers our fight, flight or freeze reflex that is deeply embedded in ourselves.

So stress is useful at one condition: we need to get the opportunity to get back at rest.  The parasympatic nervous system needs to get a chance to relax us again.  The stress hormon levels in our body must be able to get reduced again.  So at best we fix the causes that cause us stress but if that is impossible (eg disease of our loved ones,  ...) , than it is utterly important we find relaxation moments or at least activities that re-energise ourselves. Activities that trigger that parasympatic nervous system. 

If that doesn't happen, the continuous high cortisol level in your body will cause physical complaints, reduced resilience, concentration, reduced immunity  and at the end even the destruction of nerves in your brain so you'll not be able to think as logic anymore...A burn-out is a true physical condition that can be measured in your blood levels. is important to reduce cortisol and adrenaline again after its peaks. 

In the Spring there was a meme going around on the blogs where people listed the activities that they love doing but also how long it's been that they've done that. It was a very confronting exercise but I think it was a very useful exercise.  

First of all we must be aware of what activities makes us happy, what gives us energy.  For many people that is social contacts (family & friends), sports, nature, quiet me-time (reading books, meditation, ...).  
Secondly it is important that we free up time to do regularly such activities. We must make choices in our agenda and prioritise sufficient of these activities.  Even if that means that some other things remain untouched and we are a bit imperfect. 


Leen said…
Ik plan dit soort me-time of selfcare of hoe ge het ook wilt noemen :-) consequent in. Of het komt er niet van. En ik merk (na bv een uurtje zetelliggen met een boek) al direct een verschil. Als je eenmaal weet waarvan je 'batterijtjes opladen', moet je daar je prioriteiten leggen.

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