We all get those days when we have a task we just HAVE to get done.
We NEED to focus and we can’t deal with any distractions.
But… Every time we start the task, the phone rings, an email comes through or the kids are asking for something.
Life is busy.
It’s hectic, in fact.
Some of my one-to-one clients actually start their journey with me feeling totally overwhelmed, burnt out and with so much they feel they need to do. Such big overflowing to-do lists, that they feel totally unable to focus or find the motivation to do any of it at all.
I’m sure we can all relate to those feelings.
Juggling all those plates whilst still trying to shove some dinner down your throat and drop your kids off at swimming lessons at the same time. I get it.
Overwhelm and burnout are the products of stress. And stress is a killer. As well as ruining relationships, fast forwarding aging and weakening your heart, stress has also been linked to cancer, lung disease and liver failure.
It’s not realistic at all to sit and completely power through. What if you make yourself really poorly?
In my work, I talk a lot about how important it is to create a routine of self-care so you can be productive, finish the tasks you need to finish and you don’t end up completely stressed out and hating yourself or your life by the end of the week!
Google and Apple give their staff all that creative thinking time off for a reason you know!
So, how can you stop stress in its tracks? How can you get done the things you want to get done without burning out? How can you end your day feeling happy, content and still with enough energy to keep your eyes open long enough to read a chapter of your book in bed?
Well, let me share my favourite tip with you.
Spend 10 minutes with trees!
As an Ecotherapist and someone who uses nature as co-therapist in the work I do, I can highly recommend the therapeutic benefits of being around trees.
Taking time out is essential to allow our brain to recalibrate and our stress hormones to calm down. It allows us to pause and catch our breath, which actually means we can be MORE productive. You know how hard it is to power through. A break refreshes and revives you.
But… if you can take a break outdoors – even better.
In Japan, there is a huge movement to encourage city workers to spend more time in the outdoors. Shinrin Yoku, translated as forest bathing (literally spending time amongst trees) has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and dramatically reduce our stress hormone levels. You don’t even have to do anything! Just sit still, calm your mind and let the trees work their magic!
It gets better, research has also suggested that even having a view of nature can improve wellbeing! So, if you can’t spend 10 minutes amongst the trees, look outside, notice nature all around you – the weeds growing through the cracks in the tarmac, the shades of grey in the rain clouds or the flicker of flames in your fire.
The key piece of advice to take home? Create a self-care habit in your day. I always say: self-care isn’t selfish it’s essential. I can’t stress that enough. Not only for our relationships and our wellbeing, but for our productivity and focus too! And, if you can be out in nature when you take your break – even better!
Just start with an easy one. Instead of powering through today like a wild woman, take just ONE 10-minute break.
As time goes on you’ll soon get in the habit of taking a 10-minute break, you can then introduce more and watch your productivity soar!
If you’d like more tips, techniques and advice for managing your wellbeing and living a vibrant life then come and join my free Facebook community Wellbeing and Wellies. In this private community, hundreds of women share their wellbeing stories and you’d be more than welcome to join us.
Hayley Gillard is an Ecotherapist and Wellness Consultant in Yorkshire, providing one-to-one coaching, weekend retreats and employee wellbeing packages to help people to connect with nature.
She is the founder of Yorkshire’s first barefoot walking club and has supported over 300 people for free through her work with social enterprise.