In my last blog I spoke about sleep hygiene and the importance of creating a good night time routine to help achieve a restful and refreshing night’s sleep.
As I mentioned in that blog and one of my key factors to creating a healthy lifestyle is to manage our stress levels. Yet it can be difficult when worry is taking over your sleep.
Recently I read that some psychotherapists refer to us having a stress bucket, which if managed correctly is emptied every night when we sleep.
I think this is a brilliant analogy to consider when looking at managing our stress. Let me explain.
Imagine part of your brain is a bucket. When something causes stress, frustrates you, makes you angry or requires a lot of attention and energy, the bucket starts to fill. As well as the big stuff, everyday things take up room in the bucket such as home improvements (don’t get me started), a work deadline, traffic when you are late already, learning a new skill (!!), even trying to lose weight. The list can go on and on.
The trouble is when that bucket gets really full it can cause you to overreact to the simplest of stressors which may perhaps not normally bother you. Plus if you are not getting a good night’s sleep the bucket is not getting emptied fully so you are perhaps starting the day with a bucket still half full from the day before.
When our buckets are full we could perhaps presume that by turning to comfort food or a glass or 2 of wine is the best way to de stress. In fact if we are not careful it can have the opposite effect and just add more content to the bucket!
We can help ourselves and ensure that we put into place activities that help us to manage our buckets effectively. The main thing is getting enough sleep (see my previous blog) but also exercise, spending quality time with friends and family, reading, meditation and in fact being organised (planning) can really help too.
I am not a psychotherapist but I know that by managing our nutrition, exercise, stress and sleep we can maintain a positive and healthy lifestyle. However please note if you are struggling with anxiety and stress then please do seek professional help.
Let’s keep emptying those buckets!