Stress Part 4: Solutions
This is the final article of my series on stress.
Over the past few blog posts, I’ve talked about different ways stress can affect your health. I think it’s about time we talk about some solutions!
Stress has become such an important health issue. There is now a fair amount of scientific research on ways to reduce it.
Science has found the following to be helpful when it comes to reducing stress:
– Spending time in nature
– Gratitude lists or other types of journaling
– Scheduling more face to face social time with people who uplift you
– Unplugging from technology
Most of you know about these things. The purpose of today’s article isn’t to go over these strategies – as essential as they are. Today I want to talk about an underused strategy for stress management. This especially goes out to all my fellow type-A people. The strategy I want to talk about is: doing nothing. That is, deliberately scheduling time in your life to be completely unproductive.
As humans, we’re wired to reach for success. Learning, growing, improving and evolving are central to being human. We apply this drive to every area of our lives. Hence when we do nothing it feels wrong. Guilt sets in. The script starts running in our heads saying that we’re lazy or we procrastinate too much. We tell ourselves we should be using this time to clear our to do list.
The reality is that the to do list will never get done. You have your whole life to fill up and empty that list over and over again. We’re harming ourselves when we say that we’ll relax once we’ve cleared our list.
This is why I recommend scheduling “nothing time”. Time when you can be completely unproductive. No working on side projects, no organizing your closet, no planning. I mean a completely unproductive period, guilt free. The point is to remind yourself that even if you slow down your world will still keep spinning. If you’re a type-A person, this may feel uncomfortable. But push through it.
Now, you may be saying “but I already do nothing when I Netflix binge” or “I already waste too much time doing nothing on social media”. Well then ask yourself, after doing those things do you feel rested and recharged? If your answer is yes than great you’ve learned how to build some healthy nothingness into your day. If you find that you don’t feel restored after doing those things than ask yourself what would be a more pleasurable way to spend your nothing time? Is it reading a fiction? Painting? Going out to the movies? A lot of the time we veg out and blast through a TV series just to do something. For some this is restful, for others it doesn’t do much for them. It’s all individual.
You need to find out for yourself how to maximize your nothing time to make it as enjoyable and restorative as possible. Make a list of activities that would fit the bill and schedule them into your day. You also need to figure out for yourself how much time you can allocate to these periods of rest. Whatever you do – don’t let stress management sit on the back-burner and don’t wait to start implementing some strategies.
There are many natural herbs, nutrients and acupuncture protocols that can help your body wind down and chill out when it’s stubbornly stuck in overdrive. If you’re feeling like you need help in this area book an appointment or free 15-minute consult at HLHC!
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected]