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Self care for stress - serious thread

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by blackberryblossom, Oct 11, 2019.

  1. blackberryblossom

    blackberryblossom New commenter

    Any ideas for self care?
    Single, working 60 hour weeks.
    Eating badly, sleeping fitfully, headaches, tense shoulders, too much to do. No gym or pool nearby. Any low cost ideas are welcome.
  2. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    There are some great online fitness programmes for around £10/ month subscription. I went for walks as a 20/30 minute break from the school building. I would pick up healthy items from the supermarket and head back. Check out the headaches with GP. If tension linked, you might be offered medication with side effects to help you sleep. Sleep routine is good- bath, clean pjs, cool room, no devices / tv, fan/ window open for air circulation, weighted duvet.

    In my experience increasing exercise and improving diet helped all. Fitting in exercise supported fitting in m priorities across the day.

    All the best. I’ve been there.
  3. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Lead commenter

    Agree with @starlightexpress, exercise and just being out in the fresh air is good for well-being. Check on-line - are there any walking/rambling groups near you at the weekend? They're usually very low cost or even free. You'd meet new people too. If no luck, at least plan a different walk yourself each weekend.
  4. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

    I'm repeating the above really

    Online exercies videos are a great way to stay fit and relax at home, and there are some excellent free ones. See fitness blender for example or popsugar if you prefer dance-type routines.

    Fresh air whenever the weather is good. If you have a park nearby, perfect.

    Manage your workload* so that you can take a whole day free at the weekend and go out to do something. Museums and galleries, a day at the coast or in the country, whatever. *Can be easier said than done but if you can't take a day off at the weekend, you're doing to much and urgently need to prioritise.

    If eating healthily seems too time consuming when you're busy and stressed, try salad in a bag with every meal. Fruit for snacks.

    I love reading and when I have a book that I'm really gripped by, it's much easier to switch off for a while. If you use public transport to go to work, it's a great time to get stuck into a good book.

    All of these things can become good habits and even addictions. Good luck, I sympathise as have been there several times before.
    Curae and agathamorse like this.
  5. MelbaJ

    MelbaJ New commenter

    If yoga appeals - I really like 'Yoga with Adriene'. There are lots of free videos available on Youtube, with several relaxation, wind down or bedtime routines:

    She also has routines for beginners if you are new to yoga. Alternatively, it may be worth checking community centres/halls to see if there are any classes locally. I found yoga excellent for dealing with & releasing built up stress in the body.

    Magnesium oil spray can be really helpful for tense shoulders. Magnesium is also useful in times of stress.

    Tara Brach offers some great free online meditations, which I found amazing for sleep issues:


    There is usually a bell which sounds at the end of the meditations, but you can download a timer app and set it to time out just before the end of the meditation. Or there are a couple of meditations with no bell.

    Hope this helps.
  6. mollyhog

    mollyhog Occasional commenter

    All good ideas above. I would add: give yourself an hour at each end of the day that is 'you time' (even if it means waking up half an hour earlier). Do 20 mins of yoga (or, if you don't like yoga, have a 20 min walk), 10 mins shower, 30 mins with a cup of tea and news catch-up at start of day / good book at end of day. Do not let anything else intrude on this time. The routine may help you sleep better. Aim to drink 2 litres of water throughout the day. Prepare healthy breakfast (overnight oats are dead easy - I add frozen fruit which is nicely thawed by breakfast time) and lunch (salad / left-overs / healthy sandwich) before you go to bed. Make evening meal simple but healthy - stir fries / curry / bangers and mash - I always make enough to use left-overs for my lunch. I'm a great believer in routines (but maybe that's just me :))
  7. moggycat

    moggycat New commenter

    I never ran in my life but I'm in week 7 of the NHS 0-5k run and I'm really enjoying it. A good distraction. You can download the app.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Try to eat well which is hard to do if you are short of time. Try to use Sunday to prepare for the week ahead. Plan your meals and use a slow cooker. Roast chicken is good advyou can use left overs foe a quick meal. You can fix lentil stew in a slow cooker. Take a lunch and snacks to work. You have to dpend time making/packing it but you need to eat good food during the day.

    Try to eliminate all unnecessary tasks. Have a good look through your to do list and see where you can make time savings so you can aim for one complete day off on the weekends.

    Go to bed at a reasonable time and drink golden milk before bed as that will help you sleep. Recipes are online.

    Youtube is great for exercise videos. I watch Jessica Smith or Gina B.

    Bottom line. You must eat and rest or you will burn out.

    Vitamin B Complex slow release is also good but you must ensure you eat well too. Also drink more water.
    Curae, peakster and phlogiston like this.
  9. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Good ideas above.
    A walk round the block every evening.
    I found membership of a choir good for avoiding always working. If you don't sing, a craft group, book club, jogging club or whatever.
    Take time out in a local cafe for Saturday breakfast, morning coffee or whatever. See who you meet. Even if nobody you know comes in, enjoy the chill time not working.
    Grow some plants.
    Take a different route to work some days.
    Get stroppy about needless toil.
  10. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    Gardening, if you have a garden. The sort that gets your hands in the dirt. There are microbes in soil that boost seratonin levels, and it's my go to place even in winter.

    But, it's important you find something you enjoy, no way would a run do anything for me, but a garden, a meditate and a choir does it all. Exercise is important and can be done at home. Just a simple walk can help.

    Try a few different things to see what gives you a buzz, then keep doing it.
  11. smurphy6

    smurphy6 Senior commenter

    Please give serious thought to my following advice, it could make a great deal of difference to your life. Get a cat as you can’t get a dog. A pet makes all the difference. My dog makes all the difference in a stressful week, I am in the position of having someone at home with him while I am at work so can have a dog. A small cat will give you a living thing to focus on, chat to, look after. I would advise an older rescue cat rather than a kitten as they require more time. Ask at the rescue centre for a cat with a history of having a previous home where the owners worked so it will be used to having a working owner.

    Best regards to you from me as you look for ways to become happier - I fully get where you are coming from.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
    blackberryblossom and Curae like this.
  12. Lazycat

    Lazycat Established commenter

    Walking has kept me sane over the last couple of incredibly stressful years. I first noticed the effect when I was visiting my husband in hospital. I had to walk from the train station to the hospital which is a 20 minute brisk, up hill walk. The faster I walked, the more out of breath I became the less stressed I felt. I know that, whatever the weather, getting out in the fresh air will make me feel better
    blackberryblossom and Curae like this.
  13. Eszett

    Eszett New commenter

    Compartmentalisation and routines. Try to start and end work at the same time each day. It won't reduce the overall workload of course, but at least you can gradually train yourself to switch off cued by, for example, the six o'clock news, instead of thinking about what other work tasks you should/could still be doing that night, if you weren't way too tired...
    phlogiston likes this.
  14. Curae

    Curae Lead commenter

    Just to wish OP the very best as all has been said. Responses like these prove that WPD is an ace place to be.
    The understanding and altruistic responses are outstanding
    For all of you
    blackberryblossom and pepper5 like this.
  15. matevans

    matevans New commenter

    Eating - being a vegan... packet noodles & chopped up vegetables, pre-packed stir-fry etc very quick & easy to cook & good at making you feel healthy. Buy a blender and make fruit smoothies with frozen fruit & cheap fruit juice.

    Relaxation - try and find a once a week activity that suits... mine was going to watch my local non-league football team (and now my aim is to have finished my work for the weekend by 2.00pm on Saturday when I need to get ready for footie). Just walking in the countryside really does help. My cats have helped me have perspective.

    Sleeping - no idea, I sleep badly.

    Stress - tough, (but at my worst in a previous career when I used to half hope for a minor car accident on my way to work) realised the worst that could ever happen was being fired & that would have been a relief. Suffice to say I never have been fired, and nearly all the anxiety was self-inflicted whilst others thought I was doing a good job / working too hard.

    Too Much To Do - its not unusual for me to do a 60 hr week on a now 0.8 contract, so am the wrong person to ask. Still don't feel as prepared as I would like. Tell people the hrs you work, especially when the next SLT initiative designed for that SLT individual to prove they are 'doing something' arrives. Work out what to ignore... Watch out for the word 'opportunity'.

    Single - I'm not, (long-term partner & 2 kids) but have seen nice people work so hard in their younger years that they have no time for people, dating etc.and the 'rest of life' just seems to drift by... Easy to say I know, but life is't a rehearsal.

    Summer - any money available for a month of backpacking... once you've paid to get there numerous countries will cost you less than you'd be spending sitting at home in the summer. You could spend a month in India, Nepal etc for around about £1000 including flight - can you spare £100 a month to save towards this? Just gives you something to look forward to throughout the dark days...
  16. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    The Calm App is great and as a teacher you can get it free. It has meditations called 'Managing Stress' and many others. Plus bedtime stories to help you calm.

    I also suffer headaches and they come and go dependent on the day - I am working on staying calm no matter what, which seems to be working but takes work to perfect. I have stopped rushing around, find time to take a deep breath and calm myself during the day. My health is more important.

    I do yoga most evenings for 10 minutes. There are yoga videos for headaches on youtube.

    Plus I have 90 minutes without devices before bed apart from using my Calm app(!) so have turned on my blue light filter.

    Good luck. Some great advice here.
    blackberryblossom likes this.
  17. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    Oh and read Dr Chatterjee Four Pillar Plan book-helped me a lot.
    blackberryblossom likes this.
  18. lardylady

    lardylady Star commenter

    I totally agree! I have been walking to and from work for a while now (3 miles each way) for 4 days a week and I feel so much calmer. In the morning,I feel refreshed after allowing my mind to wander for that 45 minutes and after work I can walk off the rage and stress! It's great arriving home, knowing that I have walked 6 miles that day and it really separates work from home. The lines seemed more blurred when I used to drive in every day.
  19. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Lead commenter

    blackberryblossom, if you are looking for a budget break in the school holidays, have a look at the National Trust website. Back in her post uni days, my daughter did quite a few breaks with them. They involve outdoor activities at a National Trust site - could be stone wall building, fence repairs, river clearing, tree planting - almost anything! Some are super-basic dormitory style accommodation but others are a step up from that and you have your own room. In the evenings, they all get together for campfires, quizzes, etc. Daughter always enjoyed them and is still in touch with some of the people she met.
  20. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    @SCAW12 how do you get the Calm app for free? I had a look but it says it’s £34.99 a year.
    pepper5 likes this.

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