It's strange how obsessed with rejuvenation, regeneration and restyling we as a society have become. There's the post-Christmas cleanse come January, a pre-summer workout schedule to become beach-ready and a party season revamp as we progress through the final months of the year, and these cleansing phases come and go just like those last few pounds you want to lose. I'm as guilty as anyone of feeling the pressure, but what I want to consider today is if we're putting ourself through the right kind of cleansing.
What I mean by this is does that holiday regime matter so much if we have a toxic relationship that seems inescapable? Will a juicing detox make any difference if our job is making us stressed on a daily (if not hourly) basis? Rather than cleansing our bodies, perhaps we should also be taking a look at cleansing our lives.
For me, it's about getting rid of (cleansing if you will) the stress in my life. Stress is the silent assassin; the manifestation of emotions into physical symptoms is hard to twist your head around, but believe me it can be very real, and monumentally frustrating. It's a vicious cycle: the more you stress, the worse the symptoms become, the worse they become, the more you stress. Having a certain amount of stability in my life now, my own symptoms have reduced, but I'd like to get rid of the lingering after-thoughts of stress that cling on despite my best efforts.
Stress is not simple, but I'm told that dispersing it certainly can be, if you are resolved to succeed. I've heard of many instances where a complex concoction of actions and attitudes combine to rid the sufferer, but I've always found the most basic tips the most effective. Here's a few that have helped me cleanse along the way:
- Go outside every day. Now of course I know you'll probably do this anyway, but I mean actually appreciate being outside; don't just walk from your front door to the car and think you're done for the day. When I was at university I made myself go out for a long walk every day during exam season and it was the best thing I could have done.
- Drink a lot of water. This has never been an issue for me, but I promise it will make you feel invigorated and alive.
- Hug someone. Anyone. Hug your partner, your friend, a family member; a hug with anyone will make a horrific day a little better.
- Think: will this matter in 5 years? This little wonder of wisdom comes straight from my parents, and it really can help. If the answer is no, stop stressing immediately. If the answer is yes, write down how you might solve the issue. Which brings me to my final point...
- Write. Having studied English at university before moving into an English-based career makes me slightly biased, I acknowledge that, but trust me on this one: it works.
Do you have any stress-busting tips to share?
Eleanor is obsessed with stories. She writes for a number of online spaces including This is Your Kingdom, edits Creative Countryside, curates #aseasonalyear and teaches at Chalk House. In addition, she is currently studying for an MA in Creative Non-Fiction Writing. You'll find her roving the fields of the Lincolnshire Wolds or planning her next rural adventure.