How to relieve stress by zooming out

We spend so much of our lives with our heads down cracking through to-do lists. The cultural system we operate within bizarrely celebrates ‘busy-ness’; we are encouraged to spin lots of plates and keep lots of balls up in the air. Self-care can even become part of the to-do list. Doing meditation, yoga, journaling can take a place on our daily actions list, and become another chore rather than an opportunity to take stock and activate our parasympathetic nervous systems.

When we stay in this perpetual state of busy we don’t give our bodies the opportunity to heal and grow, which is why eventually, when we stay in this forever ‘doing’ state, we burn out. Our bodies and our nerves give up.

So it’s obvious we need to allow ourselves regular time to rest, recuperate and self-care in a way that actually feels self-caring. This very point is why Bird exists. We are here to encourage you to take time out to heal.

It can be hard, however, to realise you’re in the perpetual cycle of doing. It becomes so normal to be constantly busy and stressed that we forget there can be another way. Ironically, (or maybe it’s why I created Bird in the first place) I experience this myself regularly.

What I’ve learned however, from working remotely in Portugal these past few weeks, is that getting a different perspective can work wonders. It A. helps us to realise we are operating in a certain way and B. helps us to recalibrate and make new decisions about how we go about our lives.

I’m not suggesting we all need to go to different parts of the world to get this kind of perspective. We can zoom out whilst we’re on our commute, we can zoom out for ten minutes in the evening before we go to sleep, we can zoom out whilst we walk from one meeting to another.

Zooming out helps us to take stock. It helps us to see just how overwhelmed and busy things are for us, and it helps us to make decisions about how we can move forward in a more self-loving and self-caring way.

As I sit here in a little coffee shop in the back streets of old town Lisbon I’m thinking of things I want to prioritise when I get back home. They include going to counselling, going to a lovely yoga class I found last year, eating a healthy breakfast, getting a diffuser, remembering how vast and expansive the world is and how if I ever feel low in energy or cathartic I can go somewhere else and re-energise.

Taking the time to zoom out, to look objectively at what we’ve got going on and where we can de-‘to-do’ can be one of the most healing and generous things we can do for ourselves.

With love, Hannah

Photo by Ali Abdul Rahman on Unsplash

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