Karen Meager and John McLachlan, co-founders of Monkey Puzzle Training, share their tips for keeping healthy
With Christmas looming, it’s with no surprise that many of us start to feel anxious as the pressure to ‘have a merry time’ mounts. Over two million people across the UK experience the ‘winter blues’, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. To beat it, Karen Meager and John McLachlan have put together an actionable guide to a stress-free holiday season.
1. Know the signs and symptoms
Ultimately, the key to reducing your stress is identifying the signs and symptoms. One of the most common indicators of stress and anxiety is the decreased ability to maintain a happy state. This can manifest with crying, low moods, and with increased expressions of anger and irritation. If you feel stressed, you may also struggle with maintaining solid relationships with romantic partner and/or friends, and your levels of motivation will be low, while your tendency for procrastination will be high.
2. Create a healthy, stress-free working environment
While your working environment may be largely out of your control, you should proactively take part in extra training to best develop your skills wherever you can. This will enable you to focus on something that will provide a sense of achievement and progress with your career.
3. Ensure you sleep well
Getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult when your brain is going over and over something, and as a result, you are likely become even more stressed because you are not sleeping. Waking up tired never sets you up for a productive, positive day, and thus a crucial step to reducing stress this winter is ensuring that you sleep well.
One step that works for many people is keeping a notebook by the side of your bed to write down any negative thoughts, and telling yourself you will revisit them in the morning. We also suggest creating a routine that avoids the things that stimulate your mind in the lead up to bedtime, such as exercise or checking your work emails. This helps you go to bed feeling relaxed.
4. Eat well
If you are experiencing a negative state of mind, a poor diet may have a further negative impact. You may think takeaways, chocolate and alcohol help you relax after a busy day, but in fact they do the complete opposite and can make you feel sluggish. Healthier alternatives can help relaxation, so try to eat a balanced diet with lots of whole foods, fruit, vegetables and lean protein.
5. Be proactive
Being productive and having a jam-packed schedule are two very different things. It is important to differentiate between being busy and doing tasks that take you forward with your mood and wellbeing. Slowing down to speed up is vital to clearing your mind, and make better choices.
Adopting all of these steps at once will prove too much and will send you straight back into your stressed state, however tackling each one head on overtime is an effective way to lead a more balanced and fulfilled lifestyle, with stronger relationships and a better work ethic.
Karen Meager and John McLachlan’s book Time Mastery: Banish Time Management Forever is out now.
About Meager and McLachlan
As the co-founders of Monkey Puzzle Training Meager and McLachlan take the latest scientific and academic thinking and apply it to everyday life. Both have successful business background and are qualified in psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and are NLP Master Trainers.
Meager and McLachlan aim to help people move beyond time management to become ‘Time Masters’, and enabling them to develop an approach to time that is efficient and fits in with their unique personality. Too often, people are controlled by other people’s priorities, so Meager and McLachlan aim to help people take back that control, by understanding how their own preferences, style and interests impact their use of time.
For more information visit www.monkeypuzzletraining.co.uk