This weekend I have had the joy of spending the majority of my time in bed. This is the weekend where London hit 27C. Great.

As I write this I am lying in bed, it’s 6:30am on Sunday morning and it’s already 27C in my flat. Sounds amazing? Well actually I’d give quite a lot for a fan right now but that’s besides the point.

When was the last time you would say you were stressed?

How did you know?

What does stress look and feel like for you?

I always thought I had a pretty good handle on stress but when my body broke out in shingles for the second time in four weeks on Tuesday I realised that perhaps I had been ignoring the symptoms.

Now, as regular readers will know, I do try to fit quite a lot in to my time; I have a full-time job as well as doing this and seeing hypnotherapy clients, so trying so see friends and get back out on the dating scene fell by the wayside a little bit, but I do try to take care of myself as well – you can see my 6min yoga routine here.

You want to know how having shingles again makes me feel? Fricking frustrated. Frustrated that I’m missing the gorgeous weather because all I want to do is sleep, angry at myself for succumbing to stress, worried about how I didn’t catch the signs when I’m supposed to be good at stress management etc etc

All that stuff above – doesn’t make me any more chilled (which I apparently need to be to get better, that and really strong antivirals which, coupled with the antihistamines I need to take so I can breath in my sauna (sorry, flat) with all the windows open, send me to sleep for approximately 20 out of the 24 hours in the day).

So, order of the day, how do I listen to my body about stress?

Well, each person is different and it took me getting shingles twice to listen properly but here’s what I’ve learned helps for me:

  1. Sleep when I need to sleep – I’ve talked to my Director about working from home and changing my hours for the next week or so so that I can sleep when I need to – if your body’s run down the only way for it to get better is have you burning as few calories as possible bouncing around so that it can use them to heal itself.
  2. Do stuff I enjoy & eat well – screw the budget, I have been eating so badly recently I decided I needed to just get good food and splurge on myself a little bit.
  3. Arrange to have a social life – this has been my biggest failing on my route to stressless living. Since Sambo and I broke up at Christmas, I threw myself in to work and didn’t really worry about not having many friends in London. The last two weeks I’ve made a concerted effort to meet more people (including boys) – more on that in another post. Without friends and someone to let off steam with, you end up bottling up your emotions or letting them fester. Sharing a bottle of wine and having a laugh really can make a massive difference.

All this is irrelevant of course if you don’t listen to your own body and what it’s trying to tell you (my downfall) so, why not get in the habit of asking yourself these questions daily:

  1. Where do I feel tension?
  2. Does anything hurt or feel uncomfortable?
  3. What am I doing to relax and unwind today?
  4. What works best for me?

I’m sure everyone has their own unique ways for tackling stress; it would be great if you wanted to share them with us in the comments!