How are you holding up?  Needing some stress relief? I’m noticing the impact of the relentless, background stress on many.  Anxiety symptoms popping up, difficulty concentrating, heaps of procrastination (endless phone scrolling anyone?) and lots of “freezing” in the face of overwhelm.

My own energy levels have been sinking a little and it’s been harder to stay focused on my writing (long overdue blog here!).  These are early signs for me that my stress levels are on the rise.

There’s many self care strategies out there which work wonderfully.  And there’s no shortage of advice.  But if that sympathetic stress response is activated, and the stress hormones are pumping round your body, it can be really difficult to focus, to motivate, to do anything. And that’s especially so for anything new, complicated and even “good for you”.

A yoga sun salutation or a mindful app can seem way beyond reach. Aspirational slogans and positivity tips can make you feel worse – somehow failing when everyone else seems to be nailing it.

So what can you do, when you can’t do the stuff that you know will help?

Tree top and blue sky

Keep Things Super Simple (KISS)

  • Find small, simple ways to soothe

  • Choose ones that resonate with you – that make your heart, even oh so quietly, sing

  • And do them again and again, especially when you’re feeling strong, so you’ll be able to access them automatically when there’s a wobble

These will help to dial down the fight, flight and freeze response.  That instinctive part of your brain that you can’t reason with and that is telling your body that everything is a threat.

And they’ll lower stress levels and put your conscious mind back in charge.

I like to think of this as a mindful first aid kit – there to tackle the worst, get you stabilised and out of the other side.  It brings you back to a calmer, more conscious place.  A place where you can then implement those self care techniques to build longer term resilience.


When the stress response is highly activated, anything familiar feels safe (even actions that aren’t particularly “safe” – a big reason why addictions are so powerful).  Practice the techniques that take your fancy again and again.  Particularly when you’re feeling strong.  That way, you’ll be able to grasp them even when the more the logical part of your brain has zoned out.

Stress Relief with a Mindful First Aid Kit

Start developing your own first aid kit and remember KISS!  Here’s a few ideas…

  • Take long, slow deep breaths in and out – count for 4 in, hold, count for 4 out
  • Focus on the feeling of your feet on the ground and the chair beneath you
  • Tune into your senses – what can you see, hear, smell, taste and touch?

  • Stretch up and breathe in, crouch and breath out
  • Push your hands out in front of you, as if pushing something away
  • Walk on the spot
  • Give yourself a hug

My next blog series is all about using the 5 senses to soothe anxiety, reduce stress levels and build resilience.  Super simple techniques which you can put in your Mindful First Aid kit.

Check them out here:
Soothing Stress & Anxiety with The Five Senses – Sight
Stay Calm and Stress Free with The Five Senses – Hearing
Using our Sense of Smell to Stay Calm
Simple Tips to Reduce Stress and Anxiety The Senses – Taste
Soothe Your Nervous System by Tuning Into the 5 Senses: Touch

Or feel free to check out some of my other self care tips from a previous blog.