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Wellness Stress Solutions

According to Dr Arien van der Merwe, Founder and Director of the Healthy Living Space, many people have excess stress that affects their health, happiness and other areas of their lives. While most of us could benefit from adding healthy habits to our lifestyle, it’s harder to begin a new habit than it seems, especially when you’re already overscheduled and overwhelmed by stress! The following steps can help you plan a wellness journey from your good intentions to the reality of maintaining a healthier, happier lifestyle with less stress.

Choose your wellness activities wisely

Dr van der Merwe recommends that the first step in creating a healthy new habit that will become a long-term wellness habit and new behaviour in your lifestyle, is to choose an activity that fits well with who you are, how you live and what you enjoy or love doing. Otherwise, you may find that you’re working against personality and lifestyle factors that are too ingrained to change, and your new healthy habit never quite seem to flourish. When choosing a new practice, keep in mind factors like your strengths, your schedule and lifestyle, and the complexity of the new habit, as well as your current stress level and time available, and find an activity that fits these.

She says that whether you’re looking for health benefits, less stress, more work-life balance, or simply more enjoyment and fun in life, there are many reasons why choosing one regular stress management activity and practising it every day, is worth your time investment. However, there’s a difference between wanting to take on some stress relief habits and actually doing and maintaining these habits on a regular basis. Sometimes maintaining a new healthy habit is harder than it seems. Fortunately, according to Dr van der Merwe, there are a few tricks that can make it easier to maintain a new healthy habit.

  • Choose something simple: Unless you’re really ready for a challenge, don’t take on something meant to relieve stress, that will actually end up causing you more stress as you attempt to manage it! For example, if certain types of yoga seem too difficult to take on right now, look for easier beginner yoga classes, or choose something else, like Nia technique dance, walking, or pilates – all of these are available at the Centre for Health & Wellbeing in Pretoria and can also be brought right into the workplace by our team of trained experts. The only way you’ll maintain an exercise and relaxation program, is if you choose something you enjoy.
  • Select a habit that complements your lifestyle: If you’re not a morning person and find yourself struggling to make it on time to the office, don’t choose a morning stress management tool; you’ll find it too difficult to maintain. Likewise, if you’re exhausted in the evening, perhaps a meditation session might help energise you and enable you to do your selected exercise routine later on, or even the next morning. There are regular free meditation sessions held at the Centre to help you learn the healthy habit of becoming quiet and still, centered within your own Being. Instead of forcing something that doesn’t fit with your circumstances, look at your lifestyle and see where you have the most space for something new.
  • Work with your strengths: If you’re a very verbal person, perhaps journaling or a chat group support session might work for you. If you have a creative imagination, guided imagery meditation, mandala art drawing or pottery might be what you’re looking for. Join in the regular creativity workshops held at the Centre. If you’re trying to lose weight, an exercise and relaxation stress reliever combination like yoga, would be great, whereas it might not be so useful for someone with certain physical limitations. Looking at your strengths and weaknesses, and finding a stress reliever that fits them, is one of the most important steps in choosing a new stress management practice.

Once you’ve carefully looked at yourself and your needs, choosing the right new healthy habit will be much easier. And once you’ve chosen a stress management practice that fits well with your lifestyle and that you enjoy, you’re much more likely to stick with your new healthy habit.

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