Stress is inevitable, something close to impossible to avoid. It is difficult to prevent, however, what we do have control over are tracking our stress levels and how we manage them.

 

Monitoring our stress levels can be a huge lifesaver. It can help us to have more control over stressful situations and can be a helpful guide on knowing when it is time to step back, light that candle, and de-stress. 

 

Have you ever looked back at a week or month that had just gone by and only realized later that you were incredibly stressed out? It’s possible; that we sometimes don’t even pick up on our bodies telling us that something is wrong. There are a number of indicators such as: headaches, changes in heart rate, digestive problems, changes in appetite, and more. It’s definitely a skill that takes practice: feeling our bodies’ responses and listening to them. 

 

Besides our bodies being our own inner trackers, there are other ways we can monitor our stress levels: through technology! 

 

Some wearable technology you can invest in: 

Smartwatches

 

Other wearable technology

 

But if wearing these aren’t your kinda thing, here are some apps you can check out: 

Moodfit

Available on iOS & Google Play 

An app that allows users to customize goals, journal, follow guided meditations, and tracks sleep and nutrition. 

 

Stress Scan

Available on iOS & Google Play 

This app helps users measure stress levels by placing their thumb over the camera which Stress Scan then analyzes changes in your heart rate.

 

Personal Zen

Available on iOS & Google Play

Personal Zen’s features include musical therapy, journaling, breathing exercises, and stress relieving games.

It’s one of the most human things about us – to constantly focus on the flaws in ourselves and others. It’s in our nature to persistently try to jump into becoming the ideal person we wish ourselves to be. Although this can make us strive to grow and become the best versions of ourselves, other times we can end up holding ourselves to certain standards we have to reach, and standards we sometimes expect others to reach; whether they are close loved ones or even complete strangers we see on the internet. 

 

It’s important to know that constantly striving for perfection can become toxic; and holding certain high expectations towards others too, can become toxic. How about when we find ourselves criticizing strangers we see on social media? When we notice ourselves criticizing strangers we have no clue about, we may want to ask ourselves whether it’s because we have subconsciously detached ourselves from being empathetic or even occasionally, whether it’s because of our own insecurities. 

 

It can be hard to not compare ourselves to past versions or to expected versions of ourselves; as well as reminding ourselves that it isn’t our position to speak of our loved one’s lives as if we are the dictator of how they live theirs. As for strangers that we see on the internet, we could do some self-reflection and ask ourselves why we hold certain opinions towards them. Are they from our own deep rooted insecurities? Or if they live their life nothing like how we wish to live ours, are we critical perhaps because we actually just aren’t happy with ours? 

 

Replacing Criticism With Curiosity 

With all this talk of criticism, we may want to self-reflect and try practicing being more mindful so that when we catch these versions of ourselves present, we’ll know what to try doing instead.

 

When finding yourself being critical towards yourself:

 

When finding yourself being critical towards someone you don’t know:

 

When finding yourself being critical towards a loved one:

 

Whether it’s having an opinion on the way a stranger chooses to present themselves online, or the way a friend decides on how they want to live their life, we can definitely try being more empathetic and accepting by replacing criticism with curiosity instead. And as we find ourselves letting go and supporting how they wish to live, we may find ourselves being a lot kinder not only to them but to ourselves too.

With the year coming close to an end and the new year approaching, most of us are undoubtedly already planning for the new year ahead.

 

Naturally, with all the drastic changes in our daily lives – due to the pandemic and the lockdowns – we may have picked up certain habits we haven’t noticed and could still be carrying, even after things have started returning back to normal. If not habits stemmed from the lockdowns, we can all still make a list of unhealthy behaviours to finally leave behind in 2021, and replace them with healthier ones for our own personal journeys of growth in the new year ahead. 

 

Make a hot cup of tea and start reflecting! Reflect on your own possible unhealthy habits, and list them down. 

 

Here are some of ours:
  1. Not setting boundaries with work
  2. Becoming overly-dependent on food delivery
  3. Neglecting our health (physical & mental)
  4. Comparing ourselves to others 
  5. Not getting enough sleep

 

What to do instead: 

Actively set those work boundaries.

Whether it’s a boundary of saying “no” to your boss after working hours or creating barriers for the areas in your home where work is welcome, setting these kinds of boundaries can be a breath of fresh air. Become more aware of your own limitations and practice saying “no” to work tasks from your boss and /or colleagues; especially if your hands are already full. If you’re still WFH (working-from-home), try separating areas within your home where you don’t bring work into, for example: refraining from bringing your laptop into bed and leaving your bedroom as a space where only rest is allowed. Doing this can help you create a barrier for when and where you should be focusing on work, or focusing on your peace of mind. 

 

Get to know your kitchen.

The convenience whilst being in the comforts of your own home, we know, ordering in can be addicting. But let’s try to get rid of this habit and start cooking for ourselves more often. If you’re someone who already doesn’t enjoy cooking, look for simpler and easier recipes you can easily take fifteen minutes to prepare. You’d not only be tackling a new skill but would also be doing much more good for the environment. 

 

Put your health first.

Don’t only take one or two days off your week to focus on your physical and mental health. Try incorporating little acts of self-care and kindness every single day – drinking more water, eating more whole foods, practicing your nighttime self-care routine, or taking daily supplements. We can often end up neglecting our own health due to forgetting, so actively list these and other self-care acts into your daily to-do lists or calendars. Our future selves will thank us.

 

Focus on yourself. 

It can be hard to not compare yourself to other people and their achievements. Especially during the pandemic, we can often find ourselves feeling guilty seeing other people being more productive or in places and positions we wish ourselves were in. It’s perfectly normal, however, try not to hang around there for too long. Make a list of your own achievements and accomplishments, celebrate them, and try incorporating positive affirmations into your daily life to remind yourself of how wonderful you are. 

 

Prioritize beauty sleep.

Especially if you’re someone who runs off a good night of rest. Try maintaining a daily night routine of unwinding and relaxing – making a hot cup of chamomile tea, Brain-Dump journal, or watch your current favourite TV show; and give yourself extra time before bed to slowly doze off. Getting enough rest and good quality sleep will have you feeling more energized, healthier, and happier. 

 

We wish you luck on the lists and hope 2022 will be another successful year of self-growth and improvement for you!