Sometimes we get to the weekend and instead of relaxing we spend it stressing about work, school, family, friends, just about anything. We want our weekends to be fun, peaceful, relaxing, but when we stress about “stuff” we find Monday has rolled around again and the worrying has wasted the weekend. Time we could’ve spent relaxing. Time we could’ve spent being fully present with our families.
What if we could just let go of the stressors, at least for a couple of days? What if we could put the heavy stuff aside for a day or two and focus on the here and now? This doesn’t mean our stress is magically wiped away, it just means we are going to focus on the present day, and that present day is a Saturday or Sunday. *Please note, this post assumes you work Monday to Friday, but if you work weekends and have the same stress on your days off, by all means, take what you need from this post and apply to your life.*
There is a wonderful, easy, and simple exercise that I have used plenty of times. It won’t take your problems away, but it will allow you to become focused in the here and now and that is what we all want for our weekends off.
BE A TREE: Use your imagination to feel stable, calm and focused.
Mindfully ground yourself with inspiration from nature. Pretend your legs are the roots of a tree, reaching your arms up to be the branches. Sway from side to side as if you are blowing in the wind. Notice your legs don’t move, keeping you grounded. Imagine being a tree when the winds of life whip up. Be flexible, yet resilient, like a tree in a storm.
At first this might seem silly. You might feel self conscious, or wonder what this simple exercise can do to help reduce your stress and bring your thoughts back into the present moment.
Grounding yourself is always a wonderful way to bring your thoughts back to the present moment. This action alone can bring about calming thoughts and help you feel reconnected with the present. When you add the tree exercise to the grounding exercise you allow your thoughts to shift to the present moment, imagining yourself swaying in the wind just as tree does.
Trees are rooted in the earth, they are grounded. They are open to the elements all day, everyday. They take whatever weather system comes at them and they remain rooted and grounded, being flexible by swaying their branches. And so the idea here is to be more like a tree, swaying, being flexible, remaining calm and grounded and not being affected by everything that life throws our way.
This exercise is calming and soothing, and you will hopefully start to appreciate your life within the moment, rather than focusing on issues at work, or school, or even within the family life. This exercise is not intended to push your troubles away, the intent is to bring your focus to the here and now, allowing yourself to be present and shift your focus from stress to calm thoughts and thinking.
Once your thoughts are calm, you then have the opportunity to plan how you are going to tackle any problems you might be facing. You can plan a time and day for when you will tackle any issues, allowing your thoughts to be calm and not solely focused on those problems. Making a plan will help you feel more in control and allow you to enjoy the time you have free throughout the weekend.
Something I get asked about quite often is “can I fix my reputation?” Those who ask are adult women who have had negative comments and lies spread about them, thus ruining their reputation.
It isn’t just school yard gossip, you would think once people had left school they would be adult enough not to resort to such actions. But the advent of social media has given people a platform on which to spew their gossip and lies.
It’s alarming to think that adults would resort to such tactics to harm the reputation of someone whom they dislike, or just act maliciously to remain popular.
Often people get told just to ignore the rumours and lies and gossip that has been spread about them, after all, this is what we are always told to do from an early age.
Quite frankly, I think this is part of the problem. That old adage sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me is used from the formative years of our lives. We are being told to accept the bad behaviour of other people and just carry on as normal.
That never really works.
Once we reach adulthood we have a distorted sense of what is right and wrong when it comes to how we should treat other people, and how we should react – or not act. When we decide to take matters into our own hands and retaliate with some home truths about the gossip, we become the bully.
So is it any wonder people are seeking to repair their reputation?
I’ve talked to quite a few people about this and the jury is still out. There are those people who want more than anything to repair the damage to their reputation, and there are those people who shrug it all off. Either way is fine and neither way is better than the other.
I’ve found that a sullied reputation can often be based on gossip, lies, and misinformation. It isn’t necessarily always lies that ruin a person’s reputation either, quite often it is a lack of the correct information about the person or their circumstances that lead to gossiping and the ruin of their reputation.
It’s not always worth the time and effort to go around fixing your reputation, especially for strangers. They are unlikely to know much, or even care what is being shared about you.
But what about people you don’t know, but are connected to you through work, your personal life, the school where your children attend? Maybe it is worth fixing your image. Shying away from the problem isn’t going to make it go away, so proceeding down this route is probably the best option for you.
If you want to proceed with fixing your reputation then you should start a damage control campaign. But how do you go about this?
First and foremost you really need to assess the situation. You need to take stock of what is being said about you and look at why. If you have acted in the wrong make sure you apologise for your behaviour. Admitting you are wrong and owning up to your mistakes is a great action step, proving you are sincere in your efforts to rectify the situation.
If you have been acting in a negative way towards someone, or if you are acting in a harmful way then this needs to stop immediately. You need to be acting from a place of truth and in order to do so you must put all negative behaviour behind you and focus on acting in a positive way.
The next step is to ask for feedback from your family and trusted friends. Ask them if you have acted in the wrong, do they believe this was intentional, or do they know you made a mistake? Tell them what is happening, as upsetting as it might be to repeat any lies or half-truths about yourself, sharing them with someone you trust really helps determine if it is a case of misinformation about you, or indeed lies and gossip.
Start a DAMAGE CONTROL CAMPAIGN/REPUTATION REPAIR PLAN as soon as possible. Write down an actionable plan that you can work on to show you in the best possible light.
Own up to any mistakes and misunderstandings you have made. Sometimes what we don’t know or understand can lead to us being gossiped about, which isn’t really fair, but it happens nevertheless. If you’re in the wrong, own it.
Make amends for any mistakes, misunderstandings, or negative behaviours you have engaged in. This is quite a tough one. Sometimes people aren’t willing to give us a second chance, or they don’t believe that we really did act unintentionally. All you can do is stay positive, act positive, and keep on showing that you are not your mistakes.
It’s always worthwhile in engaging in positive behaviour. This can shed doubt on any untrue claims and lies someone is making about you. Act kindly. Be positive. Do good deeds. Actions like this show that you are sincere. But don’t give up if you don’t succeed at first. Some people will think that what you are doing is all an act and they will be waiting for you to make a mistake.
Don’t gossip or bad mouth people. This can be really tempting to do, especially when someone is letting rip about you. If needs be, take a break from social media. Change your social circle if the gossip is happening within it. Remember, everyone will be watching you, waiting for you to set a foot wrong, so let your best self shine through.
And finally, it is worthwhile to remember that sometimes a bad reputation is more about the person doing the damage than it is about you. It doesn’t stop the hurt though.
This has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been doing a couple of collaborations with some folks, and yep, you’ve guessed it, I’ve questioned my ability and my right to be there.
I’m as qualified as everyone else, but I can’t shake that feeling of being a fraud. Everyone is telling me that I am welcome and worthy and wanted. It’s just my thoughts that are trying to catch me out.
It’s got to the point where I’m having panic attacks before I do my role and I’m feeling stressed out. So I’ve been working on my self esteem and making sure to do some breathing exercises beforehand.
As always, be kind and gentle with yourself if you are going through similar.
I want to thank everyone who has read my blog over the last twenty five days. Trying to reduce stress in my life led me to many of the quotes I have shared with you over the last couple of weeks. Believing in yourself is a very powerful tool and it’s something we all should do.
From my hearth to yours, I wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas.
By making small changes you will improve your life. It will start slowly, but the momentum will build and soon you’ll be in a happier place than you once were. But you won’t get there unless you make a start.