Let's talk about STRESS baby!

In life, there are lots of things that cause stress.
Parents, kids, work, traffic, being asked to make a flat white when you don’t drink coffee and have no idea what that is, making sure you’re up in time to get Barbra Streisand tickets for Hyde Park (I did by the way and it might have been the best day of my life). 

Moving on.
So, what can we do to alleviate that stress?
I wish I could tell you i’m this zen loving yoga person, but all I can think about in yoga is how much the down dog position hurts my wrists rather than feeling the calm. “Om” for me is more “OmmmmmG when will this end.”

I am a certified stress head, I literally think anything could make me feel stressed.
If I have to wake up at 8, i'm up at 7.
If I have to be somewhere at 12, i'm there at 11.30.
If I have to do a Tesco shop, i'll stress that i'll forget something...before i'm even in Tesco.
If I have to read a scene, i'll stress that my sight reading isn't good, even though I never stumble.
If my agent calls me, i'll stress and convince myself it's bad news. (It usually isn't because my agents are amazing).
But you see where I'm going with this.

Whilst it’s great to constantly strive to be the best, sometimes we forget what we are measuring ourselves up against.
Like I said in my first blog, by 25 I thought i’d be living in New York having won my first Tony Award... the only award I’ve received is “Most Stagey” at the Golden Glum Awards at the end of my Les Mis contract. 
We compete with the idea of where we THINK we should be.

2015 Realness. Golden Glums

If you’re single, people ask “are you dating?”
If you’re dating, people ask “when are you getting married?”
When you’re married, people ask “when are you having a baby?”
If you’re in a job, people ask “what’s next?”
I know these things all stress me out because i'm a people pleaser and constantly worrying about what everyone else thinks.
Quite frankly, your personal life is no one else’s business.

It’s useful to note down what you have actually achieved. I know I’m terrible at constantly thinking “what’s next?” rather than being present in the moment. I played Eva Peron on the World Tour of Evita directed by Hal Prince, that’s pretty f*ing cool, but as an actor, I worried that not a lot of people saw it, so do people really believe that it happened?
Which “people” am I referring too? My friends who sent me good luck messages on opening night? My agents who sent me flowers? My family who literally used my job as an excuse to have a gap year? (No joke, they came to South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo).


What do I do to calm my stress and irrational thinking?

Well, I wish I could tell you I have all that figured out, but I definitely don’t. For a chance to relax, every so often I treat myself. I’m very into mind body and soul treatments. I’ve tried Headspace and honestly, meditation makes me want to throw things, now i’m not exactly sure, but I don’t think meditation is supposed to make you want to punch a hole in the wall.
One could argue that between my lack of zen in yoga and my reluctance to use headspace it’s probably EXACTLY what I need.

About 5 years ago I got into reflexology. I HATE people touching my feet, I am crazy ticklish and sensitive, yet reflexology seems to put me in a meditative state and I actually shut my eyes and fully relax. 

Exercise, exercise, exercise! Download music and put your phone on aeroplane mode! That hour or so of the day is for me to check in with my body and focus on something other than “what should I make for dinner?” And going over pieces of script in my head.

Ultimately, life is really stressful, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t pockets of the day to just sit and take a breath. I have to remind myself of this daily. Sometimes it’s ok to tuck into some ice cream and watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians. 

Go for a walk, have a cup of tea with a friend, buy that t-shirt you saw in Zara that you really liked. Life is too short to spend it stressed.
I hear wine also helps ;) (says the non drinker).

So take a breath, think yellow and count to 10.
It may only alleviate the stress for 10 seconds, but it’s a start! 



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