The Balance Code

3 Things Causing You More Stress In Your Life

November 15, 2023 Katie Rössler Season 2 Episode 2
The Balance Code
3 Things Causing You More Stress In Your Life
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if the stress levels creeping into your daily life are unknowingly exacerbated by seemingly harmless habits? This episode promises to unmask the invisible triggers of stress, revealing how sleep deprivation, excessive screen time, and lack of genuine connections subtly sabotage your mental wellness. We dissect the fascinating science of sleep, elucidating the profound effects of its deprivation on our stress levels. Recognize the implications of mindlessly immersing in a digital world, as we discuss its toll on our mental health, leading to anxiety, low self-esteem, and even depression. 

Our conversation takes a deeper dive into social isolation and its devastating impact on our stress levels. We stress (pun intended) the significance of forging authentic connections where you're truly heard, not just spoken to. We offer practical tips to cultivate these relationships and the perils of neglecting them. Wrapping up this enlightening chat, we introduce you to the 'The Stress Less Society', a promising tool for managing your stress. Don't let stress be a silent killer. Tune in for this insightful discussion and equip yourself with practical strategies to keep stress at bay.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Balance Code Podcast, a place where you have permission to step outside the hamster wheel of day-to-day life and learn tools to create more balance. My name is Katie Russell. I'm a licensed therapist and burnout and hidden grief specialist. I support ambitious, goal-driven people who are ready to get off the one-way train, to burnout and start to enjoy life again to the fullest. Oh and, by the way, I'm a mom of three, an ex-pat living in Germany who's still learning the language, and an entrepreneur. Living my Balance Code is what keeps me able to work in incredible ways without burning out. So let's find your Balance Code. Welcome back to the podcast. Today, we're talking about three things that are causing more stress in your life, and we're going to be approaching it from a different angle. There will be things that you're already somewhat aware of, but we're going to be looking at some of the science behind why it is that it's impacting you and causing the stress and talking a little bit about what we can do about it. Before we dive in, I want to remind you about the stress less space. It's my monthly membership, in which you are able to get a five to seven-minute audio every week, teaching you a unique tool to handling stress in your life. I cover things from different thought patterns, mindset and beliefs, as well as activities and actions you've been taking on a weekly basis. So make sure to look below at the stress less space link so that you can learn about this membership and see if it's the right fit for you. It's the best way to get some bite-size information that you can practice as new habits each week in a format on the Private Telegram Channel where you're not having to chat with other people and hear all their opinions on things, but just learn the tool and start putting it in practice. So make sure to check that information below. Okay, let's dive in Three things causing you more stress right now. So number one is sleep, and of course, you're like well, of course, katie, I struggle to get sleep, or I'm struggling to find the time to get enough sleep, but sleep is adding stress to our system, and what I mean by the sleep is the lack of sleep, not getting enough sleep. What happens is we have in our minds, okay, I'm going to go to bed at this particular time and you know, okay, and by the time we get there, we're enjoying doing something else. Right, whether we don't think we're really enjoying doing that work or that project, but it's got us going a little bit of the addiction of the excitement of doing a project. Or we're watching something, or maybe we're chatting with somebody on the phone. We just don't want to get off. Whatever it might be, we're in this like activity and we have a hard time stopping it. So then what happens is we go okay, well, you know what, I'll just go to bed early tomorrow night, and tomorrow night never comes right. There's always something that's stopping us from getting that good sleep. But we really have to take the initiative to be more proactive and getting good sleep. And here's why, when we are asleep, some essential things are happening to our brains. One we're finally integrating all of the things that we've taken in during the day. You probably noticed your dreams have a lot of like random things from the day or that week of what you watched, things somebody said or things you actually saw or did, and it's just your brain compiling the information and deciding what to get rid of and what to keep and what we're going to do with it. Another thing is your brain is able to detox during that time and release all the stuff that it does not need those stress hormones and other hormones that's time to let go of. But if you are not allowing yourself to have the adequate amount of hours of sleep, which is around seven hours, your brain doesn't get to get into that place, and so you are holding back from the things that you need to be able to clean your mind and adding to that fuzzy brain, the inability to think clear and the stress that you're adding to your system. So we really do need sleep for those reasons, and they're a myriad more. But this episode is not just about sleep. Hopefully one day soon I will have one on that. So if we can start to be more precious around the time with our Sleep and really value it, you're gonna notice that your cortisol levels are much lower. You just feel more relaxed. You're not as agitated because your system is not already deprived of what it needs, which is that rest you may even find during the day. If you can spend 15 to 20 minutes with your eyes closed, don't panic if you don't actually sleep. A lot of people be like why never actually slept in? My brain Kept going. You closed your eyes and you stopped bringing in stimulus. Don't even listen to stuff, if you can. If you don't add in the stimulus, then your brain is still, even though it's thinking about things it is able to kind of like in the background, relax a bit. So finding time for rest is important, but sleep in particular is super important to us decreasing our stress levels and I cannot Stress this enough. We need to be more protective around our sleep and I'm sorry, but telling yourself that it's me time to be able to watch shows longer or stay up longer doing something is Not actually healthy. That me time needs to be sleep. It really needs to be you taking care of yourself, because you're depriving yourself of what you need and then the next day you feel worse. You don't actually feel better and me time should not make you feel worse. Okay, second thing is screen time times that we are on our phone, our computer, on our tablets, watching television. Okay, screens are a wonderful thing. We can get information from the stuff that we read and listen to. It helps us connect with people around the world Family members who might live abroad, like I do for my family. But the issue is it actually is impacting our brain in a lot of negative ways and our bodies. So we are finding in the mental health community that increased screen time leads to higher anxiety, lower self-esteem, issues, with depression, and that is not just because of social media and what you're watching. It is the screen itself. It is the fact that it is hitting the pleasure centers in our brain that lead us to want more, but does not mean that it's actually good for us. We need nature, we need fresh air, we need to actually see people in person and connect with them. So the more screen time that we're having and the more we're sort of hunched over looking at our phones or looking at a computer screen, we are impacting our feeling of strength and Confidence. Because if our posture is down and low and we're typing and we're constantly looking forward, then we're not, as I'm rolling my shoulders back, going, huh, I'm here, I can get a full breath in, which is also something we need to help de-stress, and I feel confident because when I held Hold my head up higher, I automatically feel a sense of pride and good and okay, I can do this. But when I'm constantly hunched and Adding stress physically to my system, my body is not able to hold the weight of my head the way it would normally do, because it should be further back, and so all of a sudden, I'm feeling more stressed, agitated, even exhausted over time. So our screen time is adding to our stress, and you probably find the times where you unplug, step away for a weekend from social media or turn off your phones at the end of the day, so that's just you and a book, or you and your partner or family members, or playing a game or doing something right that you feel more relaxed and that's because your brain is finally getting a break from all the stuff that's coming in when we are on our screens. Okay, the third thing is the lack of real and good connection. So what do I mean by this? I referenced to it earlier. We actually need to have connection with real people. Now, this doesn't mean just any real people, so don't go out and find some community or group and you're like okay, you're real people, so this must be good. No, it's actually real and good connection People who can be authentic, people who can actually listen to you when you talk, versus just talk at you. It's kind of funny to listen in on conversations as a therapist, because you sort of hear the dynamics back and forth, especially if it's maybe a couple at a coffee shop. Are they actually talking together? Are they talking at each other? Are they actually listening to what the other person said? Are they off onto another topic? Because of social media, we tend to jump from topic to topic a lot faster than we ever did before and we also struggle to actually talk to each other, to talk with each other. We tend to go on well, I did this. Oh, I've done that before too, and here's what happened to me oh, well, I did this, and it's always kind of one-upping the other person's story. This is really aggravating because you never feel heard and you don't really feel a sense of real connection. Often you leave those meetings going okay, well, why did I go meet with them? What was that for? So, making sure that you're finding people in your life that you feel a sense of real connection with, that, you feel listened to and that you take the time to listen to it as well the ability to sense that they are actually paying attention to you, but also that they're really there. You could reach out your hand and touch them and go hi, our physical bodies need that physical touch. We need the oxytocin release of a hug to know that we can trust that person right. So we're being mindful of who we're actually hugging and who we're involving ourselves with. So things like this are important for us to pay attention to, because the more we isolate ourselves and stay, even in the online world, we are impacting our brain's ability to feel that trust hormone and that sense of connection. Now, for some of you might go okay, well, I don't really have a lot of good people in my space right now that I actually want to see, and we all need to take times in our lives to reevaluate who we've let into our circle. I really like to draw out a diagram with my clients and I put in the center it's kind of like a target in the center. I write me so that's for my client, and then I do a circle outside of that a little bit bigger ring, and then a second one and a third and I say, okay, you are that center, and in that first ring we call it ring number one who are the people who you trust, who are the closest people, the people that you will call upon when there's a crisis or when you just need somebody to talk to. Who are the people really going to listen and who really care, the people you wake up and want to talk to immediately at the start of your day. That's in your first ring, and if you don't have too many people in there and you only need like two to three, let's be honest. But if you don't even have one, that would be the area I'd say it's time to start focusing on and really thinking about. Who do you want to have in front of you each day or talking to you on a regular basis that is positive, healthy, honest, all the things that maybe the values that are important to you, right? And then you look at the second ring. The second ring might be the people that you like hanging out with. Yes, if there was a major issue, they come and help you, but they're not going to be the first people you would call. And the people that you enjoy, but they're just not the people you're going to tell your whole life story to right. And then you've got the third ring and those are the people who are kind of acquaintances, or maybe they are. You call them friends. If you're extrovert like me, you call a lot of people friends, but you're not letting them into the like let's hang out every weekend or even once a month ring and you're not bringing them into the. Let me tell you my life story ring Once we can evaluate people in that way and you can evaluate this on a regular basis. In fact, I encourage my clients to not just assume well, I've known you forever, so you're in ring one. It might be that person is now ring three because your lifestyles are different or choices are different, or you've just grown apart. That happens. But once we start to look at that, you start to go okay. Here's where I want to cultivate those real connections and here's how I want to make sure to make that happen. And one of the best tips a friend gave me was anytime we finish a meal together or having coffee or tea, we immediately grab out our phones and look at our calendars and plan the next date of when we're going to meet. Even if it's two months in advance, we still do that. We still make sure that we go okay, we want to see each other again and this is real connection for us and it matters. And even though we have busy lives and busy schedules, we're going to make sure to make time for each other, and so that's what we do. So it's a great tip you can use as well. So having that real connection and making sure you're not always isolating yourself is important. There's a fine line between solitude, having that time for you especially if you're an introvert, you enjoy that solitude and then actually feeling isolated and feeling like you have nobody. So we have to be really careful, because our mind will convince us that there is no one there and we are isolated during times where we've pulled away for solitude. So if I purposely say, hey, I'm going through some life things and I need to step back, that's important. We all cocoon in our hidden grief moments or life challenges. We need that time. But the moment my brain starts to say nobody cares, I've been off the grid for a couple weeks and nobody's checked in on me I have to remember that I pulled away. I'm the one that sought out that solitude. I'm the one that maybe even let people in my space know, hey, I'm gonna be gone. And once I did that, it's my responsibility then to go. Hey, I'm still here. And often in those times where we feel a sense of isolation, if we go back and look at our text messages or our phone calls or things like that, we'll notice. Actually, people were reaching out. We just didn't feel like talking because we were afraid of sharing what we're going through. We didn't really want them to know how we were feeling or the thoughts that we were having. So we have to be really careful with that theory. Around you know, I have nobody and I'm isolated and there's nothing out there. Being mindful that it might be that we've pulled ourselves away in such a way that our brain is playing tricks on us and that adds stress to our system too. So having real and good connection is important. So the three areas in which we are causing our stress in our lives Number one not getting good sleep. So please be protective of that and know that good sleep is me time as well. Number two too much screen time. Give yourself breaks of being plugged in, allow yourself to be in nature, allow yourself to see real people as much as you can. Some people have work situations where they have to be on the screens all the time, so then you need to have those moments where you dedicate to no screen time, and if it's only 20 minutes a day, it's only 20 minutes a day. Some of you are like I can do more than 20, but I bet certain situations you're not. So I would just say, break away from the screen time as much as you can. It's adding stress to your system in many different ways. And then third is really being mindful that you don't isolate yourself and have real good connection and make sure you're paying attention to the type of people you're allowing into that inner circle one, that middle circle two, and putting those people in circle three who don't really need to be that close to you. That's OK, you're allowed to do that. Friendships change, people change. We all adapt. It's OK. Ok, I hope you found today's episode helpful in teaching you how you are adding stress to your system and some things you can start doing to change that up. Make sure again to check out the link for the stress less face If that sounds like something that would benefit you on your weekly goal of having less stress in your life. Very good, here's to finding our balance code. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. If you have a moment, please leave a rating or review so that others can find this podcast who are looking for support just like you. Let's connect on Instagram at katierussler or at balance code podcast or check down in the show notes to find ways that we can work together and see other offerings that I have for you at this time and, as always, here's to finding our balance code.

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Real Connections, Avoiding Isolation
Achieving Balance and Reducing Stress