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Essential steps for minimising stress and maximising work-life balance

As we are travelling so fast through this year already I wanted to share with you some tools to keep your stress levels down, your work-life balance intact and to find peace and calm no matter what is happening around you. These tools are easy to implement and incredibly effective.

Keeping a clear mind - Butterfly ProgramFebruary has been one of my busiest months ever and I have diligently practiced my 3 main work-life balance techniques to remain stress-free and calm at all times. In February I have been running Women in Leadership workshops, presenting for organisations such as Coles and the Leonda Masterclass Series, and preparing for the launch of The Butterfly Program in Northern Queensland. This is a program specifically developed to empower the women in the flood damaged areas of the Port Douglas shire and the women in the Aboriginal community of Mossman Gorge. All very exciting stuff. Amid all of this I have had one of my most relaxed and enjoyable months ever, thanks to 3 techniques that I’d like to share with you.

Essential Step: Keeping A Clear Mind
Sometimes we have so much going on our minds become cluttered, confused and overwhelmed. This inhibits our productivity and impacts our health and wellbeing. As our thoughts create our world, cluttered, chaotic minds generate cluttered, chaotic worlds. When we are calm and relaxed we have greater access to all areas of our brain. We literally have more brain power when we are still and quiet than we do when we are stressed and overwhelmed. A clear mind is also an open mind, ready to receive and process whatever information is most needed at the time.

Here are 4 ways to create a clear mind.

Breathing – A simple and effective way of creating instant calm is to breathe. Breathe deeply and slowly, focusing on every breath. To still your mind you can count your breaths, or imagine breathing in peace and breathing out busyness. Give it a go right now and see how good it feels.

Meditation – My inner peace comes from a daily meditation practice. Sometimes this is 10 minutes, sometimes longer. Just 10 minutes a day can make an enormous difference to your stress levels and to how you experience your day. When I first started meditating it certainly was a challenge to still my cluttered, chaotic mind! If that is you too start with a guided meditation where you can focus on a voice. Be kind to yourself as it takes practice but stick with it, the benefits are well worth it. A great book to inspire your meditation practice is Buddhism for Busy People by David Michie.

Journaling – Writing is an excellent way of clearing the mind. Grab a pen and paper and just write, write and write. Don’t even think about what you’re writing just let it flow out of you and onto the paper. In her book The Artist’s Way, one of Julia Cameron’s tools for recovering your creativity is ‘the morning pages’, a stream-of-consciousness writing of 3 A4 pages every morning. It’s a fantastic process that not only clears the mind but also helps to create order from chaos. It’s a powerful technique.

Movement – Exercise is widely known to help reduce stress levels and it can be as simple as going for a walk. To use movement, or exercise, as a way of clearing your mind do something that you enjoy and be present to what you are doing. If you’re taking a 20 minute walk focus on the sounds and sights around you, feel the pathway under your feet and the fresh air on your face, breath in deeply and enjoy the freedom of being outside. Alternatively you may clear your head by thrashing around wildly in a Zumba class, pounding the pavement on a run or cutting several laps of the pool. Do what you enjoy and be present to what you are doing.

Keeping a clear mind is an essential step to keeping stress away. Over the next few weeks we’ll look at other techniques to effectively keep your stress levels down, your work-life balance intact and find peace and calm no matter what is happening around you.

To your success, in all aspects of your life.

Lisa Cutler.