Be Gentle to Yourself … Now!

A few months ago I wrote this little ebook for a friend who was feeling overwhelmed.  It seems a lot of my Twitter friends and fellow bloggers are feeling a little bit stressed and/or overwhelmed at the moment, so I thought I would share it with anyone who would like to read it.  I hope it helps.  xxx   PS  If you want me to email the PDF – it looks nicer – just drop me a line at

Take a Moment

 5 Simple Steps to put distance between you and your problems

 “When the worrying stops; the solutions come”

 When you become overwhelmed, either by a single problem or from a build up of life’s many little problems, it’s quite obvious you need some time out.  By this I mean – time out from worrying!  

A stressed out mind finds it difficult to come up with solutions.  Quite often the solutions aren’t that far from reach but you just can’t see them because the worrying is clouding your mind.   Right now you need to put some distance between yourself and your problems. 

Think about when you have the flu and your body needs time to rest and repair, you usually take some time out to rest because you can’t physically carry on with your normal duties.  When you feel overwhelmed and stressed out it means your mind needs the same kind of nurturing.  It needs some time out to rest and repair. 

It’s time to pamper yourself and give your mind that much needed break.  

By following these five steps you will find your mind starting to clear, giving you a better opportunity to come up with some solutions to deal with the problems overwhelming you.

Before you can get started you need to decide that you are taking some time out with no interruptions.   Not everyone has the luxury of being able to take a full day, which would be ideal, so you need to decide just how much time you can give yourself.  Nothing less than two hours though.  It’s time to call in those favours from friends and family if you have children.  If that isn’t possible, make use of the time after the children go to bed.  You will be amazed how much your mind will clear just by devoting some time to YOU and YOU alone.  After the 5 steps I have included a section for a “mini” time out if you have small children.  Every little bit helps.

Ok, it’s time to turn off the television, radio, computer – TWITTER, iPod and take the phone off the hook and let’s get started.

 Step 1  –  Quieten the Mind

Close your eyes, breathe deeply and quieten your mind by counting your breaths, eg in for 5 seconds and out for 7 seconds.    Do this for a few minutes or until you feel your breathing pattern has slowed down.  Try to think of nothing but counting the breaths.

Now we are going to ramp it up and use a relaxing Yoga breathing technique that really assists with stress and anxiety.  It is called BRAHMARI or Black Humming Bee Breath.    Sit on the ground with your knees up.  Rest your elbows on your legs and put your index finger in both ears – pressing against the tragus.   Breathe in and then on the out breath you need to hum.   Make this breath out last as long as you can.  

Do this for at least 12 breaths. 

As strange as this seems it is amazing and gets you into the relaxation zone very quickly.   You can do this again prior to going to bed and you will have an amazing sleep.   If this is the only thing you have time to do, it will help immensely. 


Deep breathing increases vitality and promotes relaxation.

 When people are stressed, they tend to take short little breaths rather than deep, relaxing ones.  Pay attention to your breathing and learn to take it slow. 

Step 2  –  Stimulate the “Feel Good” Endorphins

Open your eyes and do some simple neck stretches from side to side and some shoulder rolls.  Don’t forget to roll the opposite way to balance out your stretch.   If possible go for a walk.  If it is evening and you are unable to take a walk try some gentle yoga stretching or Tai Chi – I keep a yoga DVD for this very purpose.

Sunshine and fresh air are natural mood lifters and it is common knowledge that the endorphins released during exercise give you an instant “feel good” sensation.    

Remember, you are trying to relax so keep the exercise gentle. 

 The greyest of days can be truly beautiful.
Take time to look for beauty in unusual places.
Everything has beauty, but not everyone notices it.
Annie Reuss

 If you have access to some relaxation music, put this on while you complete the remaining steps.

 Relaxing music soothes the soul and quietens the mind.

 “Anything in life that we don’t accept will simply make trouble for us until we make peace with it.”
Shakti Gawain
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
William Shakespeare

 Step 3  –  Pamper, Pamper, Pamper

Run yourself a bubble bath.   Add a few drops of lavender oil and light some candles.   Hop in and languish until you can’t top it up any further.   Do nothing while you are in the bath – absolutely no reading at this stage.   Just lie there and let your mind drift.  If you start to worry, stop … breathe deeply again and count your breaths until you stop worrying.

If you don’t have a bath tub or you live in an area with water restrictions, you can still achieve the same state of relaxation.  Light the candles and burn some lavender oil, have a warm shower and when you get out and dry off, lie quietly on your bed for a while listening to the relaxation music and concentrating on breathing deeply.  If you fall asleep, don’t fight it.  Just go with it.  You have achieved a sense of relaxation – something you didn’t have at the beginning of Step 1.

Step 4  –  Redirect your Thoughts

If you are still awake, make yourself a pot of tea, preferably a relaxing herbal tea, but if that’s not for you, your regular tea or a heavenly Chai Tea made with hot milk will do.  Don’t have coffee at this point or you will undo all the good work you have done so far.

Grab a book or a magazine and relax in a comfortable place.    Just do nothing but read and drink your tea.   This time is about giving your mind a rest so you can tackle your problems later when you are in a better place.

 Step 5 – Relax and Enjoy

 If you have allowed yourself ½ day to destress, have a light dinner and watch a good movie before going to bed, make sure it is an upbeat or funny movie.  Nothing depressing or you will undo all the good work you have done!  Remember, in the morning light everything will look better.

Every new day is like a new beginning.
The past is over; the future is not yet here.
The only thing that matters is the new day before you.
Annie Reuss

 Be a Child

If you have children and it is not possible to have this much “me” time, make sure you make the most of the time the children are asleep and try to at least do at least 2 of the steps.  Steps 1 and 4 are the best two for a short period of time.

If your children don’t sleep during the day, abandon your regular routine and go to the park with the kids – you will be amazed how just getting some fresh air and sunlight can help your present state of mind. 

The golden rule is to forget your problems while you are at the park and become a child again.  Your children will love it and so will you.  

Sunlight and Love shine down on us all, no matter who we are.
Annie Reuss

Putting some distance between you and your problems helps to put them into perspective later.

Once your mind has had a chance to rest, you can think more clearly and you have a better chance to reflect upon and deal with the problems you are facing.

Your problems will be no less serious, but your state of mind should have improved enough for you to move forward.

And remember, it is ok to take some time out. 

You have two choices when you are feeling overwhelmed.  You can mope, worry, stress out, go around in circles and not solve anything or you can spend some quality time pampering yourself or having some fun with your children.  

I know what I would choose.  I hope you choose the same.

Live your dream by making deliberate choices, not just responding to whatever life throws your way.”
Marcia Wieder

About Annieb25

A mum to 2 teenage boys, would be writer, thirsty for knowledge, Radio Solution solver on Radio 1116 4BC and so much more!!
This entry was posted in Healthy Living, Motivation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Be Gentle to Yourself … Now!

  1. Seraphim says:

    This post was perfect timing for me. Thank you so much. This is exactly what I will do tomorrow morning. I have promised myself. xxx

  2. Kristin says:

    I feel relaxed just reading this.

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Be Gentle to Yourself … Now! | Living Life as Me --

  4. Will try. Stopped at ‘quieten the mind’, but will try!

    • Annieb25 says:

      lol I sense you run on overdrive a lot of the time. Same … although I now force myself to slow down out of necessity. We all need to quieten our minds sometimes. x

  5. Thea says:

    Oh wow, I feel so much better for just having read this and not even having done any of it yet.
    What a wonderful thing, Annie.
    I’m going to try some, definitely!! xx

    • Annieb25 says:

      Oh Thea that also made my day – my goal is that my writing makes people feel good. I feel like doing a little dance! I hope you do try some of these things and give yourself some much required down time. xxx

  6. MrsDesperate says:

    I’m doing a mindfulness course to help me cope with my anxiety and depression, and follow some similar steps as part of that. It really does make a difference … I still feel guilty if I take time for ‘me’, but as you’ve shown here, you don’t have to spend a lot of time, you just have to schedule it in.

    • Annieb25 says:

      You shouldn’t feel guilty for having “me” time. You deserve it!! You have a busy life and you totally deserve some down time. In fact you need to have it. Be kind to yourself. xxx

  7. Kylie L says:

    I love this- will be printing out to keep. Am not good at quietening the mind (or turning off Twitter) either, but will try…

    • Annieb25 says:

      Can I recommend a nice cup of Chai Tea, an open fire, a blanket and a good lie down with Kylie Ladd … oh hang on you are Kylie Ladd. You should always be relaxed then!

      Seriously, I am not good at quietening my mind either. I will email you the PDF as it is much nice to read when printed out. I hope you try it sometime. xx

  8. Thanks…… I will certainly use some of you idea………. mmmmmmmm

    • Annieb25 says:

      Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you do try it out. Let me know how it goes. Happy relaxing! xx

  9. Great advice, Annie! I’ve only done the breathing bit and already feel calmer. Thanks 🙂

    • Annieb25 says:

      The breathing bit is amazing. I love doing it. Unfortunately we don’t often take the time to do these things. Too many HR manuals and Org Charts to work on!! Thanks for visiting my blog. xx

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