126. 5 Ways to Alleviate Stress When You Have No Time

Do you ever feel like you’d be able to just chill the heck out if your schedule wasn’t so packed?

If that’s the case, you’ve made it to the right place today.

In this episode of the podcast I am sharing a few power-packed tips to help you feel more relaxed – even if you feel like you have no time.

I’m sharing how to soften into quiet spaces, use your breath to help you relax even if you’re shopping at Walmart on Black Friday (not sure why you’d do that – just eliminating that trip will help you alleviate stress – but if you find yourself there, I’ve got you!), and how to unplug from your life without anxiety or FOMO. (“fear of missing out” – you probably knew that already, but I’m always asking my kids what all the acronyms mean.)

I share ALL the juicy details inside! Join me! xo, J

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[00:00:00] Janeen: hey there, my friends, welcome back to Mamas Who Do. I am Janeen Alley, and I am excited to be with you guys today as always talking about productivity and all the things to help you get back peace of mind and more time in your life. All right, so today on the podcast, we are talking about five ways to alleviate stress when you think you have no time.

[00:00:26] and I know that this is something that is a huge obstacle for a lot of you, is feeling like you would love to relax, you would love to put your feet up, you’d love to get a massage, you’d love to do things that are going to help you alleviate that stress in your life, but you just don’t have any time.

[00:00:45] So today it’s gonna be kind of a shorter episode, but I am going to give you some really powerful tools that you can do on the regular, even if you are scheduled back to back in [00:01:00] your calendar to help you to relax and soften into your life experience instead of feeling like you’re go, go, go all the time.

[00:01:07] And this is going to take some intention, but you don’t, fortunately, have to carve out any extra time to do these things. Except for the first one that I’m gonna share. And actually this is probably the most valuable one. This is probably the one that’s going to help you get that time back that you so crave.

[00:01:25] Okay, so let’s just dive right in. So the very first thing that takes a little bit of time and takes a little bit of planning is actually tracking your time. I feel like I’m super aware of where my time goes, particularly at this point in my life and after teaching productivity classes and all kinds of things about how to be more effective with the time that we have. I feel like I have a pretty good handle of where my time goes, but I still do this exercise periodically because it’s so eye-opening. I think I have a handle on things, and yet there are still points in [00:02:00] my life where I need to do better at setting boundaries, or I need to be more in tune or more aware of where my time is actually going.

[00:02:10] I know for myself before. I started making all of these changes as I felt like I was so busy . In fact, my very first therapist that I had, her name was Sam. I was talking to her about how busy I was and how much time I spent doing all these things. and, um, she said, yeah, so you felt like your plate is pretty full.

[00:02:29] And I’m like, yeah, it’s super full . And I actually, she had me do this exercise where I actually took a paper plate and I wrote down all of the things that I had on my plate, and I took it to our next session as a badge of honor. Like, look, I’m not lying look at all these things that I have on my plate,

[00:02:45] And she didn’t spend too much time talking about that actually, because She knew this is one of the things that I teach now, and if you’ve listened to previous podcast episodes, you know our stress is not circumstantial. [00:03:00] Our stress comes from the way that we’re thinking about our lives.

[00:03:02] And so that’s what her focus was during our meetings was trying to get me to see that slowing down and taking time for myself was actually a power move in my life instead of feeling like one more thing on my checklist. . And so the way that I’ve gotten to be really aware of how I’m spending my time is to actually track my time.

[00:03:24] I recommend that you just carry around a little tracker. You can actually do this on your phone, or you can just track your time every single day so if you’re on Instagram for 15 minutes and you’re gonna write that down. And for my clients who are inside the Burnout Breakthrough, I actually have a worksheet for them to print off.

[00:03:42] Now, if you’re doing an app, you can just find it on the app store. But if you’re doing an app, you wanna make sure that it’s not a motivational app, it’s a straight up, raw time tracker app. That you’re not feeling manipulated by in a positive way.

[00:03:57] You wanna be a hundred percent [00:04:00] clear on what it is that you’re doing and you wanna track your time so it accurately reflects what it is that you’re doing during your day. For real, , it’s not like sometimes people who track their food in a journal, you know, they’ll write down what they hope that they eat or they eat better so that they don’t have to admit to themselves what it is that they’re actually eating. They are kind of

[00:04:25] fudging the data to look better than it actually is. I don’t want you doing that with your time tracker. So track your time. Do it however you can think of to do it, but track your time. I recommend over a four or five day period of time, and for me, I do like a downloadable sheet because it reminds me to track it.

[00:04:43] I carry it around with me for that period of time, and I actually track where my time goes. So that is the number one thing that I would suggest if you’re super serious about alleviating your stress and finding more time for yourself, and finding more [00:05:00] time for self-care activities that you feel like would really up your game with eliminating your stress.

[00:05:06] Okay, so the next one is soften into quiet spaces. So what I mean by this is we often don’t think that we have time to be quiet when we’re so busy. We’re telling ourselves, I’m so busy, I have so much to do, we just feel very frantic and very chaotic inside. But what I want you to do is start to look for quiet spaces in your life.

[00:05:32] Okay, so this means like when you’re in the shower. Okay. , I know that there’s times during the day where you can be quiet. The other day I was actually waiting for one of my kids, I think, or I was, no, I was at the doctor’s office. I was at the doctor’s office and I showed up at the time I was supposed to show up, I was 15 minutes early and the doctor was running late. And surprisingly, cuz this was early in the morning and they were already running late, but I guess the doctor was new or something. [00:06:00] Anyway, I normally have a book with me, but this day I forgot my book and so I was just sitting there waiting and I didn’t wanna get on my phone cuz I didn’t wanna spend my time doing that.

[00:06:10] And so I just meditated there in the doctor’s office. So I want you thinking about, How you can find quiet spaces in your life, even if you’re moving or you’re doing something else. Like I said, taking a shower or even driving in your car, you’re intentionally turning off music, you’re turning off podcasts so that you can relish in that quiet time.

[00:06:32] Okay? So intentionally soften into quiet spaces means you’re looking for those spaces and you are softening.

[00:06:42] So that kinda leads me into the next tip that I have here is to focus on your breath. This is the fastest way that we can soften, and you can do this at any time. Even if you are at Walmart on Black Friday, , it’s crazy.

[00:06:57] You can actually be in more of a meditative [00:07:00] state if you’re focusing on your breath and you’re focusing on being intentional. Okay? So I’m gonna actually share with you two different breathing exercises. They’re called pranayamas if you are familiar with yoga at all. But these are two that I use frequently in my class because they’re really easy, and you can do them anytime just like you can with any breathing exercise.

[00:07:21] But some of them require a little bit more focus. So the first one is you’re going to focus on lengthening your inhale. So I’m gonna have you do this with me actually right now. So I want you to take a really, really big breath and filling all the way up with your breath, filling all the way up to your top.

[00:07:35] It’s like you’re pulling your breath all the way up to your collarbones. Hold it. Take a little sip, little inhale, and then exhale forcefully all the way out. Okay, so let’s do that one one more time. I want you to lengthen your inhale fill all the way up with your breath. You’re expanding your lungs, filling it up with rich air, life sustaining air filling all the [00:08:00] way up to the top pause, pause at the top of the breath, little sip and exhale forcefully.

[00:08:07] all the way out. Okay, so that’s the first one. The second one that I’m gonna share is to actually do the opposite sort of, sort of. But you’re focusing in on lengthening the exhale this time. So you’re just gonna breathe in normally and then you’re gonna lengthen the exhale. And one of the things that I like to visualize, I love to do visualizations with my

[00:08:27] breathing exercises or the other things that I have that I’m focusing in on to take my stress levels down. It’s like almost like on the inhale, like you’re hiking up to the top of a sledding hill, so it’s kind of that laborious climb all the way up to the top of the sledding hill, and then the exhale is kind of the dissent.

[00:08:44] It’s that fun little ride all the way to the end. And usually, hopefully on a sledding hill, you kind of have a gradual descent and it just evens out and it kind of trails off until you just slow down to a stop. And if you get good [00:09:00] at doing this, you’re going to just kind of trail off into nothing and pause at the bottom of the breath before you start to inhale again.

[00:09:08] Now, I do have to say these are two examples, but you don’t wanna do ’em back to back like I just did teaching you how to do these. You’re either gonna choose one or you’re gonna choose the other. So don’t focus on lengthening the inhale and then immediately choose to lengthen the exhale. You wanna just stick with one.

[00:09:23] I usually, if I’m doing the lengthening the inhale with the forced exhale, I’ll usually do like four or five breaths of that and then be done with that pranayama. It’s just a very quick cleansing breath. The other one is more of a meditative breath, and anytime you lengthen the exhale, you are activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of your fight, flight, or freeze.

[00:09:50] So if you’re lengthening out the exhale, you are activating that parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you to rest. All right. [00:10:00]

[00:10:00] The next little tip that I have here is intentionally unplug once a week. Now, I know in your mind you’re just like, I can’t do that. , there are very, very successful men and women who do this practice and do it successfully.

[00:10:17] I think that it’s so valuable for us to create some separation between us and our device so that we come back to the present time. So intentionally like sticking in a cupboard, , I mean, leave it in your bathroom. I mean, whatever it takes to create some distance between you and your phone. And make plans for the day.

[00:10:39] You can plan to go for a walk. You can plan to play games with your kids. And if it feels like you have a lot of anxiety of creating that separation between you and your , you can maybe schedule in like two checkpoints during your day where you check it at noon and then you check it at five or something like that, or you check it before you go to bed, and that’s it.

[00:10:59] And I, [00:11:00] I have to tell you. I love this when I text a friend on Sunday and they don’t get back to me on until Monday because they tell me I unplug on Sunday sorry, I’m just getting to your email or your text message right now. I actually love that. I recommend that. I think that that practice is amazing.

[00:11:16] So see if you can do that, like I said, maybe work on maybe just a morning or maybe just six to eight hours during the day that you are intentionally unplugging from your phone and work up to, to maybe a longer time than that if you can.

[00:11:32] Okay. The next thing that I have to help you alleviate stress is to clean up your environment.

[00:11:38] So if we are seeing a lot of stimulation coming in from our eyes, that creates more of a hectic experience for us because our brain is like, there is a lot going on here because of the visual stimulation. So I want you to just imagine walking into a store that you feel like is floor ceiling full of stuff.[00:12:00]

[00:12:00] And I have a few in mind, in my mind, but just think about what it feels like to walk into those stores or walking into Times Square where there’s just a lot of sensory experiences going on through your eyes. Okay. And now I want you just kind of visualizing what does it feel like to walk into a high-end spa where there is hardly anything going on?

[00:12:26] Right. Visually speaking, there might be some beautiful wood, there might be some plants, there might be some soft music or dim lighting, those kinds of things, and I want you to experience what that space feels like versus the first visual that we talked about that had that floor to ceiling kind of sensory information coming in through your eyes, right?

[00:12:49] We can create more of a visually appealing experience in our own environments, and I want you thinking about what that would feel like. [00:13:00] And I don’t want you to get overwhelmed in this exercise. Maybe just take like one room at a time. Maybe you start with your bathroom, for example, or maybe you start with your closet and you just focus in on creating that space just as beautiful as you can possibly make it. Every single thing that’s in there is a favorite thing. So we’re definitely eliminating clutter. We’re definitely eliminating piles of papers, like all of those things to help you to be able to breathe easy in your space. You want your living area to feel more spa-esque than going into a store that just is got loud music and, l ike I said, just lots of things to look at. And even in the store, like most stores that I’m thinking of actually have, you know, they’re fairly organized and people like kind of rifle through the different piles of stuff in the store. I can think of a few that are just like cluttered and crazy and I just wanna get out of there.

[00:13:58] But, um, but there’s [00:14:00] definitely a different feel, of course, in a space that is clean and is organized and is not cluttered and all of those things. So, Spending a little time planning that out, and yeah, I guess that would be adding another thing into your week or into your month, is going to pay off long-term to help you alleviate stress and to feel more peaceful in your life.

[00:14:25] All right, so let me just see. Okay. All right, my friends, we did it. Those are five different ways that we can alleviate stress in your life when you feel like you have no time. All right, so carve out that time. Schedule it on your calendar to do some of those things. Some of those things you don’t have to schedule in.

[00:14:44] Some of those things you can do while you’re, like I said, driving or taking a shower or cooking. You can tune into your breath and you can just start to relish in quiet downtime, even if your hands are moving or [00:15:00] you are doing an activity. All right my friends, that is what I have for you this week. I hope you guys have a wonderful holiday season, whatever it is that you celebrate, and I will be back with more amazing content for you next week.

[00:15:17] We’ll talk to you guys soon. See ya. Bye.