Find Your Inner Zen

Lauren Jagger brings you her top tips on how you can minimise your stress when dealing with island ‘rush hour’. Believe it or not there really is a rush hour, in the islands and traffic can come to a standstill.

January 30, 2019
Rebecca Murphy

Rebecca Murphy

January 30, 2019

Trying to zone out at the best of times can be hard but trying to do it on an island can be paradoxically challenging. Sometimes ‘island time’ can prove frustrating when you are trying to work or go about your everyday life. For some the idea of living on an island brings the notion of days drinking cocktails and endless hours spent walking barefoot on the beach but in reality for a lot of people island life can be almost as hectic as living in any major city with the added heat to contend with.

When we become stressed our body produces a stress hormone called cortisol which can have several effects on our body such as lowering your immune system making you more susceptible to illness, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure and it can also affect your memory – so if we can reduce the amount of stress we expose ourselves to we are giving our bodies a fighting chance at a healthier life. Everyone at some point in their day has to deal with stress, but stress is individual and what may be easy to deal with for one, will feel like balancing a house of cards to another.

The key to managing stress is not being afraid of it and being able to embrace the challenge and manage it. From my own experience and many tried and tested methods I have found a few techniques that have helped me overcome the feeling of stress.

Breathe easy

Learn how to breathe – in a typical day we breathe over 23,000 times and our bodies don’t give it a second thought. Now if we could slow down for a moment and focus on our breathing, even if only for five minutes, which is only one percent of a typical eight hour work day then it could make a significant difference. Five minutes of slow breathing or meditation can help reduce our heart rate, enable creativity and ensure clarity in our day.

Be present in the moment, in many businesses you are invited to events, functions or asked to speak at seminars but how many times are you at an event but not really there? These moments only come around once so we need to make sure that if we are somewhere then we truly are present and for that one hour or evening you give your undivided attention.

Adapt your expectations and work within your means. This reduces the amount of stress we put ourselves under. Treasure the simpler things in life – don’t take for granted the fact that when your work day is over you can watch the sunset. Keep your head up more often and embrace nature, limit your device time and social media updating to only 30 minutes a day. Spend time on yourself and your own life with real life experiences such as cooking, catching up with friends over coffee or embracing a new hobby.

Time out

Take time out to enjoy food – when your stomach starts to rumble then it’s a heads up for a break. This doesn’t mean grabbing a quick sugary snack whilst typing away at your laptop. Every mealtime should be an occasion, whether you decide to meet with a friend or arrange a business meeting with a new client, be sure to make mealtimes count. Eat cleaner; what we decide to put in our bodies has a massive effect on our mood and overall productivity. Have you ever indulged in fried food and all of a sudden your skin and hair begin to feel greasy too? When you have a slump in your day reach for a natural high such as a slice of pineapple or a fresh seafood salad. Find a hobby – in many paradise islands our hobbies from our previous lives don’t always translate into our new home but that’s ok change is a good thing every now and then.

Give your devices the flick

Find a hobby that you can take part in that allows escapism whether it be running on your local beach, taking up yoga on the sundeck or joining the local fitness classes, whatever it is, ensure that it allows you at least 60 minutes of YOU time with no distractions. Know when to switch off; living on an island can often result in FOMO (fear of missing out) treasure the ability to be able to snorkel amongst some of the world’s best coral, help save endangered sea turtles or engage in your local community and really learn about their customs, traditions and educate yourself on something worthwhile. Revel in the bad Internet connection (this can and does happen anywhere in the world) – I often feel this is a sign of Mother Nature telling me enough of the devices. We should only ever be looking at a computer screen for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time anyway so it’s another way of looking after your health. Even if you decide that every day you are going to down tools disconnect for 30 minutes and go for a walk. This will allow you to re-connect with reality and also save your eyes in the long run. Live every day with a purpose, each day when you wake be sure to treasure every moment. Write down one achievement for the day and place it in a jar. By the end of the year you can look back at 365 amazing things that you have done that year. Be mindful of others on your journey, when we are in a rush and stressed, sometimes a friend in need of advice is more important and valuable than the sales meeting

Reconnect and unfold

If the world ended tomorrow what would you have preferred to have done? We don’t get a second chance at life so make the right choices and prioritise what’s most important. Accepting that life truly is just a game has come to be one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve ever received. When life starts to feel overbearing step back and appreciate what really matters – it won’t be material things. Stop and think, what will really happen if I don’t check my emails … nothing but what will happen I miss making memories with loved ones? Too much stress can cause havoc within your body so be sure to remember to do something positive and productive for your mind and body each day reconnect and watch your tension unfold.

* Lauren Jagger is creative director of Fiji-based Bulalicious Activewear available online with free shipping worldwide at:

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