Need to ease stress? Keisha offers 77 ways to do it
Covid-19 has piled stress on all of us; Keisha Allen-Smith is offering help with managing it.
She lays it all out in her book, 77 Ways to Reduce Stress and Energize Your Life, which is aimed at anyone looking "to improve their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing".
"Before the pandemic people were already stressed, living highly stressed lives and I was already teaching workshops on trauma, stress and self-care because, as most people know, stress puts our bodies into fight or flight mode," she said.
"What we don’t realise is we live our lives with our stress systems activated all day long."
It starts first thing in the morning, when the alarm clock goes off. Throw children and traffic in the mix and the average person is "already operating in a stressed state before 9am".
The coronavirus pandemic caused stress levels to rise even higher; anxiety and depression also escalated. Ms Allen-Smith noted all the change and decided to do something about it.
"That kind of inspired me to create the book, to start writing so that I could help people learn simple ways to manage their stress and improve their overall wellbeing," she said.
"I call it an energy guide and a habit tracker that empowers people to reduce stress, increase their energy levels and improve their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing."
The habit tracker is where most people will see a significant shift, the author said.
"There's a quote by John C Maxwell that I like and it says: 'You'll never change your life until you change something you do daily and the secret key to your success is found in your daily routine.'
"It's always resonated with me [and then] I adopted the modern [version]: 'Change your habits, change your life.' If we want to reduce stress and increase energy levels the way to do it to make a sustainable change is to change our daily habits."
As the title suggests, Ms Allen-Smith offers 77 tips for reducing stress and increasing energy. Readers aren’t expected to follow them all.
"Take action by noting the habits you wish to make a part of your lifestyle," she writes in the book's forward. "Hold yourself accountable by tracking your process on a daily and weekly basis and transform from being tired and stressed to energised and empowered."
Although deciding which habits to follow is "personal to everyone", Ms Allen-Smith benefited from changes to her morning routine.
"I include some movement, either a walk or yoga; I include my mindfulness meditation and before all of that I drink water and some honey/lemon and ginger tea. And then I say a prayer and set an intention.
"For me it is just waking up half an hour early so I can get up and just start my day how I want. With that, already I am balancing my stress response system because I am exercising to release; I'm sitting in meditation to help to be calm and setting an intention for my day."
She encourages people not to be too hard on themselves should they miss a day.
"We're human, we all fall off," she said. "Don’t judge yourself. Just pick up the next day."
The reward, for people whose habits stick, is a happier, longer life.
"The long-term goal is to improve your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing – which will ultimately lead to longevity," she said. "We want to reduce stress because stress is what causes disease in your body."
The book took about two months for her to complete. Ms Allen-Smith wrote it to accompany the coaching she offers through her business, Love and Light Empowerment.
"I offer workshops, I offer group coaching, I do webinars and I have online workshops that people can take at their own pace. The book is a supplement to this but the idea is if you change your habits you're changing your life and the best way to be consistent is to track your habits.
"The book was [meant] to bring it together so after someone does a workshop they can use the book to continue on to track their habits so that they can lead to success and see the changes they want to make."
She is pleased with the "great feedback" she has had from people who have read the book.
"It's helping them to get on track. They feel a little empowered because they know they're already doing some things correct and they're on track but they're happy and excited to have the habit tracker to then help them to be more consistent.
"It's just like diets and New Year's resolutions. Our intentions are good – we set our goals, we might start to take action but then eventually we fall off. But with the habit tracker you can take a quick glance at the week and say I did well with getting to sleep by 10.30 five nights this week but I only did my walk twice this week. It helps you to be more intentional about your goals."
77 Ways to Reduce Stress and Energize Your Life is available on Amazon.com and at People's Pharmacy, The Bookmart at Brown & Co, Bermuda Bookstore, The Griot, Beast Gym and at Calais Boutique. Keisha Allen-Smith is offering a seven-week group coaching programme beginning on Wednesday: Thrive – Stress Management and Energy Balance. For more information: linktr.ee/loveandlightempowerment; firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @Keisha-Allen Smith on Facebook and LinkedIn