How to give yourself space

This post was written by Megan on April 10, 2012
Posted Under: burnout and stress management

In my last post 7 things I've learned lately about work and stress I mentioned there was an eighth thing, but it requires a full post all on it's own. Not because it takes a lot of explaining. Here it is in a nutshell:

When we feel overwhelmed – or even mildly pressured – something in us cries out for 'space'. Too much to do: 'Space!'. Crazy deadline: 'Space!'. 'Irritating person in your life': 'Space!'

Let's not navel gaze too hard on how we define space and why we seem in constant need of it. It just is.

Here's what you do:

Imagine you have an in-tray loaded to the point of collapse right in front of you. Or that crazy deadline. Or that irritating person.

Not too hard, is it? You're probably pretty much there already.

Now, with both hands, push that oppressive space-sucking thing away from you. Now take a deep breath. Feel the space? It's there.

I call this 'T'ai Chi in two seconds'. Here's a step-by-step diagram for this complex move:

T'ai Chi in two seconds cartoon

'That's it?' you ask.

'That's it,' I reply.


There is another simple thing that has helped me recently…

But it does betray me for the crazy gal I really am (that is, if T'ai Chi in two seconds didn't give it away).

Here goes: I imagine wearing an 'energy beanie'.

'A what??' you ask.

'An energy beanie,' I mumble with embarrassment. 'Err, it's a woollen cap made out of…umm…twinkling yellow lights,'

'Why?' you ask as you start moving slowly towards the door.

'Because it makes me laugh.'


Simple as that.

It has nothing to do with affirmation-energy stuff. If anything, I'm supposed to be focusing on my body having energy and shutting my mind down more. But I can't help it. This ridiculous picture of the 'energy beanie' makes me smile every time I think of it.

Here's what I'm imagining:

Energy Beanie

It's a bit like wearing a disco ball on your head. It helps if you imagine wearing one at an important boardroom meeting.

If the energy beanie doesn't tickle you, don't fret. Find an image that does make you smile, just by conjuring it up in your mind – even if you are feeling tired and stressed. Particularly if you feel tired and stressed.


This post was written by Megan Hills. Megan is a writer and cartoonist who is quite possibly as mad as a hatter.  Find out more about Megan

Reader Comments

Great use of Tai-chi exercise and what a fun image of the energy beany – love it! buzz and smile :-) cheers Silvia

Written By SILVIA CAMASTRAL on April 10th, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

Thanks, Silvia. A note to readers: the Tai Chi move emerged from a fab de-stress session with de-stress coach, Silvia Camastral, Much appreciated, Silvia :)

Written By Megan on April 11th, 2012 @ 5:18 am

Hi Megan,
Nice post again. I have some difficulties understanding the T’ai Chi exercise…;). I’ll try it next time in case of an emergency!


Written By Rob on April 11th, 2012 @ 5:57 am

Thanks, Rob. Due to the complexity of the exercise, it may take some practice before achieving a state of space perfection :)

Written By Megan on April 11th, 2012 @ 6:04 am

Do you make the energy beanies?? Can I buy one. You should totally make them ;)

Written By Jeff on April 11th, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

No, I don’t make the energy beanie but there is a DIY version. I recommend the following six steps:
1. Wear a standard beaine
2. Wrap Christmas tree lights around your head
3. Plug in your lights
5. Turn on your lights
6. Don’t move too far from the power socket

Let us know how you go.

Written By Megan on April 11th, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

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