Today I’ve got a bit of a different post for you all. I want to talk about how I deal with all of the stress in my life – and believe me there’s a lot! This isn’t a post that is going to be full of research and there’s no guarantee that these things will work for you. This is simply a post listing the things that I do when stress rears its ugly head and I realise that I don’t want to let it consume me. Stress, for me, occurs at odd moments in my life. I get stressed at work, stressed with blogging, stressed with my own personal targets and stressed with friends and family. It’s a lot to deal with and I know that it is bad for your health so I try to do a few things to keep my stress levels down.
This is probably the most obvious thing that I do when stressed. But reading helps me to step away from everything going on in my life and to only focus on the characters in the story. It allows me to momentarily put my own thoughts and stresses aside which is very helpful. It also lowers my stress because when I’m done reading, I look up and just step back into it feeling more relaxed and able to tackle to the problems I’ve been faced with.
It is actually proven that exercise is good to do when stressed because of the adrenaline. Your body is pumping with it and it needs to go somewhere. There is a reason why, when we’re angry we feel like wanting to punch something. It’s our body’s way of asking us to release some steam. My personal stress exercise of choice is swimming but this can be expensive and a bit difficult to fit in around the pool times so I usually just strap on my trainers and go running. It doesn’t have to be a long work-out but as I put my energy into moving my body, my mind often clears. I can come up with the best ideas and problem solutions while pounding the pavement.
If this doesn’t scream how British I am, I don’t know what will. But if I’m really stressed, I often like to just sit back and relax with a cup of tea. I don’t know why this helps – I’m no scientist! – but I do know that I often feel better after a cup of tea. Of course, this could just be because I take the time to sit still for a few minutes and focus only on my tea and nothing else but I like to think it’s because tea is magic. In my mind, tea can fix all the problems.
This is probably a very personal thing to do but one of the things that really de-stresses me is getting myself organised. Whether that’s with blogging, at work, in my bedroom, on my bookcase, or my social life. If I’m organising anything, I am focussing on making sure that everything is in order rather than stressing about something else. And when it all fits and works and looks neat, I can’t help but feel elated and wonderful. There is that saying about a tidy kitchen and a tidy mind, right?
If the thing I am stressing over is that I am running out of time, I like to make myself a to-do list. What do I need to do in what time? What, from that list, is the priority? What NEEDS to be done before the end of the day and what can wait? Sitting down and (ironically) organising my day and the tasks I have to do can really help to focus my brain and drain the stress away. It doesn’t leave completely from this method – especially if I feel I just don’t have enough time in the day!
I think the biggest thing I do when I’m stressing is to make sure that I don’t forget to take breaks to relax. When I’m stressed I know that I would really like to just keep at whatever I’m doing but I also know that this is not the most practical thing to do. By remembering to take a break, even if it is just for ten minutes, helps to re-focus the brain to the task at hand. I remember when writing essays, I would always stop to make myself a cup of tea. And just that stepping away for a few minutes to do that, would inspire me with an idea. I’d go back with my tea and only realise a few hours later that I never actually drank it. So I definitely try to keep taking small breaks every few hours to stop the stress from overwhelming me.
And that’s it. (I think).
All the various things I do when stress rears its ugly head. I know that relaxation is supposed to be very helpful but I’ve never been able to do it properly. My mind has a tendency to just continue talking to me. I’ve even done a technique where I repeat the word “no” over and over in my brain to stop my brain and have it ask me “but why no?”. Instead, one part of my brain got into the rhythm of saying “no” while the other part of my brain continued stressing. That was no help to me!