Stress seems to be a common feeling that we can all (unfortunately) relate to. I don't like to talk about it too much, especially here on Summer Wind, because complaining doesn't really help anything, does it? And too, I feel somewhat guilty complaining about being stressed, when I know there are so many worse issues to have in life.
I will say, though, in talking with many friends (in all different friend groups) in the past few weeks, Stress has been a common denominator and is what brought on today's post. To be honest, I'm not sure if it has to do with our age/time period in life-- you know trying to balance a career, a social life, relationships (dating, wedding planning, etc.), maintaining your health and fitness routine, keeping up with hobbies, getting enough sleep-- the list goes on.
But the bottom line is that when it comes to stress, it needs to be managed (even if it is 'good stress'). I think it is different for everyone but I have a few tips that really help me to manage my stress. I thought I would share my tips in hopes you may share yours in the comments below (so that we can all learn from each other)!
Use Your Stress to Propel You Forward
This is my #1 biggest tip. Do you ever get so overwhelmed that you feel like you are on the verge of tears? That's energy-- a lot of energy. I like to take the anxious, upsetting energy that I sometimes feel and use it to propel me forward. I get moving, I make a plan, I cross things off. In fact, sometimes (definitely not always), I feel like when I am stressed, I actually get things done more efficiently and faster.
Write It Down
Is something really bothering you? Sometimes something bothers me so much, I get a one track mind (it's sometimes something important, but more so, it's often something stupid and out of my control). But my one track mind prohibits me from focusing on other things. So to get it out, I write it all out. Everything I am thinking, feeling, etc. I purge out onto paper and it works every single time.
Make a List
This kind of goes with writing it down, but list making is so soothing to me. Then again, I am majorly Type A, but I find when I have too much going on and too much on my mind, that making a detailed list helps a ton. I'll even put small tasks that usually don't need to be on a list... like painting my nails or mailing a letter or putting my clothes in the dryer.
So you have a ton going on? This is a dumb example, but...Your presentation for work that is due tomorrow should be #1 on your list- not skipping lunch and getting streamers for your friend's Birthday Dinner that night. It's times when you have a lot going on to let the little things fall to the wayside. Your friend isn't going to love you less if you show up to her birthday dinner sans streamers, but your boss is going to be annoyed if your presentation isn't finished.
Sleep On It
I apply this rule to everything in my life. Do you have something that is bothering you at night? Go to bed. Do you have a big paper due in a few days? Work on it a little, then go to bed and re-read it in the morning. Oftentimes, I will write a blog post at night, go to bed and then work on it the next day. Seeing something after being well-rested is refreshing and enables you to refocus. I even do this with shopping. If a purchase is more than $100, I wait a few days to think about it. If I am still thinking about it in a few days, that's how I know I really want it.
Put Down the Coffee
Seriously, that is saying something coming from me considering I am coffee's biggest fan. But caffeine can actually intensify anxiety/stress. So stick to water if you are feeling majorly stressed!
Hopefully, you have a good friend or family member whom you can just 'vent' to. Sometimes just talking it out with someone can help you to organize your thoughts. It's also helpful if whoever you are talking to has any advice or can help you in any way!
Take a Break
Whether it's 10 minutes or 2 hours, take a break from whatever it is that is stressing you out. Read a book, get some exercise, call a friend... just do something to move your mind away from the stress at hand! I was anti-yoga for a long while until the last year or so. It really does 'work' and calm me down. I look at it more as a stress reducer rather than an exercising regimen!
Stay Away from Social Media/Your Phone
This is a tough one, especially for those who have a career in Social Media. Not only can social media be a time suck, but it often leads to comparison. Sometimes it's a great resource to inspire you and keep up with your family and friends, but other times, seeing seemingly perfect lives can give you a sense of failure when you are majorly stressed out! Also, turning your phone on 'Do Not Disturb' mode can help keep you from distractions and those 47 texts in your group text with your girlfriends can be read and answered at a later time.
This is more like a band-aid fix, but I think it does help in a lot of situations. Sometimes you don't feel your best if you're not fresh and put together. I used to always get dressed up on test days during high school and college because that is what I felt best in. Sometimes if you feel good in other departments of life, that can help you improve your mood/life overall! So when you are feeling like all you want to do is forgo makeup, wear sweats, and throw in some dry shampoo, think twice!