Hello my lovelies! Stress Awareness Day was recently brought to my attention and I had meant to write a long blog post on how stress affects my life and how I cope with it on a daily basis. As irony would have it, I was actually too stressed to get that post published in time! I hope you don’t mind that I’m doing something a little different and a little later than expected. It’s always a good time to remind people to take care of themselves.
I have been an anxious person for as long as I can remember. As a child, I worried about silly little things and always put pressure on myself and this didn’t change, even as I grew up. I am a perfectionist, committed to my career and achieving my goals. Being my own boss is a huge pressure because I have to take on more responsibility than I used to. Deadlines and daily routines can get on top of me – and often do! Here are 5 things I remind myself to do when I’m stressed.
Take a break
Society has created a badge of honour for people so busy and stressed that they don’t take a break. Whilst I have a huge work ethic, I think it is important to remind yourself to take a break. You can’t possibly be at your best if you’re worn down. If it doesn’t already come naturally to you, scheduling a break is something you have to learn to do to avoid stress. Make a cup of tea every hour. Have a chat with someone after you finish a long task. Just give your mind some rest from what it’s working on to replenish. Who knows? You may even come back with fresh eyes, feeling more inspired!
Being outdoors is a great release for me. Inside, especially when I’m stressed, can be overwhelming. The great outdoors gives you room to think. No matter how stressed you are, know that whatever you are doing can do without you for an hour. Nothing will set on fire, I promise. Wrap up, put on some waterproof boots and go outside. I like to go someplace quiet and green, and spend 2 hours of every day in the park with my dog. Fresh air, gentle conversation with other dog walkers and hiking up and down hills are cures to a stressed mind! Clear out the cobwebs!
It’s possible to overthink things. Changing the topic of your thoughts can do wonders for your stress. When you’re career driven and ambitious, it is easy to let work thoughts slip into your free time. Sometimes I catch myself tune out of listening to somebody to make a mental note of what I need to do in a bit! There are more ways of escaping than you think. Take holidays regularly. Go somewhere you don’t have wifi. Escape in a good book. Teach your brain to think about other things.
Spend time with animals
I love animals with every fibre of my being. Personally, I find that being around them reminds me that there is a much bigger picture. You are alive. There is life beyond inbox zero and there are better ways to spend your time than feeling tense and anxious over things that can’t be changed. Learn about the spotlight theory, realise no one cares what you do anyway, and then go be alive with sweet creatures that want nothing from you. Go spend time with your pets, enrich their lives with a new game, groom them, give them a head scratch, do nothing but enjoy their presence for a bit with no distractions. It’s good for the soul.
Get some sleep
Running on empty is a sure fire way to remove all coping methods of stress from your being. You are a much stronger person when you get enough sleep. It can be hard to switch off for some people, (thankfully I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow), but it’s important to try. Use lavender or calm music or audiobooks to stop your brain thinking about what you need to do and relax. Did you know that your face shows when you’re tired and your body can’t repair itself? Go get 7 hours sleep!
The most important thing to do when you are stressed is recognise that there is only so much you can do. If you have done all that can be done then worrying won’t change a thing. Stop, take a deep breath and go replenish for a while.
Image: Alex Geerts