Hello, my name is Meghan and I’m a stressaholic.
Y’all know I have sought treatment for my self-diagnosed, although no less valid, condition right? I’m talking professional help too, five years ago, in the form of biweekly visits to a psychologist for almost a year until I was officially declared free of my demons and released back into the wild.
Granted, she never actually said I was “sane,” although she must have found me mentally capable, at least enough to send on my way with a pat on the back and a very expensive pen. Just kidding, there was no pen. I’m pretty sure she never touched me either, although when hypnosis is involved, one can never be too certain.
I got something way better than a non-existent writing utensil though. Instead, I departed with enough knowledge and insight into my own psyche, where I now know what’s going to trigger my little stress bunny and even better, how to manage that same rabbit when he hops into the picture, in a much healthier fashion that I was previously employing. Cigarettes are bad.
Here’s the thing, stress is an unavoidable part of life.
It sucks and I cannot wave my magic wand and sprinkle fairy dust, also known as cheese curds, and make him disappear. It doesn’t work that way because stress never got the memo, the one which tells him to quit rearing his three ugly heads, to get back in line and to behave. Instead he does his own thing, and the best way to counteract that, is to do our own things too.
Tips & Techniques To Manage Stress
- Ingest as many nutrient dense whole foods as possible.
I sound like a broken record on this one, and it’s because these pretty babies work wonders for my mental health. When I routinely eat garbage and lots of package foods, I feel lethargic, sluggish, and my self-esteem plummets. Not so when it comes to gorgeous whole foods, fruits and veggies.
- The same goes for exercise. Regular activity does a body good and is single-handedly one of the best things you can do for yourself.
On the flip side, too much strenuous physical activity taxes the body, adds strain and increases your stress so move your limbs, in moderate amounts. In short, you don’t have to climb Mount Everest, you just need to go for a stroll.
- Mediation rocks; this App specifically.
This one is the hardest for me, mainly because my mind is an Olympic level ping-pong match, with balls whizzing back and forth more than a unicyclist on crack. When I do it fairly regularly though, and I’m only talking five minutes a pop, I am more calm and centered.
- Sleep. Every single stressor in your life is magnified when you don’t have enough sleep so make sure to get your zzz’s.
- Make lists. They bring calm to chaos and help you get and stay organized.
My favorite list to pen in times of duress is a gratitude list. I’ll write down three things each day which make me feel grateful. It forces me to pay attention to the positive things happening in my life.
- Take a break, go for a walk, or grab a cup of caffeine free tea.
These tips are magic, especially if you’re feeling stressed at that very moment. Not only does stepping back for five minutes allows you to clear your head and hit the reset button, it gives you some perspective too.
- Surround yourself with things you love.
- Stop what you’re doing and take a long, slow, and deep breath, followed by a second and then a third. Go ahead and try it right now. I’ll wait.
It may seem simple or silly, but I utilize this technique all the time, especially when I feel panic building beneath the surface. It helps push those little demons down.
- Ask for help when you need it.
Handling things on your own doesn’t make you strong or tough, it makes you tired and miserable, and you only end up hurting yourself.
- Seek out ways to help yourself.
Join a support group, see a psychologist, and utilize your insurance benefits. Many companies offer free assistance. I used mine last summer when I felt a relapse coming on. A couple of phone calls and one in-depth workbook later, and I was back on the path to rights.
- Listen to soothing music.
I bust out the Classical Station on Pandora if I’m having a rough day. Kitchen dance parties don’t hurt either.
- Remove expectations and alter deadlines if necessary.
I often feel stressed when trying to meet a self-imposed deadline. When I evaluate the deadline and shift my expectations, the pressure dissipates. For example, I wanted this blog post to go up yesterday, even though I spent almost all day Sunday traveling. Instead of stressing it, I decided to publish it on Tuesday. Shockingly the world didn’t end and I no longer had a heaping pile of pressure on my shoulders.
- Identify whether the stressor is something you can control. If it’s not, learn to let it go or you’ll make yourself nuts trying to manage the unmanageable.
- Laugh often.
It’s hard to be stressed when you’re smiling or giggling like a loon.
- Last but certainly not least, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
If exercise is your only form of therapy and you break an ankle, you’re kind of screwed, which is why multiple methods working in conjunction with one another is a better approach for stress management.
Yes, my name is Meghan and I’m a stressaholic. While I will never be completely normal (it’s totally overrated), I do manage my stress, some days better than others, by using these techniques.
How are you at managing stress? What are ways you’ve managed your stress before? Do you have multiple methods?