We all get a little stressed and anxious at different points, and that’s normal and ok. I used to have pretty bad anxiety back when I was on the pill, and on top of that, I didn’t really know how to manage my stress or anxiety.
Nowadays I thankfully have less stress in my life, but it still happens. And I’ve gotten a heck of a lot better at managing my stress.
Today, I wanted to share my go-to strategies when I’m feeling stressed out or anxious.
[Disclaimer: everyone's stress and anxiety are different. I’m lucky to have it pretty mild all in all, and what works for me might not work for you.]
In no particular order:
+ journal | this is my number one go-to thing that I do when I’m feeling out of sorts in any way. I will dig into my ‘normal’ journal when something just comes up and I need to get it out. But I’ve found that one way I can manage my stress, and work through things is with a daily practice of morning pages. This is where I sit down first thing each morning and write out three pages of just streaming conscious thoughts, basically whatever is in my mind.
+ get out in nature | I grew up out in the woods, in nature surrounded by trees, the breeze and a whole lot of space. Regardless, I think removing yourself from the hustle and bustle of a city, and even if it’s just going to a park nearby, I find that nature soothes the soul. Take a book, your work, hang up a hammock or go on a walk.
+ go on a walk/run | this is something that I’ve been trying to make a part of my daily routine. I would love to start running again in the mornings, but I try to take a break during the day and walk somewhere, whether it’s to run an errand like drop of library books or print something off from FedEx, I find that not only taking the break, but getting out and finding movement does a lot for me.
+ brainstorm goals | when I’m feeling a bit lost in my direction, unmotivated or stressed about where I am I find that brainstorming what I want to achieve and coming up with a list of tangible steps forward never fails to make me feel more in control again. And I think having goals in general and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone are good things to keep you growing.
+ meditate | you knew I was going to say this one didn’t you? But it’s so true, I even know that, and I’m not even that good at staying consistent with meditation. If meditation isn’t your thing I find that disconnecting and sitting quietly for ten minutes is nice as well. You can also try an app out there like Headspace or Calm.
+ watch videos or read a book | this is a great way to get inspired, and if you’re having difficulties with something I guarantee someone else has been through it as well and either written a book, made a video on YouTube or wrote a blog post about it. I really enjoy videos and books that are about self-help and business related things. And there’s really something magical about watching someone talk about how they got more organized, inspired, cleaned up their house, got back on track and anything like that.
+ learn a new skill/do something new | having a goal that is unrelated to work is such a good thing. Last year it was training for a marathon for me. This year I’ve been working hard to teach myself new skills related to creating better content, being more organized and taking on the business side of things, which isn’t my strong suit. I also really want to teach myself to play a song on the ukulele. Oh, I learning how to ride a longboard is a great challenge.
+ check in on my sleep situation and nighttime routine | if you’re feeling out of sorts take some time to think through how you’ve been sleeping, how much sleep have you been getting and what do you do before bed to wind down? If you’re going straight from social media or staring at your laptop to jumping in bed and expecting yourself to fall asleep you’re not doing yourself any favors. Sleep is so important and people seem to think that getting less sleep is some sort of badge of honor. It’s not.
+ step away | take a technology break, put down your phone, shut your laptop and just do something else. Whether this is a little self-care time, reading a book, running an errand. There are countless things you can do to just take a break from it all. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes. You have the time.
+ have a get my life together day | this is usually Sundays for me, and I find that by having one day a week that I dedicate part of or all of to getting my life together just makes me feel better heading into the new week. So, I do things like clean my apartment, like deep clean, not the surface level cleaning you do to get you through the week. I pop in a load of laundry, finish up tasks from the week before, plan out the following week, and just basically all the things you put off during the week. Cleaning is also a coping mechanism of mine.
+ listen to music | this is a great way to change the atmosphere. I like to pop on some tunes while I work, clean, get ready, and sometimes when I just need a break I’ll put on some loud, fun music and dance (*flail*) around like a weirdo. This is also a great thing to do while you’re out on that walk, run or in nature to de-stress.
+ watch something light-hearted and funny | we all need a good laugh, and sometimes you need some help doing that. Whether it’s a quick segment of a talk show on YouTube or something stupid you found on Netflix, just escape for a bit and have a good chuckle.
Now, the next two are my go-to’s if I’m feeling super anxious or on the verge of a panic attack:
+ get in the shower and sit down | something about water has always calmed me down. If I don’t feel well I’ll run a bath, but if I’m feeling like I’m going to have a panic attack (and I’m home) I will get in the shower and sit down and just work through it there. I don’t like being around other people in those moments and there really is something about the water from the shower coming down over you.
+ practice a breathing technique of counting my breaths | if I’m not somewhere that I can get into the shower, or if it’s not to the level of sit in the shower I will count my breaths. Ten deep breaths, starting on the inhale (one), exhale (two) and so on.
Like I said before we all have our different ways of handling stress that works for us. What are your go-to strategies?