I’m sure we can all relate to this scenario:
“Work is long and daunting. Home chores like dishes and laundry are piling up. You ran out of hand soap in the bathroom and are not resorting to using dish soap until you can find the time to get more. You aren’t sleeping enough and can’t seem to stick to any of your to-do tasks. You sit and fester more than you get things done because your mind is running a mile a minute thinking about the things you need to accomplish – just to SURVIVE…”
Did you relate to that story too? Are you just so stressed out that you can’t focus on even the simplest of tasks? Or stir up the slightest bit of motivation to even tackle what is stressing you out?
Honestly, nothing stresses out your brain (and body) more than not being able to focus and feel a sense of accomplishment. And also when you’re stressed, the world looks like a very dark place and nothing seems to be going right or getting done. You feel completely weighed down by it and in turn, it affects your overall mood.
Taken from my own personal experience, if I’m a stressed out human – I’m in no shape to be around. And it’s nothing personal to my friends, family or coworkers. It’s just my brain cannot handle the amount of pressure and strain I am putting on it and the reaction is irritability. Raise your hand if you agree with me!
So from just thinking of a few things that really help me when I’m stressed out, I want to share a few of them with you – with the hopes that maybe they can help YOU out when you’re feeling completely overwhelmed and fussy (yes, I have been called fussy when I’m stressed – it’s wonderful).
Do a yoga practice!
Yes, the first thing I will preach is yoga (#yogaeverydamnday).
I’ve been practicing yoga for about 7 or more years now, on and off, and I find the first thing that will help calm me down and de-stress my mind is stepping onto my mat.
I will usually do a restorative routine (for example, a yin-based practice where you hold postures for longer periods of time and focus on your breath) but any yoga routine that allows you to separate yourself from your thoughts and stresses will do wonders for your mind and body.
Try a short and sweet routine to start, then listen to your body and see what it truly needs in that particular moment.
Personally, I practice at home using Sarahbethyoga (check her out, she is wonderful!) but even grabbing a friend and going to a class at a yoga studio gives you that allotted time to focus on YOU and not what’s on your mind.
This may sound so silly and I do feel like my mother saying this, but she is a wise woman and knows how to combat stress with life’s simple things.
When you are sufficiently hydrated, everything is moving through your body in the most efficient way. Now, I do not have a background in nutrition or medicine, but I do know that when I am keeping up on my daily water intake – I personally feel better overall (mind and body) and it allows me to focus more on what I need to get done and prioritize everything in an organized and collected way.
When we DON’T get enough water, our energy levels are lower and we feel fatigued and out of sorts. Not really the best recipe for managing stress, huh?
Check out this cute article on why keeping hydrated is important for managing stress!
Create a to-do list!
I’ve sorta talked about this before in other posts, but creating a to-do list of the tasks that need to get done is probably one of my favorite ways to manage stress.
I’m that girl who collected blank notebooks as a kid (and as an adult, let’s be honest). And I found besides journaling (another stress coping strategy that I will probably do a separate post on because there’s so many benefits to journaling… I will digress), using a notebook solely to track all my tasks helps me calm down and focus on what needs to get done. It also allows you to prioritize the important things and feel a sense of accomplishment when you have completed all the task you set out for yourself.
One thing to keep in mind when doing this is to not overwhelm yourself with a lot to do in ONE DAY! It’s sorta the bullet journal mentality that you focus on the most important tasks of the day FIRST, then move your way down to the ones that could potentially move to another day (or week).
If you overwhelm yourself at the start, that will only cause MORE stress – not reduce it. Remember, we are trying to manage and get rid of our stresses and we can be our own worst critics. So it’s important not to get too carried away and really learn prioritizing!
Go for a walk!
Cue my mother again. She always told me if I was super stressed out and needed to just breathe, that I should go for a walk to clear my head.
As a teenager, I hated hearing that because in my mind, I have too much to worry about to go for a walk! Priorities, Mom!
But frankly, she was always right. When I now, as an adult, feel overwhelmingly stressed out – I find that going for even a 15-20 minute walk around the block or on a nice walking trail allows me to just calm down and appreciate the beauty of nature and everything that it gives back to us!
Plus you get an endorphin rush just by increasing your heart rate and moving your body, which is a natural way to get a boost of positive energy and reduce feelings of stress, depression and anxiety.
To read more about the benefits of exercise, check out this article.
Take it from a girl who suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – there is nothing I love more than going for a nice walk to reduce feelings of anxiety and sadness.
Cook a delicious meal!
Shameless promotion of my previous blog post: Seared Salmon with Pico de Gallo, but honestly, cooking a healthy and delicious meal for yourself really allows you to destress at the end of a hectic work day.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE COOKING! Sure, I enjoy it more when it’s for people and not just for myself, but I even find the act of cooking a soothing activity. You get to destress by chopping up veggies and other ingredients, while being super creative with your meal ideas!
I will even preach that making a homemade cheeseburger can fall under this wonderful destressing activity because if you’re doing something that you enjoy, you are already in a better mindset and are focusing on a task that will have a wonderful outcome (I mean, most of the time – I’m sure we’ve all burnt a few things here and there). Focus on eating HEALTHY though to destress because you really are what you eat!
Well there you go, FIVE ideas to help you destress and truly bring some happiness back into your life (once the stress clouds have gone).
I’m sure there are many, many, many, many more – and my brain is STILL going – activities to help, but these are definitely ones that help me the most.
Shout-out to some others I enjoy: watching funny YouTube videos, reading a good book, taking a bubble bath, etc. but those are also very subjective and some people may not find them as effective.
Let me know in the comments below some of the activities YOU find help you unwind and destress (to make you less irritable, heh) as I would love to try them out!