Hello. Hi. Hey.
I haven’t posted in about 10 days on here, and to me that feels like a lifetime.
I had started to get into a really good routine of posting 3 times a week, and like always, something always comes along and is like lol, nope.
There has been some hugely stressing things in my life over the last month, and last week was probably, without a doubt one of the most stressful weeks of my life. Imagine buying a house stress level and then x it by 10. It wasn’t the stress that rolls on for a few weeks, it was the stress that is like BAM and takes you days to recover from.
I couldn’t sleep. I had no appetite. I felt ill, drained and just not myself. I guess I haven’t really been myself for a long time without realising.
This week and every week from now on in 2018 is going to be so different. You’ll find out in a few weeks time why I’ve been feeling like this…
But for now, I thought I’d put together a few things to help you when you’re feeling stressed. Because once you’re in that mindset it feels impossible to think you could feel any different. So breathe in, and exhale the bullshit.
1. Go Out For A Hot Chocolate – precisely what I’m doing when I’m writing this. The snow is falling, I have the afternoon off, no one to see and it just feels right. Hot chocolate therapy is the best therapy. Doing it by yourself armed with a book or a laptop is the best escape from life. Trust me on this.
2.Exercise – whether it’s a brisk walk or something more vigorous, exercise is proven to be the best stress release. It’s partly the main reason why I’ve lasted at my job for 3 years. It gives me the best thinking time, even when I’m busy counting my lengths.
3.Shut your pet in a room with you for an hour and make it enjoy your quality time together. lol. Or better yet, have some quality time with someone else’s pet. I’ve never had a pet, but I guess the office cat is practically my daytime pet and I can’t believe how calm I feel when she’s around. We don’t deserve how precious pets are, huh?
4.Switch off your phone. One of the main reasons I logged out of social media for a week in January. I didn’t want anyone looking into my life, I didn’t want to compare and I just didn’t want to have to think about posting something. I do think social media stress accounts for a large proportion of stress. When you do have other stresses going on, the best thing you can do really is to have some shutdown time.
5.Run yourself a bath. Chuck in a bath bomb or two and get the bubbles filling that tub. Light your candles and bring a book in too. I actually had to lock myself in the bathroom to force myself to take an hour out last week. I looked like a prune after, but boy was it needed.
6.Light all the candles. Pretty much the only reason I like winter and dark nights. Lighting candles instantly calms me down and I love it.
7.Eat well. The first thing I want to do when I stress is eat all the shit I can lay my pesky hands on. Nah uh honey. It’s the worst thing you can do. It then leads me to feeling worse for more days than I had to. Reach for the fruit and healthy snacks, and it will save you from one less emotion if you gorge on the bad stuff, mostly guilt and regret for me.
8.Speak to people. I felt sorry for many people last week when they asked how my week went. A) how long ya got and b) the floodgates gonna open. And they did. But as my stresses and worry and everything in between rushed out, I felt better. It was cathartic. I realised everything that had built up for so long actually wasn’t ok. It was pretty shit what I had been through, but getting validation and listening to other peoples advice is invaluable. Speaking is a healer.
9.Rememver it’s OK to not feel OK. Last week felt pretty shit, I doubted everything. But guess what, as cliche as it sounds, we need rain to get rainbows. We all go through the bad stuff and stress, but there’s always a way out. A light at the end of the tunnel. It is only temporary.
10.Take medication if you need it. Don’t be a martyr. Stress affects me in pretty much every way possible and excruciating stomach pain is one of them. Dose up on paracetamol and let it do the work. Stop trying to let things go away, sometimes they need a little help.
11.Get yourself to bed at a good time. Easier said then done because you trying to sleep and you’re heads like lol, not tonight hun. Spray your pillows with lavender spray, have a warm bath and switch your phone off at least an hour before bed. Drifting off into sleep will be that little bit easier.
12.Take a day off. I struggled through last week and I needed a day off more than anything. I finally have a couple of days off this week to unwind and be good to myself. Stress is a horrible, horrible thing and the lasting effects of it later down the line are not worth saving that 1 day of your holiday allowance for something else. Just take the day off and wind the hell down.
13.Think. The first thing we don’t want to do is face the situation. Some stresses are temporary like house buying and waiting to see if that dress on ASOS is coming back in your size, but other stresses will remain if you stay in the same place. You have to stop and assess how that stress is affecting your daily life. If it’s work related you gotta get out of it. We will never look back on our death bed and think we’re glad we stayed and continued working at a place that never made you happy. Do the right thing for YOU. Your life won’t get better until you get out of what is causing your stresses.
14. Read a book. I hate how I only read books on holiday, probably the only time I do feel stress free and relaxed and shouldn’t that tell me everything I need to know? MAKE that time for reading a new book. It’s the only time apart from sleep your brain can go elsewhere for a short time.
15.Head to a yoga class. Ya gals even got on the yoga bandwagon, 2 classes and all. I head in feeling tense and stressed and leave feeling like a new woman. I’m not even joking. It’s relaxing, focuses your breathing and is something I need to be doing on a much more regular basis.
16.Focus on your breathing. As soon as I start getting stressed or anxious I slow my breathing right down. Inhale deeply through my nose and out through my mouth. Guaranteed.to.release.the.stress.
17.Feel the Vitamin D on your skin. I know, WHAT SUN? When I was going through multiple stomach tests the consultant actually said I had the most vitamin D (tested from me wee if ya wondering) of anyone he’d ever seen in Plymouth. Living for the sun, but still feeling shit, huh? But the sun is an instant healer, right? You can’t ever wake up on a sunny day and not feel instantly more positive.
18.Play some feel good tunes. Open your Spotify and start searching for those feel good tunes. Crank up the volume, sing along and dance. Ain’t anything better for your body and soul.
19.Cut back on alcohol and caffeine. I was this close to reaching for a bottle of vodka last week and I don’t even drink tho. You crave those instant relaxers when your body needs it, but steer clear of it. Like reaching for the shit food, it will only make you feel worse once you get that come down.
20.Buy some flowers. My weekly tradition that I bestowed upon myself when I moved out. You only gotta head to the Lidl flower market to pick up some £1.89 blooms. Instant pick me up for week long enjoyment.
21.Watch the sunset. I’m lucky to live so close to the sea, and when I leave work there is no greater enjoyment than when I turn my car round the corner and see the sun setting over the sea. Anything that has happened that day can be forgotten in that moment. Nature is a beautiful thing, and sometimes we just have to stop and watch to realise that nothing else really matters.
22. Call in sick. If all else fails, call in sick. Take a day off. If you’re like me you NEVER take days off sick because you feel guilty even if you are on deaths door. That’s just the types of people we are. But we need to start recognising we aren’t always the superhuman we think we are. Sometimes you just need to listen to that body and take time out.We can only operate at a certain stress threshold for so long before we crumble. And THAT is where I got to last week.
The snow is still falling as I finish off this post and I feel good. Like really good. Better days and a better life is just around the corner. I got here somehow, and so can you. This is YOUR life, you can do whatever you want, and stressing your whole life is neither a life nor a choice. You need to get out of it pronto.
Do you have any other tips for coping with stress?