Stress is a touchy subject for many people to discuss. My stress is not the same as a business owner's, or as a new mother's or that of a college student cramming for final exams. Stress is unique to each of us, and that includes the techniques we use to diffuse the feeling. I refuse to use the words "coping mechanisms" - I feel it negatively connotates finding a solution and steers away from self-reflection to find answers to the stress.
Before I provide my personal advice on how I cope with stress, there are a few background facts you should know about me. I deal better with work related stress than I do with emotional stress. I am able to turn off work the minute I step off the train at the end of the day (most times). Trying to maintain the balance of work-life balance aids in diffusing my 'everyday' stress. Emotional stress on the other hand will cause me to physically feel sick, tired and disoriented.
But enough with the negative and onto the positive. Stress is temporary.
So when the heat is on, I go these 5 stress relievers:
1. I ask myself Is this self induced? - I have always been a worrier and admittedly, I sometimes bring on stress when it is unnecessary. Before getting (too) carried away, I ask, is this something I have control over? If so, what can I do to improve the situation. If not- should I be 'wasting' my energy stressing over something I cannot change? (Ahem insert Serenity Prayer here)
2. Exercise- The BF likes to tease how much I talk about running, but really running became a part of my life when my stress was at it's highest. When I am running, its my "me" time. I'm not thinking about the BF, work, my blog, nothing. All I am focused on is my foot falls and breathing and how my body feels. And it is bliss.
3. Deep breathe- I have read that deep breathing is an instant stress reliever. I often forget this tip and (sometimes) feel instant effects when I start to inhale and exhale deeply. It slows your heart rate, and also slows the rants sometimes spewing from my mouth. Deep belly breaths are God's gift to decompress.
4. Cooking- Surprise, surprise. I know your probably thinking "Yeah OOOOK" This is a different type of cooking I do when I am stressed. I am not like my sister Megan or Izzy from old school Grey's Anatomy. I don't fill my kitchen counters with cupcakes on a bad day. But I do make a mean casserole. The chopping and process is therapeutic for me - especially when I am cooking for only me. Its completely selfish and that's really what a stressful moment is right?
Stress is usually about how a situation directly relates back to you.
5. Retreat- Pulling away from the world (for a day or night) is not always a negative act. For me, I work in an environment that I am constantly interacting with others. And I love it! However, if I am stressed, I do love coming home to an apartment that is quiet and serene. I will certainly discuss whatever is stressing me out with those I trust and value, however sometimes its nice to take a step back, turn off the phone, and chat devices and reevaluate. Is this feeling worth it? Is this stress accomplishing anything productive? and of course Is there a new episode of Glee to steal my attention and change my mood? Yes? Great!
I cannot say these are cure- all or even slightly helpful for anyone, but they help me.
Stress (and the tricks for relief) are unique to each individual and situation. My mantra for a stressful day comes from the wise Leo Babauta of Zen Habits "Smile, Breathe Deep and Go Slowly"
Question of the Day: How do you de-stress? Is there a "go-to" plan you rely on when the world seems a little darker? This too shall pass my friends:)
Enjoy a relaxing evening!