Everyone has different tipping points with regards to stress. Stress is not something I am happy to tolerate in my life, it takes a toll on health and relationships and I really think life is too short.
It is however a natural part of life and unfortunately for me something I’ve been dealing with lately. So now more than ever I’ve been trying to make sure that I keep up certain strategies to help me manage that stress and stay happy.
Note: I often let one of two of these things slip. Sometimes I let them all slip at the same time and that is when everything goes wrong (think: emotional breakdowns left, right and centre, arguments with my boyfriend over why things don’t work like I need them to in Argentina and despair at my perceived inability to manage my life).
This has to be my number one stress busting technique. Exercise is so important in bringing down anxiety levels. I tend to toss/ turn/ dream about what is stressing me but when I exercise regularly these rough nights are not as frequent.
Exercise though, is closely tied to motivation and after a long day it can be hard to find it. Often the last thing I feel like doing when I get home is exercise. But every time I do make the choice to do it, I feel better for it.
Last year I read this really interesting article on the topic. Studies that have shown that us humans feel more motivated to exercise if we can see immediate gains, i.e. if we have more energy or feel decreased stress levels shortly after exercising. It turns out that exercising to get healthier in the long run, lose weight or prevent disease later down the track isn’t actually motivation enough for most of us. If you reframe why you exercise to think about what benefits it can give you in the here and now, it can actually be a bit easier to get out there.
+ Finding an outlet
Reading and writing are my outlets. When I read my mind is calm, my multiple thoughts trickle right down, I breath deeply and solidly and I absorb the words. I feel happy. It’s the same with writing, I like choosing words, sentences and topics and the feeling of freedom that it gives me. I like starting and finishing something and I like the concentration that it takes.
There is something about nature that just makes me feel good. In fact there are studies to prove that exposure to nature increases happiness, reduces anxiety and leads to greater wellbeing.
This weekend I’m going to the seaside with my friends and I just can’t wait. I think its key to get out of the confines of the city once and a while, to breath that fresh air deep in to my lungs and leave my worries behind. Even if only for the weekend.
+ Healthy eating
If I have a lot of vegetables in the evening, I wake up with more energy. If I wake up with more energy I’m better equipped to handle my emotions during the day. Simple. Our bodies need fuel and if I don’t feed mine a varied, nutritious diet it just doesn’t run like it should. This I’ve learnt the hard way.
I love sleep, if I could I would sleep 10 hours every night. I wouldn’t mind a little kip right now. I tend to average 7.5- 8 hours per night but if I’ve slept less than 7 hours I crash and burn.
So now as its Monday and this week is about to kick off I’m determined to practice some of these things and hope that this week wont be so stressful…