We all know the feeling: stress.
That tight feeling in your chest, the knot in your stomach, the headache that just won’t go away. For many of us, stress has become a part of daily life. Whether it’s your new boss giving you a taste of what’s to come or your never-ending to-do list, it can seem like there’s no escape.
Studies reveal that parents, people of colour, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and people with chronic illnesses are more likely to experience stress. But no matter who you are, letting stress control your life is never a good idea.
It can trigger depression, lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms (like smoking or overeating), and cause physical health issues.
While we can’t control the stressors in our lives, we can control how we deal with them. Here are some tips for healthily managing stress:
1. Don’t Overanalyze What’s Yet to happen
Some people create a parallel universe of imaginative worst-case scenarios in their heads and live with that every day. There are two reasons people do this:
- If you’re mentally prepared for the worst, it won’t surprise you
- If you’re aware of the worst-case scenario, you can control it
If that’s the world you’re cultivating, become a risk assessor and mint money. But if your world of ‘what-ifs’ isn’t making you feel better about yourself, it’s time to let go.
2. Connect with Specialists
Have you turned to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking or smoking to deal with stress? If you answered yes, it may be time to seek professional help. Stress paired with alcoholism can be a dangerous combo. The first step is always admitting that you need help.
Luckily, some rehabs can help you deal with stress, anxiety, and addiction simultaneously. So, find locations near you and get the help you need to live a healthier life.
3. Get Organized
Spend a day in a cluttered room, and you’ll notice your stress levels skyrocket. A cluttered desk, a crammed closet, or a sink full of dishes can all contribute to stress.
It is because having a lot of visual stimuli around you can be overwhelming and cause anxiety. So, take some time to declutter your space and get organized. You don’t have to go full-on, Marie Kondo, but getting rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy” will help reduce stress. You can also establish a routine to help you keep your space clean and tidy.
4. Don’t Make Other People’s Problems Your Problems
Do you have a habit of enabling? It is the habit of taking over other people’s concerns, making them your own. It is ubiquitous among women who are socialized to be “caretakers.” But it’s important to remember that other people’s problems are just that: their problems.
Neither can you control other people’s lives nor fix their problems for them. So, when someone brings their problems to you, offer advice if they want it, but don’t try to take on their issue as your own.
5. Set Aside Time for Yourself
How often do you pamper yourself with your undisturbed presence and time? In the chaos of daily life, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. But the person who needs you the most is you.
So, schedule some pleasant ‘me’ time into your day. This moment should be genuinely yours. If you enjoy doodling, sit with your art pad and let the world flow out of you. If reading is more your thing, curl up with a good book. And if you like being outdoors, go for a walk in the park. The key is to focus on positive energy and attract good vibes.
6. Learn to Say No
It’s easy to overcommit ourselves and then feel stressed when we can’t meet all our obligations. You can tell it’s pressing too much on your plate when you start resenting. ‘Why could I not just say no?’
Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s quite the opposite. Saying no shows that you respect your time and energy and are not a doormat.
So, the next time someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, say no. It’s as simple as that. You don’t have to sound harsh or ungrateful. Instead, say, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’ll be able to manage.”
7. Be Grateful for What You Have
Social media puts you in a place of ‘I wish’ and ‘I want.’ You start comparing your life to others and feeling bad about yourself. But that’s not an accurate representation of reality.
The truth is everyone has their struggles. So, stop comparing. An effective way is to minimize your use of social media. It only focuses on the bright and shiny moments of people’s lives, not the reality.
In addition, turn away from tv commercials. They are the culprit of making you feel like you need things that you don’t. They show you what you’re missing, from the latest gadget to the newest car. So, instead of wallowing in self-pity, focus on what you’re grateful for.
- Surround Yourself with Positive and Uplifting People:
Do your ‘friends’ constantly remind you of your flaws or make you feel bad about yourself? Do they stir conversations about other people’s misfortunes? If so, it might be time to make some new friends.
The company you keep has a significant impact on your overall well-being. So, choose wisely. Find people who make you feel good about yourself and build you up, not tear you down. Shared interests are a bonus but not necessary. A pup is always a good option if you feel better off without people altogether.
8. Quit the Job You Hate
An average person spends 40-80 hours a week at their job. That’s a significant investment of your time and energy. Find a new job if you’re unhappy with the working conditions or feel you’re not valued. Of course, it’s easier than done, considering the piling bills and hungry mouths to feed. But your mental health should be a priority.
A job should hold some meaning for you. It should make you want to get out of bed in the morning. If it doesn’t, it’s not worth your efforts.
Part of living stress-free is learning to accept that you can’t control everything. You can’t please everyone all the time, and you can’t do it all by yourself.
It’s essential to set realistic expectations for yourself. If you’re constantly putting pressure on yourself to be perfect, you’ll never be able to relax. So, be easy on yourself. We wish you years of stress-free living!