I always say, if there was one thing I could change about myself, it would be to worry and stress less. I worry and stress about everything from the extreme right down to the teeniest of problems. I even find myself worrying about things that have not or probably never will happen. Sometimes the worry becomes too much and I find it begins to effect my health. I get times when I can’t get to sleep, where I’m either overeating or under-eating. It effects my skin, causing sudden outbreaks and irritation and on top of that it doesn’t do any favours for my eczema. Mentally, it’s very draining and turns me into a very anti-social person. I tend to get quite moody and snappy and as you can imagine, generally not very fun to be around. Not very healthy right?
It would be very easy looking in on the situation, to say, look Kate just stop worrying and relax! But when it comes down to it, it really isn’t that simple. There is no “quickfix” or “cure”. HOWEVER, I have found some little tricks that help calm me down when I’m at my most frazzled. If you find yourself in a similar situation or if you have a stressful event coming up (like an exam etc) hopefully these tips could help you too.
1) Probably one of the most famous of all stress-relief techniques is to just Breathe. The cynical side of me is just screaming to mock this “overly simple” fix however, having been in some situations where I had nothing else, some deep breathing has really helped me.To breathe deeply, begin by putting your hand on your belly just above your bellybutton. Breathe in through your nose and watch your hand move out as your belly expands. Hold the breath for a few seconds and the exhale through your mouth. Repeat as much as necessary. The good ol’ “counting to 10” technique can be thrown in with this for good measure.
2) Music is and has always been my biggest de-stresser. Something I’ve found to be invaluable was creating a “FECK OFF STRESS” playlist. Basically it’s a compilation of all songs that make me happy, laugh, dance and generally de-stress! I carry my iPod everywhere I go and whack on this playlist when things get too much.
3) One of my biggest stress/worry triggers is disorganisation or when I feel I have so much to do but don’t know where to start. Making lists makes sure that I am on top of what I need to do and when I need to do it (while also satisfying my secret OCD-ness) I’m not talking about lengthly or too in-depth lists, even a simple To Do list in the Memo section in your phone can help calm some flusterdness.
4) I hold my hands up and confess that I am an extreme tea-addict and nothing makes me feel more comforted than sitting in bed in my pjs with a MASSIVE mug of tea. I love all types but I’ve found the best for dealing with my stress monsters has to be green tea. Extremely rich in antioxidants, you are doing your body good and banishing the worries by downing the green stuff. Not a fan of tea?Try some coffee or hot chocolate..whatever it is just make sure it’s decaf!!
5) Perhaps the most obvious of them all but ultimately the most effective: Keep your mind busy!! When things get rough, I’m a sucker for curling up in bed and over-thinking all the worst-case scenarios. This just makes everything so much worse. Recently I’ve been trying to distract myself as soon as I feel a worry creeping up. My personal favourite is to read. Nothing helps more to distract you than reading about another person, life, world. Hours will creep by without you knowing and after you’ll have forgotten what you were worrying about to begin with. Watching a good comedy film or tv series is another good one. Try to steer clear of serious or sad movies as this can only act as a trigger, instead watch a feel good movie. I always reach for my Sex and the City boxset or any Disney movie.
There are of course so many other great stress-relief techniques; going for a walk, joining the gym, yoga, retail therapy, bubble bath, chocolate, calling a good friend, but the ones I chose above are the techniques I find to be personally the most effective for me and the cheapest, They are things that you can do pretty much in any stressful situation or just in times when you feel a tad out of sorts.
Now that we know what to do, we should probably look at the shizz to NOT DO when you find yourself less than calm. Things to avoid include:
- Reaching for the food: a nice comforting treat is nice every now and again but know your limits. Do not make food your stress-relief crutch.
- Making important decisions: When you’re stressed you really aren’t in the best state of mind to be making any rational decisions. Steer cleer of making them until your calm and relaxed again.
- Starting a fight with someone: As tempting as it can be sometimes, try and avoid taking it out on someone else. Not only will it royally piss them off but you’ll feel awful afterwards too. If you feel a fight coming on, walk away and try one of the techniques I suggested earlier on.
- Panicking! : My favourite go-to reaction when I’m stressed is to panic.. It’s become my classic move. There’s no Milk left?!!! That’s it, I better give up now!! … Step away from the situation and look at it for what it really is. Will this matter tomorrow? Next week? Next Year? No?…Then chill!!
- Becoming a recluse!: Don’t push people away when you’re stressed. Let people help you. You’d be surprised at how helpful a little chat with a friend can be or even a big hug. The more time you spend with other people, the less time you have to spend listening to your evil stress thoughts.
Most importantly, remember to SMILE guys,
Okay guys, that’s pretty much all I’ve got. Obviously, I’m not a professional and I’m not promising that these techniques will solve all of your problems but hopefully they’ll help someone out there who finds themselves to be a bit of a Panicky Paula too!
If you have any additional tips or tricks, please share them with me, I’m open to any suggestions and love hearing from all of you!
Right I’m off for a cuppa!
Thanks for reading!