“The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking.” – Wayne Dyer
Hellooo friends! It is officially that time of year. The time when midterms start rolling around, when the summer paychecks are slowly disappearing, when your to-do list piles up so high you neglect it all; when the changing weather brings a changing reality that can bring stress and anxiety. Probably in agreement with the rest of the world, I absolutely hate feeling overwhelmed and it quickly can turn into a vicious cycle of always feeling exhausted and behind the game. To help others steer clear of the stress/anxiety trap, I thought I’d share a few ways that help me stay calm & collected under pressure!
So this is probably the most obvious and well documented stress reliever out there; but sometimes when I feel so busy, exercising is the first thing I want to cut out of my schedule. That’s incredibly counter productive though, because of all the obvious benefits it has. Exercise doesn’t mean you have to get a yoga membership or run a marathon, just literally anything that gets you moving and your endorphins going. It’s a fabulous way to momentarily get your mind off of things and later on give you better mental clarity. So when I’m in a time crunch I do HIIT exercises, which give the same (if not better) results, in a shorter amount of time. Or if it’s not time-related, just laziness; I’ll make sure to do 8 minute abs or walk a few miles just to feel like I did something good for my body.
Okay, some people still think of meditation as a monk sitting cross legged saying “hummmm”. That’s not really the case. Meditation is becoming more and more commonplace in today’s society and for a very good reason. A lot of the most intelligent and successful people of this world swear by it, and literally anyone is capable of practicing it. The benefits are endless, but it begins with becoming more calm and focused in your daily life. A great place to start is the Headspace App, or any guided meditation audio on youtube or podcasts. When I’m feeling emotionally stressed, meditation is my favorite way to get some clarity and peace of mind. That being said, it’s most absolutely a work in progress for me. I still find it easier to dedicate an hour to exercising than ten minutes to meditation, not sure why, but like I said I’m working on it!
Now this is something that won’t resonate with everyone, but personally I find that reading poetry and meditation have very similar effects. Since I can sometimes be too scatterbrained to meditate, focusing on poetry helps clear my mind. I always have a book of poetry by my bedside that I crack open and fall asleep while reading and/or wake up and read to get my day started. Alsoooo an added benefit is getting me off my phone before bed, which is a v bad habit of our generation. My current favorite is the best seller, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. Another favorite I read this summer was She Walks in Beauty by Caroline Kennedy. Again, not for everyone, but if poetry is your jam or you’re just curious, I suggest trying it out!
This is a crazy easy way to rejuvenate your brain and reinstall happiness in your life! When I start noticing sadness or boredom or a general lack of excitement for life, it’s often correlated with not utilizing creativity in my routine. Everyone’s creative ability is different, so how this is gone about greatly varies. For me, a few channels of creativity are this blog (duh), fashion, photography, DIY, writing, and even doodling in my class notebooks. Here’s a great list of tips to exercise creativity (even for the people who claim to be ‘non-creatives’).
Strategic to-do lists
Lastly, my most productive way of staying on top of life is creating strategic to-do lists every day. When I wake up I think about all the things I want to get done that day and write them down on my bedside journal. Since I tend to have an issue with being overconfident in my daily abilities and list too many things, I then label the top two or three things that I need to get done, and the rest is optional and will roll over to the next day if I don’t get it done. (I seriously write things like “nap” and “facetime this person” on my to-do lists, so it’s not the end of the world if they aren’t done that day). At night I cross off what I’ve done and as long as the 2-3 things have been completed, I’m a happy camper! This method works really well because it’s different than your typical to-do list; which can be a really daunting and discouraging task to write down everything that needs to get done in a weeks time. By prioritizing only 2-3 things daily, it’s a lot easier to accomplish your goals for the day, and if you do more than that, its an added bonus!
Obviously I don’t do everything on this list every single day, but these are my classic go-to’s when I’m feelin #stressed. Try incorporating some of these into your stressful/anxiety ridden situations and let me know how it goes 🙂