Stress is something that plagues more people than we think. I used to have the perception that stress was a momentary thing, caused by something. I didn’t realize that stress can consume your life in a way that affects absolutely everything else around you. The older I get the more I see stress and anxiety apparent in other people’s lives as well, leading me to believe stress is a huge issue. This may sound bad but sometimes I take comfort in the fact that others stress out, too. It makes me feel less of a hot mess to know I’m not alone. Does anyone else feel like that sometimes?
Often times stress causes me to have the worst cramps ever. Like I’m PMSing kinda cramps. I sleep terribly, have awful repetitive dreams (often relating to what I’m stressed about), and find my overall demeanor to be shaky and on edge. Is anyone familiar with that tight feeling in the pit of your stomach? Or how about a tense body? Or what about holding your breath and not realizing it? These side effects are my anxiety.
Yeah…allllll stress induced. Sometimes I don’t even know I’m stressing out until I notice some of these physical side effects. It’s scary, really, because if I’m stressed subconsciously it makes me feel like I cannot control it. The thing that bothers me the most about being stressed is the fact that sometimes it’s something so small, so insignificant that I wish my body / mind wouldn’t allow it to affect me. The one positive I see in all of this is the fact that I’m aware of my stresses and anxiety. Even if it takes me a minute to realize it, I make a conscious effort to control it and stop it.
See below for how I handle my stress and anxiety.
HOW I DEAL WITH STRESS + ANXIETY:
–Lavender. As in, the essential oil. I’m not big on taking baths, but I absolutely love using lavender to soothe me. A few drops of it rubbed under my nose, temples, and forehead instantly zaps any immediate anxiety. It might be a temporary fix, but it’s all-natural, which is just fine by me. When I first tried to get Paul to use my lavender trick for his stress and anxiety, he felt nothing. He couldn’t see how it helped me. The thing is, you have to associate mental stillness and tranquility with the scent. It’s not effective unless you train your mind to process lavender in that way. Sure, you could probably do that with any scent, but lavender is used for aromatherapy to cure insomnia, depression, and anxiety, which coincides perfectly with my issues.
-Drink tea. It’s easy to run to the fridge for some wine when you’re stressed but in reality alcohol can make it worse. Instead, I drink lots of mint tea with fresh mint leaves floating in my teacup. Tea has a soothing effect as is, but the mint really invigorates my senses.
-Get a massage. It doesn’t need to be an expensive one. There’s lots of places that do inexpensive, one-hour massages that will get the job done. But allowing yourself an hour (or more) of uninterrupted quiet time will do wonders for your body and mind.
–Go outside. Whether you take a walk, go to the park, or just get some sunshine in your yard, inhaling some fresh air can have a really calming effect. You can also take this time to really reflect on your problems and decide how you want to confront them.
-Listen to music. For me music sets the whole mood. If I need to decompress and de-stress I listen to uplifting music. If music has the opposite effect on you, try a zen or acoustic playlist on Spotify.
-Talk it out. Sometimes all you need is to talk it out with someone who will actually listen. I tend to internalize my emotions but if something is really giving me anxiety I will hash out all the details to really see if it’s something worth stressing over or if I’m giving myself unnecessary anxiety. Most of the time there is a solution and I don’t need to be stressing, but I don’t always realize that until I’ve vocalized it.
-Turn off the phone. When I am overwhelmed with work or personal stuff and I hear the sound of a text coming in it sends me through the roof. Obviously the sender has no clue that I’m stressed or busy or in the middle of something, but if I am caught in one of those moments and actually reply, it’s most likely going to come off very bitchy. So, I’ve learned that when I’m in the zone, or in the middle of something I need to focus on, or just overwhelmed with a lot on my plate, I turn my phone on silent and face it down. Of course, doing that gives me a whole new reason to have anxiety because what if there is an emergency and someone needs to reach me, right? So, because of that, I do this for no more than 1-hour at a time, and allow myself a few minutes to check my phone in between tasks.
-Work out. Forget my physical health for one second, my mental health highly depends on exercise to stay sane. Sometimes when I’m stressed I push exercise to the back burner since I clearly have other things to do / focus on, but really it just prolongs my anxiety. Working out regularly takes my mind off my stresses for a while and the positive energy sort of resets my mindset, making it much easier to cope with stress.
I would love to know if any of you feel the same, and if so, how you cope with your stress and / or anxiety.