Have you ever been in a situation where you feel overwhelmed by endless to-do-lists and don’t know where to begin?
Have you found yourself feeling really anxious and saying ‘omg! I feel stressed out!’?
For me, last week was one of those weeks where I just wanted to be on a beach drinking a cocktail. To say the least, I was feeling rather stressed for a number of different reasons. Sometimes life can become overwhelming, but that little voice inside of me never fades and reminds me that things can only get better!
When I stress I crave junk food, usually eat way more than my body can take and my face ends up looking like one of my sons advanced dot to dot books. Can you relate? Argh!
Last Tuesday I was watching my Instagram stories and Alice Judge-Talbot (founder of More Than Toast) posted an Instagram story which showed her walking down the street at just after 8am in the morning and she greeted her followers with this line:
“Good Morning… argh… I’ve just stepped over some poo!”
I absolutely loved this simply because I felt as if I was the poor soul who had managed to step in the poo! Alice’s video made me reflect on what was causing me to feel stressed and motivated me to think about what steps I needed to take so more of my days involved the feeling of stepping over poo rather than in it!
Whether it is work, family, finances, relationships or your kids driving you insane, managing stress is very important for your mental wellbeing. Poor stress management could lead to a mental health breakdown, but this risk could be reduced by using effective stress management techniques.
So what is stress?
To me, stress is an overwhelming feeling that is brought on by having too much to do and no where near enough time to get everything done. Stress is also brought on by spending hours on end tidying up and then releasing a child into a tidy space, which then turns into a demolition site in less than 5 minutes.
Mind UK describes stress as:
- Situations or events that put pressure on us – for example, times where we have lots to do and think about or don’t have much control over what happens.
- Our reaction to being placed under pressure – the feelings we get when we have demands placed on us that we find difficult to cope with.
How can we deal with stress?
Often, knowing where to start is the hardest part when trying to deal with any type of stress. Try and pin point what it is that you feel stressed about and following these easy steps as they may help with addressing and managing your stress. They work for me!
1. Make a list!
I am a very visual person and I like to take things out of my head and write them on a list of some description, whether that is electronic or on paper. This helps me to have a record of the ‘baggage’ I am carrying in my head.
Prioritise your tasks so you can get them done in an orderly fashion. Once you have completed a task, cross it off the list, I mean REALLY cross it off. The sense of completion is satisfying, even if you still have 99 other things to do.
2. Take time out from stress causes and contributors
You probably looked at the featured image for this post and thought ‘why on earth has she chosen a woman with a lollipop?’. Well, I chose that picture because I felt as if the lady was taking a moment to herself to enjoy her lollipop which is something I feel is very essential when we are stressed; we need to just take a moment to ourselves and breathe! Do you agree?
Whether it is your work schedule or maybe your kids, you need to take time out from the things that are causing you to feel stressed in order to refuel. It was just my luck that on the day I felt the most stressed, my son decided to throw a massive tantrum because I wouldn’t let him have sweets before his dinner. On this particular day, he was beyond tired and I was on a mission to get him to bed before I could properly unwind. Once he was in bed, I had adequate time to refuel my mum power.
3. Relax!! Well at least try to
Can you picture a steamy bath with rose petals and dim lighting? I can’t be assed with all of that because I hate being in a hot bath for more than 5 minutes! But I always feel relaxed once I shower and it gives my body an opportunity to be still. Often slowing down is what can help lower our stress levels.
Relaxation involves breathing and unwinding. Getting enough oxygen into your lungs seems such an obvious thing to say, but often when we are stressed, we have increased heart rates and rapid breathing. Try and take slow and deep breaths to relax your body even further.
4. Watch or read something you enjoy or get some exercise
Everyone has something they enjoy whether it is going to the gym, watching TV soaps, reading a good novel or eating chocolate. What I am trying to say here is that you need to find something that you enjoy. Going for a walk to the shops to buy chocolate usually helps me! Also watching TV or getting engrossed in a good book helps to take my mind off of a stressful day. Whatever it is that you enjoy, do that!
5. Get a good nights sleep
I hope these simple tips have been useful for you to identify what is causing you stress and effectively deal with it. To be fair, the information above is all common sense but quite honestly, when you are stressed, sometimes common sense can go out of the window. That has definitely been the case for me in the past.