How to De-Stress
As much as we might wish it to be possible, staying calm and collected, happy and bubbly all the time just is not going to happen. Life loves to throw us curve balls and drown us with everything it has got all at once. Those days when you are lost in a head funk, endless thoughts takeover and you are sent into an over drive… are completely normal. You are normal! We all have them, it is just what we do about it that makes a difference. Thinking, “Yep, it’s just going to be a horrible, stressful week.”, and continuing towards a downward spiral is just going to end in an emotional nightmare. From going through many of these days, and still am, I have learnt to notice the warning signs for when I am heading towards a negative mental state. Through time I have found ways to relieve the stress and overthinking, and therefore have been able to turn a bad moment, into “Me Time” to relax and listen, rather than burning out and enduring a tortuous, emotional week. I hope you can find something within these 5 tips that you can incorporate into your own lives, knowing that emotions are normal, and it is what we do about it that changes everything.
1. Slow Down
When you feel like you have so many things to do and not enough time, stop. You can end up losing yourself when you think about job after job after job. Do not turn into that monster. Stop. Start your first task, but do it as slow as possible. Soon enough you will have finished your task and be already on to the next. When you stress and try to do everything as quickly as possible, errors are made, things break, you stub your toe and end up sending emails with spelling mistakes. Take your time, put in a little extra effort to do it right, to your best ability, and you will be more pleased with the outcome.
2. Eat a decent, nourishing meal
Sometimes we get emotional or have mood swings because we have been working so hard that we forget to nourish ourselves properly. Our bodies are crying out for a home cooked, flavourful and nutritious meal. Listen to your cravings, what is your body asking for? Take your time in the supermarket to source out the best ingredients and fresh produce. Spoil yourself a little. Spend a bit of extra time to prepare your meal. Put on some music and chop up all of your ingredients slowly, sing to your favourite songs and use a range of different herbs and spices to fill your house with wonderful aromas. Make sure you incorporate every colour on to your plate. Create a beautiful dish, nearly too good to eat. Add something crunchy, do you have nuts or seeds in the pantry? Put some extra avocado on the side and poor a little too much dressing on. Be proud of what you have made for yourself. Take you plate outside, or on to the kitchen table. Eat slowly. Taste all the different flavours, feel all the different textures. Be happy with what you created and all of this good food you are putting into your body. You can see the wholesome ingredients on the plate, you can smell the fresh produce, and you can taste the goodness in every mouthful.
3. Light exercise
You might be feeling sluggish, over whelmed, or tired, and that you do not have any time to do anything else besides get your list of chores done. But what is the point in pushing yourself to breaking point? Give yourself a well deserved break. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin which actually improves your mood, whilst also pumping blood to the brain, making you think more clearly. By exercise, I do not mean punishing yourself at the gym with a strenuous HIIT session. Exercise can be as simple as going for a walk, stretching, doing yoga or riding your bike. This gets you out in the world, helping to reduce any feelings of loneliness or isolation, when you have locked yourself away in your room all day trying to get your work done. Walk down your favourite street, take your dog to the park, drive to the coast, or stroll down your favourite shopping mall to do some window shopping. This gives you a chance to not only get your body moving, but to declutter your thoughts and to focus on what really matters, YOU.
4. Go to the beach
The soothing sounds of the waves crashing, the feeling of sand between your toes and the view of open ocean and a blue horizon. This is my favourite way to de-stress, going to the beach. I know that not everyone may live near the coast. But this peace of mind and sense of calm, comes from the open space and soothing sounds. This can be found at parks with birds chirping, surrounded by tall trees and open grass. Even at your local basketball court, school oval or city square. Listen for those sounds of peace. The sound of the breeze making the branches of the trees sway and the leaves fall on the ground. The noise of cars driving past or people cycling on their bikes. Listen closely. Think about the sounds and only the sounds. If you can not find an open space without chaotic noise, put in your earphones and listen to your favourite music. Shut your eyes, or lay down and look up at the sky. Find that open space, that clear space, clearing your mind.
5. Write in a journal
Sometimes it can become very difficult to actually understand what it is going on in your mind. Thought after thought, overlapping, jumping from one scenario to the next and becoming more negative, more stressed. Writing makes it a lot easier to articulate those chaotic thoughts, and why you are having them. You might not even be stressing about your work load. Your job could just be an excuse, your blame for a bad mood that has actually been created, and ongoing from something in your personal life and relationships. Writing down your emotions allows you to get to the root cause, which is especially beneficial if you do not feel comfortable enough to express yourself to someone else. Buy a beautiful journal and beautiful pen, write down the first thing that comes to your head. It does not have to make sense. Just write. Continue to write. Let everything out. Never too short, or too long. It may not be easy at first, but give it time. Your journal will become your best friend.
So there you go. These are the tricks that I incorporate into my own life, on a daily basis for anytime I start to feel overwhelmed, down or stressed. When I notice these emotions arise, I stop and listen to my body. Am I hungry? Am I tired? I make a big meal with lots of green salad leaves, lots of hearty vegetables and a delicious salad dressing. After making my stomach happy, I take a nap to re-energise and relax myself. Once feeling well rested, I change into my favourite leggings and favourite walking shoes, drive to my favourite beach with Meeko and go for a walk. When we have reached a beautiful spot I sit down facing the ocean and open my journal. When I arrive back home I feel a lot clearer, motivated and happy to continue to achieve my goals.