Stress and its Best Kept Secret
Let's face it, the last couple of years haven't been kind to anyone. Odds are we're all stressed, and that's to be expected. So for those of us who have been feeling like we're alone in our worries, have no fear. We know stress's best-kept secret.
You Can Beat It
It almost sounds too simple to say, but it's mind over matter. Stress thrives when we don't keep it in check. Unfortunately for us, it's easy to forget about checking in with yourself, and it's even easier to procrastinate, give in to anxious thoughts, and cope in unhealthy ways.
It's not "easy" to change the way you think, but here are some things to help minimize or alleviate some stress throughout the day.
If you can feel the stress building:
Self check-ins. Some people may need to check in with themselves every hour, some people may only need to do this once a day. Regardless, it's something you can try in less than 30 seconds.
Stop doing whatever you're preoccupied with, take a breath and ask yourself: "What am I thinking?", "What am I feeling?", "Based on what I'm feeling/thinking, are my priorities aligning?"
From there, you might be able to jump right back into work or school. But if you realize that stress is becoming present, it may be helpful to write a list of tasks, reorganize your priorities for the day, schedule a break, etc.
Whatever you need to do in order to have control over your day is totally acceptable and your mind will appreciate you for it.
If you're already stressed and it's becoming overwhelming:
Take a break. We all need one. It's healthy for our physical and mental well-being to do so. A break as small as 5 minutes is even beneficial.
Breathe (I know we've all heard this before). But what people really mean when they say this is intentional, slow, deep breaths. Timing and controlling your breath can lower your heart rate and help you think clearer. Breathing will not "get rid" of your stress, but it can help get you to a mental place where you feel more capable of addressing the stress.
Practice some self-care. For some people it's journaling, for others it's reading, and for some, it's throwing on a face mask -- really doesn't matter. Self-care is whatever you enjoy and makes you feel grounded.
Practicing stress management is key to staying about the stress!