Living in a society driven by so much pressure and demand for excellence we find ourselves overwhelmed by the daily stresses of life. Whilst some individuals seem to cope well under pressure there comes a point where the constant demands on life can be rather tolling on ones health and happiness. Living under constant stress and anxiety is something I am not unfamiliar with. Where I was a once very carefree person I see how over the years the constant challenges and daily demands have affected my day to day life. The anxiety is real, it is hard and a constant reminder of how quickly unbalanced it all becomes.
With work, deadlines, children and finances, the list goes on and on we forget the balance needed in creating a fulfilling life. Instead, what we we manage to achieve is in often creating an unhealthy routine where we focus on the negative aspects of life which often impact on us more than we care to realize. Being a culprit of the very unnecessary stress driven rat race cycle I have spent the past few months exploring various ways at coming back to "basics" of creating some inner peace and balance. Not to say its been an easy process but here I depart with some advice on what has personally helped me in releasing my own day to day stress and anxiety.
1) Take a walk
First and foremost whether it be before or after work, a brisk walk in some sunshine does wonders. Walking outside helps you connect with nature, you get fresh air and it is much needed source of vitamin D. For me personally, taking a walk often helps me process my thoughts. Think about it would you rather be fixated in one spot stuck with dealing with the same issue over and over or would you rather be moving and processing your thoughts in a clearer different environment?
When we in the same spot all day e.g. sitting at your desk, it is almost an entrapping feeling. Therefore changing what you constantly see and hear can certainly help change your thought pattern and help you calm down as you release some pent up energy.
Furthermore taking a walk when things get all too much can help you gain back your sanity especially when "Susan" your colleague goes one step too far. Not to mention - you do not need to be the greatest athlete! It is your moment alone to think and do as you please, at your own time and most importantly at your own pace.
2) Connect with family and friends
This is a rather important point in dealing with our day to day challenges. It is indeed important to be surrounded by understanding family and friends. Often people are unaware of the troubles we have and do not necessarily know how to approach us or to best help us especially when they do not understand the situation. It is hereby important to create some sort of a support system. I am not saying go advertise you problems, but find a select trustworthy number of friends or family in which you can confide in. Someone knowing to you and your situation will be more sympathetic to what you are experiencing and may be more likely to help you overcome your challenges.The idea here is that they will better guide you and support you as and where needed.
Sometimes you just need your friend/s to come pick you up and get you out of your rut. To have a support system especially when some days are harder than most can lessen the weight of the burden you hold.
With this said it is important to not seclude yourself and try accept the opinion of others who may have a different perspective than your own. It is also important that you communicate the exact problem at hand as no one can understand what is happening unless you verbalize it. Sometimes a trustworthy friend can be the best sounding board but will also tell you what you have to hear not necessarily what you want to hear. Respect their opinion and work towards a solution to eliminate your stress.
*If it is hard to approach a friend or family member consider speaking to a therapist or attend a help group session where you can meet people who have dealt with similar concerns such as your own.
Have a cut off time for work and projects. The less we sleep the more it affects our emotions and our performance the next day at work and ultimately the pressure we put on ourselves to finish our day to day tasks. Sleep is restorative and rather necessary, particularly when experiencing high stress and anxiety. The less we sleep the more on edge we tend to be. This is a dangerous downward spiral as with the lack of sleep our tolerance is more noticeably tested. When we sleep better and more, we are refreshed and we have a better ability to cope with challenges hurled at us during the day.
4) Unplug from social media
A crucial point when experiencing high stress and anxiety is largely due to how we perceive social media and our friends and families posts. Here I stress "no ones life is that perfect." When we look at social media, we need to realize that images are framed to look better than what the actual situation is. There is no guarantee that what you are doing is not correct. Moral of the story do not compare yourself to the life of your peers. With this said, a good suggestion to eliminating stress and the perception of "how life should be", is take a few days break from excessive social media use. Check in for your messages now and again and be happy by how you spent your own day not in comparison to someone else's.
5) Read a book/ Listen to music / Watch a TV Series
A rather effective way to also break away and take your mind off things is picking up a book and reading it. It does not have to be a heavy read but a read good enough to get your mind off the mundane routine of chores and work. If you are not much into reading you can always get absorbed in a new TV series or even just create a playlist of songs which will help you forget things for a while.
6) Take up a new hobby
Finding something to look forward to aside from work can also be beneficial to help decrease stress. Going to a dancing class or something even more calming like making pottery for example can help ease away the constant worry. Not to mention, having the ability to bring you into contact with new experiences and exciting new people.
7) Take up a new sporting activity
If you are interested in blowing off just a bit more steam and doing something with a higher intensity, joining a gym class or even a boxing class may help release some pent up frustration. The benefit of participating in a new sporting activity is that it will do wonders to your physical health as well as release all of that stress. Bye bye stress and calories...
8) Take a few days off
I think that another aspect of creating balance may be in the need for us to consciously take days off. It is not healthy to work, work, work with no break. In the end we land up breaking. It is also similarly important that we give ourselves something to look forward to with the aim of not building up more and more pressure. Take a break and give yourself some time away from work, whether it be a few quite days at home or a holiday on the beach. When we happy and healthy we perform at our best. Therefore it is imperative to know when we need just a few days off to recoup and carry on with what is needed.
You need this time for yourself.
9) Pamper yourself
Another important thing we need to learn to do more for ourselves is too look after ourselves and our appearance. When we look good we tend to feel good. Along with the previous point it is important to maintain and treat ourselves well every once in a while. It is a way to pick ourselves up. Your aim is to be your best possible self despite your circumstances.
So yes have that massage, get rid of those knots, look to relax and have that bubble bath. Everything will be as you left it.
10) Seek medical attention
It is important to note that when we overwhelm ourselves with stress and worry it is sometimes necessary to receive a little extra help. If the above suggestions do not help, there is no shame in acknowledging and taking the extra step to seek professional help. Medical experts are better equip at providing you with the necessary care required to get you where you need and want to be. They are there to help, so utilize this avenue should you need it.
The demands created by day to day stress are forever building up but it is how we engage with our problems which ultimately influences our anxiety and the way we cope with it. The calmer we are the easier tasks become. Though it is not easy to deal with stress and the anxiety it causes, we can look at mechanisms that help ease the difficult days to make them simply more manageable and tolerable. It is a hard lesson to learn but something to practice in achieving in creating an healthier balance between our obligations and the way we wish to live.
Stay motivated and do not let life get you down.
Till next time,