If there’s one thing we all have to go through in life, it’s dealing with stress. So what better way to figuring it out than by sharing my process with others!
After many circumstances of being anxious and overwhelmed, I finally realized that the first step is acknowledging the problem – I am stressed out. I repeat it to myself, like a mantra. My body and my mind need to align themselves and become aware of what I’m going through. And when that happens, I can start dealing with it.
I honestly never thought much about self-care until recently. In the last year or so, I’ve started learning about what works best for me, and that will be different for everyone.
Not sure what self-care is all about? Check out this post about Why Self Care Is So Important. To put it simply, it just means taking care of yourself, making yourself a priority in your every day life. Sometimes that means a lot of different things, so it’s important to try to think about what self care practices are ideal for you.
Here’s a list of my favourite self-care practices:
- Taking time to be alone
- Being able to say no
- Making lists
- Chocolate – not in an excessive way, just as a treat
- Cuddling – both with my kitty and Max
- Cleaning & Getting rid of stuff
- Grocery Shopping
- Knitting & Crochet
- Netflix – especially watching great sitcoms like Friends
The idea of self-care is fantastic as a whole, but it’s not always easy to do if you don’t understand or aren’t able to prioritize. Not everyone has the same priorities in their lives, and that’s quite alright. I think that priorities are just as unique for each person as self-care practices are, so it might take time and effort to figure out what are your specific priorities, and what they mean to you.
Personally, the things that I prioritize the most are healthy eating, getting enough sleep, staying active, being creative, making time to relax and unwind, and doing what makes me happy. Those are the things I know I need to focus on when I’m feeling stressed, because they help me get to a better place. Some of them even lead to some of my favourite self-care practices, because really, they’re all connected.
Have you ever thought about what your priorities are? Do you stay true to them in your every day life? Do you try to concentrate on them when everything feels overwhelming?
I ask myself those questions now, and the answer isn’t always yes. But now that I’ve taken time to think about my priorities, how I look at them, and what they mean to me, I know I can deal with my stress a little bit better every day.
I think one of the most important aspects of dealing with stress is managing it. We live in a world where stress doesn’t really go away, and we need to be able to deal with it at certain times. (Don’t get me wrong, there are still times when I can’t handle it all – and that’s OK too.)
Managing your stress is nothing like managing your time. It’s not planned or organized, and it’s very specific to every circumstance or type of stress. Stress management, from my perspective, means living with your stress, letting it be a part of your life, in a way that you can handle it. You learn through different experiences how to cope, how to recognize, how to accept, and how to live despite your stress.
I hope that if you are going through some stressful times, you know that you are not alone, you know that there are ways you can help yourself, even if they are tiny minuscule efforts, even if you feel like you aren’t helping yourself. Take time to breathe. Take time to cry, or freak out, or go through whatever it is you are going through. Take time to be you, in your best moments, and in your worst.