I’ve talked about stress before, but except for a post last month where I talked about how not to be stressed at a stressful job (read it here), I realized I’ve never done a post on how I handle my stress.
So let’s change that this week! I’m pretty stressed because of everything I have coming up. Now is the perfect time to talk about the way I handle stress.
- Keep a to-do list- I didn’t always used to be a list person, but now I love them. I mention this all the time, but I keep one on my laptop that I update every week, even now while I’m student teaching. It really helps me to manage my time and energies.
- Divide and minimize as much as possible- There is currently a sticky note on my clipboard at school for a teaching thing that I need to get done. It’s divided up into each individual task. But let me tell you, it feels good to be able to cross things off, even if it is just one little thing at a time. I can really see what’s getting done, and I recognize the progress I’m making.
- Prioritize!!!- I currently put my thesis on hold this week so I can get my teaching stuff done that I need to. As much as I want to get back into the realm of research and writing, I know that this needs to take a backseat until I can finish the teaching stuff.
- Knock out small tasks- If it takes a short time, then do it almost immediately. I had some powdered makeup that broke this past week. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix (some rubbing alcohol and remold it into the container), but we actually didn’t have rubbing alcohol in my house right now. I had a meeting yesterday, so I couldn’t fix it. Today on my way home, though, I stopped to pick up some and fixed my makeup. It took five minutes, and now that’s out of my head.
- Keep your space cleaned- I have gotten to the point where my room being messy bothers me (and if you know me, you know this is a huge deal because my room used to be BAD). I had neglected it for almost two weeks, and I finally just took most of Sunday to just clean it up. My desk at school stays organized, and all my books for my thesis are together. I don’t know about you, but I definitely feel better when my space is organized and cleaned.
- Don’t overwhelm yourself!- This is probably the most important!!! You will not accomplish everything in one day or one period of time. Your stress will not immediately go away. Take it slow and do what you can, which brings me to my next point…
- Survive the best way you know how.- Everyone handles stress differently. Many people eat their stress, and I and others starve themselves when they stress. In my case, it’s never to a point where it’s unhealthy, but it could easily be for an extended period of time. Another common symptom of stress is either too much sleep or insomnia. So when I say to survive, that usually means doing the opposite of your reaction to stress. I’ve forced myself to eat before because I know I won’t otherwise. Whatever you do, continue to survive, even with your stress.
- Continually drink water- This one can be a little funny. Why should drinking water be counted as a way I handle stress? Your body and brain does better when you’re hydrated, providing you more energy and alertness.
- Play upbeat music- I literally have a playlist on Spotify called “Get it Done”. There’s not really a slow, sad, or romantic song on this list. It’s all upbeat stuff. It’s my go-to when I’m working out, cleaning something, or trying to get a lot done. Speaking of working out…
- Get moving!- To quote Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Just like drinking water, your body does better when you’re active and moving. I try to do a daily workout. I also try to dance when I’m really stressed, which always reminds me how much I love dancing. I also pace, especially when I’m thinking through a problem. Whatever your way to move is, get to it!
- Take breaks- Again, you won’t accomplish everything at once. Don’t run yourself ragged. Take care of yourself and allow yourself to have fun. But on that note…
- Stay off your phone!- If you are actively trying to accomplish things to lower your stress, don’t get distracted by your phone. I know it’s easy to do, but it doesn’t end well. Fortunately, there are a number of apps that have a consequence for you being on your phone (Forest is my favorite!). Utilize them.
- Lastly, understand that you will get through this- Every time I find myself dealing with large amounts of stress, I try to remind myself of all the things I have made it through. I’ve dealt with a lot of stress in my life, and I’ve made it through each and every one!
I hope these help! What works for me may not work for you, and that’s okay. What matters is that you deal with it in your way to become a better version of you!