I’ve got a bit of a different post for you today. The last few years have been stressful for me for a variety of reasons, probably no different to anyone else’s life stresses but mine has obviously been building up and has recently made me ill. I might share more about this in future but for now I’ve been searching for ways to help me deal with the stress and recover, hopefully in a few months it will have gone away!
I’ve been writing this post for a while now but decided with it being Mental Health Week it is time to share my ideas and see if you have any you can share with me too. I’ve put together a list of things that have helped me the last few months and might help you too, so here’s my top 10:
1) Do what you love – Obviously the first thing you should do is make the time to do the things you enjoy and take some time out, whatever that is – dancing, shopping, reading or white water rafting, there is something you enjoy that you can do to take your mind off things and distract you.
However part of this is also learning to say no. Saying no to doing things that you don’t really want to spend your time doing is also ok, so maybe it’s time to be honest and stop doing things that will actually make you feel more uncomfortable.
2) Go outside – sit in the sun, take a pet for a walk or just go out and wander by yourself with some music. I have a Fitbit and try to get my 10k steps everyday, so this motivates me to get outside, cut the grass in the garden or even a walk to the shop for some essentials to get your Vitamin D.
3) Write a wishlist/bucket list/goals list – I like Pinterest for lots of reasons, mostly for the pretty pictures but realistically it allows me to make boards for literally anything you can think of and pin anything to them. Our travel board is monstrously big, because if I had the money I’d travel all over the world, so effectively I make a big wishlist of all the places I would go. You can see this below:
4) Clean, tidy and upcycle – I don’t know about you but I’m generally not a tidy person, I’m not messy but things accumulate (I’m borderline a hoarder…) and need tidying every now and then, and when I do get around to it I feel so much better! It’s productive but not too taxing, I like the smell of cleaning products and love having mini projects like upcycling with chalk paints. This is kind of a hobby thing again but making something gives me something to distract me and I have something to show for it at the end, I feel productive and therefore feel better.
5) Have a bath or a pamper – I don’t know about you but I always feel better when (I think) I look better. Being clean, having freshly washed hair, using a scented moisturiser and painting my nails makes me feel a lot better about myself. It’s probably a lot to do with thinking I look better but also distracts you from whatever you were thinking about too.
6) Do some exercise – whatever exercise you like, but I find unless it is physically tough it isn’t enough to distract me from my worries, so I need a hard class. Sometimes I can only face a walk outside in the evenings, so this is what I do. Other times I like to do a class at the gym such as Body Pump and then go in the gym afterwards for some extra cardio, abs and stretching. Other times I feel like hiking up a mountain, so do whatever you feel like but exercise helps me to burn off some of the stress in a healthy way.
7) Sleep – I absolutely never feel guilty having a nap on a weekend when I’m tired. Sleep is great and although I don’t have any issues getting to sleep mine can be broken so it isn’t the best quality, meaning I’m always tired.
Have a few early nights, try lavender oils and see if you can catch up and wake up feeling a bit more refreshed.
8) Try a new project or hobby or travel to a new place – briefly mentioned above, but trying something new is a great way to destress. Just by having something to distract you and having to concentrate on finding your way somewhere new, talking to new like-minded people and trying something you haven’t before.
I try and get out as much as possible but also love a quiet night in – one hobby I have is papercutting (see the image above) and I try and make one every now and then to give me something to concentrate on. It means my house is covered in them too!
Even if you don’t want to venture out or meet new people, try a new book, see if you like colouring, give gardening a go – there are so many things you are bound to find something you life! Maybe even set up your own blog – who cares if no one reads it, it’s there for you!
9) There is absolutely no under-estimating the power of food and drink – for me a cup of tea can work wonders (and a piece of homemade cake too). I wouldn’t advise stuffing your face with every sweet thing you can get your hands on, but even if you do as long as it’s not every day there’s no issue!
Take a break, have a cup of tea and start again.
10) Prepare – every weekend I plan for the next week. I wash my clothes and pack my gym bag, plan my evenings after work (catching up with friends, blog events and gym classes) and cook food for the week. I’ve done this for years now and always prep my lunches and evening meals by batch cooking on the weekends.
At the moment, due to being pretty much vegetarian (I eat salmon because I’m struggling to get my protein levels right at the moment) this means preparing meals from scratch as I normally would anyway, but requires a bit more care and attention to new recipes and ideas. It’s a great distraction from anything else that’s bothering me so I’ve been throwing myself into trying new vegetarian and vegan meals. I’ll update and do a full post on this soon!
So those are my tips, what do you think? Do you have any additional ideas?
How do you manage stress?