When I was in high school it was really the first time I felt like I had to start dealing with stress. When I came to college, that changed dramatically. My stress levels went through the roof and I knew something had to be done. We all deal with stress differently and we all have stresses from different things in our lives. It can be demanding jobs, being a mom, a wife, financials, but whatever the case, we can’t let it consume our lives.
Stress eats away at us. It ages us, gives us higher risks of disease, and mentally drains us. So what do we do? Well, these are some of the things over the years I have found that help me deal with stress.
1. Manage your tasks
The thing that has helped me deal with stress the most is, by far, learning to manage everything I have to do. Most of the time, we all know what we have to get done. Yes, sometimes things slip through the cracks, but we know when a project at work is due, when the house needs cleaned, when we have meetings, when we have to get our kids.
For me, this would look like, okay I have a lab report, I have to go grocery shopping, I have to clean my house, I have to do homework assignments, I have to plan out my blog content for the week, and I have to remember to give the dog his flea and tick treatment all on Sunday…. This stresses me out like no other. Here’s the thing, earlier in the week, I knew I had all of those things to do. I know when I’m going to run out of food and when I usually clean my house on Sundays. If I get stressed, I just move stuff around.
When this happens I have to think about what MUST get done. Do I have to do this today? Can I put this off till tomorrow or the next few days when I don’t have as much to do? When you prioritize and manage all that you have to do, you take a lot of stress off your plate.
2. Schedule time to do nothing
When you’re thinking about all the tasks you have to do in a week, schedule some time where you have nothing to do. Schedule time to watch Netflix, stare at your wall, do whatever you want. This is time where you have no obligation, no responsibilities. You can use this time to get ahead on some things, pay your bills, or other productive things as well. Sometimes having that buffer time built into your days can help you make up for time lost. It’s always good to have more time on your hands than not enough.
3. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best
We never know what’s going to happen to us in life. Seasons of life come and go and all we can do is try to be as prepared as possible for what we can’t expect. When it comes to stress, we can try to prepare to avoid it. Financially, we can save money, don’t rack up money on credit cards, and pay our bills on time. With responsibilities, have a back up plan, put extra time in for travel, bring a snack, water your plant if you think you didn’t.
If you expect the worst, you can only be as prepared as possible. That doesn’t mean you’re going to avoid every bad situation, but at least you can avoid some unnecessary stress from unexpected situations.
When the stress inevitably hits, we all will have to get through it. In the moment, it’s not take a few breaths and move on. It’s get through the stress and deal with the aftermath. We’ve all been there crying or screaming or a combination of the two, overwhelmed with life. After the storm has passed, we all can take some time to go to the gym, a yoga class, cook a nice meal, do a face mask, read some poetry, watch The Office for the 9th time, relax.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. We can try to avoid it, manage it, but in reality, we have to make the best of a crappy situation. I hope these weren’t obvious things for you guys and that they can bring some ease into your lives. I know when stress started to hit me hard, I gained weight, I cried myself to sleep, but it was just a season. It took me awhile to learn to deal with stress this way and I feel like now I’m in a better place because of it. I hope this can help the same for you.