We’re humans; this is what we do. We worry about what may or may not happen and try to stop the inevitable. I am notorious for falling into the bad habit of stressing over things that aren’t very important or situations that I can’t control. Usually it will start off small, something I need to take care of at work, but soon I’m envisioning all the things that could possibly go wrong. Even as I’m writing this I noticed an unfamiliar spot on my hand that I immediately thought was the onset of some sort of skin issue (I soon realized it was a mark left from wearing my watch).
This amount of stress and my uncontrollable urge to fall victim to it usually happens during the winter months when I’m cooped up in small room only to travel to a small office and repeat the pattern every day. As the days begin warming up and actually going outside for longer than 20 minutes is an option I can finally take the time to relax and de-stress in a world where anxiety and quick responses are valued.
WORKING OUT. I’ve decided that the best place to start is with working out. Sure, everyone always says they want to start working out again, as though it is this perpetual state of being that is always strived for (“I work out at least 3 times a week and always follow it up with a protein shake.”) but can never quite be achieved. We are all in the constant stage of becoming gym rats, but never make it to the gym. However, after a bit of extensive research on stress management and the physical implications, I’ve discovered that working out is the best way to manage your cortisone levels that, if in imbalance, can lead to many physical problems. I have experienced those and know that things are much better when I maintain a regular work out routine. Even just going for walks during the week can be enough to balance your hormones and settle your mind.
BREATHING. Seems easy enough, right? Well, I may have been doing it wrong all these years. Sure, breathing is meant for your basic survival, but also as a technique to calm your body and ease your mind. I can honestly say that I have never taken a moment to just sit and focus on my breathing—not through all of university and not through my slowly progressing career life. Another big goal along with some sort of physical activity every day is to use my breathing whenever I feel overwhelmed or flustered instead of taking it for granted.
MAINTENANCE. I am fairly low maintenance on a daily basis. Work doesn’t necessarily make me want to dress to the nines, nor does my office expect impeccable makeup and hair. We are all people doing a job and know the social rules of dressing in an office environment. However, taking the time every morning to do my hair and put on whatever little make up I wear has done wonders in changing my mood throughout the day. Usually, I will hit snooze 2 or 3 times on my alarm before getting up, leaving me only a little while to get ready and eat breakfast. Now that I’ve taken the initiative to get up earlier getting ready for work doesn’t feel as awful. It also makes the rest of the day more enjoyable—I actually feel comfortable in my outfit because I took the time to choose it and not haphazardly throw something on in order to catch the bus.
Do you have any stress management tips?