Hi, it’s me, the queen of stress. ha, ha.
If you caught the fake in that laugh, you’re prob right, because I tell you now, today I am stressed. I’ve caught myself going down this rabbit hole for a few weeks now, and I’ve kind of been lax to stop it.
Usually, I am really good about practicing consistent self-care throughout the work week, but over the past 2-3 weeks, I’ve felt like I don’t have an “off” button. The holidays are right around the corner, which means that it’s a very busy time for marketers. The account I work on currently is ramping up, and I, in turn, am ramping up what my own expectations are of my work performance. So, I’ve been coming home feeling too exhausted to write, and a few posting days have come and gone in the meantime. That, and I caught mild food poisoning last weekend (long story), and so honestly the blog has not been my first priority.
I think if there was ever a post to get back on track with, this is it. Chronic stress is an unfortunate reality for many full time workers, with nearly 90 percent of surveyed workers stating that they felt moderate to severe stress “most of the time”(according to a survey I read recently from CNBC).
Do you guys realize what that means? That means that almost all of us are stressed almost all of the time. I can’t articulate how not okay that is, just as much as I can’t give the magic pill solution for it, though I would certainly love to. But I can mitigate the negative effects through stress relief and stress management techniques. And because I love my job (well, I love what I do and who I work alongside), and I love myself (hold your applause for the end), it’s so important that I get started on de-stressing myself, right away.
So, without further ado, here are my top tips for stress relief!
1. Remove yourself from a stressor
I have been bad about taking breaks at work. I’m going to metaphorically slap my own self on the wrist for this one, because sitting at your desk, literally staring your stress in the face, for 8 hours a day, is super bad. You have to be able to physically remove yourself from a situation that is causing you anxiety at intervals throughout the day in order to be able to function healthily in a work environment.
2. Phone a friend
Venting is healthy when you can do it in a constructive way, with people you know and trust. I caught myself venting to some coworkers I didn’t know all that well recently, and had to go, skrrt: hold up. This is not a situationally appropriate venting session. But texting a friend, calling a relative just to express what’s up without expecting judgement or any solutions at all can sometimes be more cathartic and helpful than someone trying to tell you what to do.
3. Get a little messy
Today, I was standing at my kitchen counter working on a lasagna (perhaps I’ll share the recipe if it turns out well, it’s in the oven as we speak), trying laboriously to keep from spilling the cheese mixture I was stirring from landing on the counter. Of course, one over-eager turn later, a big spoonful had come out of the bowl and landed everywhere. I may or may not have said something particularly foul and just stood there for a minute, thinking about it….and then it’s like a rubber band snapped and I was just like, huh. This is actually fine. You’re supposed to make a mess when you cook, right? And the principle holds true- sometimes getting your hands dirty is a pretty satisfying thing. In this case, you want to spill the milk (or cheese, as it were), and it’s ok if you cry. Let it out, pal.
4. Shop (but not til you drop)
Nothing like some good old fashioned retail therapy, amirite? Just don’t go too crazy- you don’t need to heap on purchase regret. Stick to splurging on lower-cost or singular items, but don’t be afraid to be impractical. The other day I went out and bought a shiny sequin skirt (which is usually so not my thing), and I can’t stop trying it on and smiling. Instant mood lifter.
5. Cancel plans
I’ve alluded in the self care post I linked above that it’s perfectly okay to be selfish if being alone is what you really need. Feeling pressured to be x place by y time can add stress on a plate that’s already overflowing, and who needs that?
6. Make plans (I know, but I’ll explain)
On the other hand, there might be days when all you want is to see your friends, let your hair down, and forget about work for awhile. Those are the days when it’s great to be able to text a friend and meet for lunch, or make plans to look forward to on the weekend. You’ll know which mood you’re in- but I believe that in their respective contexts, both help.
7. Tell someone you love them
There’s nothing more humbling, and ultimately more grounding, than the feeling of loving someone else. I know stress makes us all behave like jerks sometimes, but it really can be just as simple as reaching out to your significant other or family member, letting them know that you’re stressed out but that you still love them, and feeling their support help carry you through a tough day.
8. Have a solo lip sync sesh to the best of The Backstreet Boys
This is incredibly specific, and no I won’t elaborate. Just trust me, it works.
9. Switch up your routine
I am not the one for huge changes. I love my routines. But sometimes, changing one small element of your routine or environment makes all the difference. For example, using a different scented body wash in the shower, or making a pointed detour to Starbucks on the way to work to avoid jumping straight out of bed and feet first into the melee.
10. Make a list
List-making helps me calm down, frame things from a logical perspective, and understand the consequences of not looking before I leap. Panic and anxiety makes me do the dumbest stuff sometimes, and I can always count on my handy dandy lists to make me stop, think, and most importantly, take a deep breath. It’s going to be ok, and I know because I’ve written all the possibilities down in black and white, and I have a plan of attack- no matter how impossible a problem seems.
Take it from an expert- stress ain’t easy. But if you learn your tics, you’ll eventually develop management techniques tailored to you, that will help break you out of the negative, self-perpetuating patterns stress sneakily places on us.
Keep it real,