Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Stress Me The F*** Out

Stress is inevitable. Whether it be due to an upcoming celebration, a major change in your life, family issues or just a dispute with a friend, stress is a common part of life. 

But what is all comes down to is how we handle our stresses.

There are healthy and unhealthy ways to handle stress. If you're an impulsive person by nature, your common reaction is probably yelling, screaming, being snarky, taking it out on others and being mean. These are not healthy examples of stress.

If you're an emotional person, you probably handle stress by either trying to ignore it, letting it eat away at you, dwelling on it and getting upset. These are also no healthy.

So, let's look at some healthy ways to handle stress that may be beneficial to you in your everyday life:

1. Avoid, or reduce, your intake of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. 
2. Work out/get physical.
3. Try to sleep more. 
4. Relaxation techniques, like breathing or yoga.
5. Talk to someone about it.
6. Keep a diary/blog like me! LOL!
7. Take control by problem-solving.
8. Manage your time.
10. Rest when necessary.

I found these ten tips on skillsyouneed.com--now let's dive into them a bit more in detail.

Of course, we all know that caffeine and nicotine increase our heart rate and blood pressure. These 2 vices are stimulants. We ( should ) also know that alcohol is a depressant, and when a depressed person drinks alcohol it only intensifies negative feelings. But in smaller doses, alcohol is actually considered a stimulant. I've been told before that even though people assume that smoking helps with stress, it actually worsens it. Of course, that hasn't stopped me from smoking...bu apparently it's a proven fact.

Exercise is not only good for your physical, but also your mental health. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that elevate your mood and relieve stress. Although I don't work out as much as I wish that I did, I definitely feel a difference in my mental health when I go do some cardio after a long, hard day at work. Even 30 minutes a day a few times a week is better than nothing. I've actually started just taking casual walks at lunchtime around the caldesac by my work ( when it's not too hot-as-balls out ) just to decompress and take time for me; "take a breather" persay.

Trying to tell someone to sleep more is easier said than done. With our busy lives, you may be tired by 7 pm but once dinner is finished, dishes are washed, laundry is folded, kids are put to bed ( if you're a parent ), showers are gotten, lunch is packed and you've just tossed around in bed for an hour and 37 minutes, it's already 11:54 and you aren't asleep yet.  A few tips to help get your 7-8 hours of sleep are:
* disconnect once you hit the sheets; NO MORE PHONE!
* drink some chamomile tea
* take a relaxing shower and then go directly to bed
* use a natural sleep aid like melatonin
Sleep is a crucial part of reducing stress. Also, I'm a firm believer that there is nothing a nap cannot cure.

Relaxation techniques don't work in every situation, but sometimes you just need to step the fuck back and take 10. Walk away for a few minutes. Take a bathroom break. Focus on breathing. Count to 10. Repeat a "mantra" of sorts to try to bring the stress level down. And if you're into that sort of thing, dabble in some yoga. I heard it works wonders...

Then there's talking. Of course. We all know I go to therapy by now...and although I've decreased from every week to every-other, I'm avid about talking through your stresses. Having someone with no emotional attachment to talk to is important. Friends will say what they think you want them to say, or risk hurting your feelings by saying what you may need to hear. With therapy, it's an unbiased opinion. They don't know who the hell you're talking about, and they don't say things JUST for the sake of saying them. But I also believe that just talking in itself, whether it's to a therapist or not, is important. The more you harbor your feelings, the worse off you will be. Talking about your feelings in a constructive matter is key to reducing stress and relieving stress-inducing issues. Without proper communication, things will never change. And if things never change, you're gonna put yourself into an early grave stressing over stupid shit. 

I blog to relieve stress. Even when it's just a generic topic, it's a release for me. It's a way for me to communicate to strangers, to ( hopefully ) help others, to talk about my feelings and to connect. If you're not big on sharing your life with the world ( or approximately 10-20 individuals ), journal. You know, pen-to-paper "diary" type of shit. Write poetry...or song lyrics. Scribble on a piece of paper. ANYTHING to just release some of that turmoil and put your mind somewhere else. I find blogging super therapeutic, and I share it with others on the chance that my words may possibly help someone somewhere.

Stop blaming and starting dealing. The more that we blame others for our stress, the more we are doing to cause more stress. Some people don't even realize when they are pissing us off. So how do we change that? We take control. We identify the stresses and we DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEM. Some people want to dwell in their own misery...but if you don't want to be like that, you need to take time to learn how to SOLVE your problems. You need solutions or the stress will be constant. Write a list, maybe a few steps on how to achieve a resolution and then DO them.

Try to manage your time differently. If you are pushing yourself to the breaking point, of course you're going to be stressed! There's only 24 hours in a day, and when you take 8 out for a good night's sleep, that's 16 hours to do things. And with a ( usual ) 8-hour work day, you are left with 8. What can you do in those 8 hours? But wait!...you have 5 days in a work week...so must you do every task in the first 8 hours that Monday?!...NO! Plan accordingly. Don't put all the stress into one day when you don't have to. I use calendars, a dry-erase board and notes to help plan my days; to help remind me so I don't overbook myself, make sure I have appropriate appointments made and to practice appropriate time management. Sure, when I look on my phone calendar and see 5 consecutive weekends where I have tasks to complete, I get a little stressed...but then I remember that at LEAST it's not ALL of those things in ONE weekend, right?

A big one is learning to say no. We have many people-pleasers in the world, so I know that's going to be a tough one for you. I'm also one of them. You're so used to saying yes, that when you say 'no' you feel bad about it. But you can't. If you're saying 'yes' so much that it is interfering with your own health, you're not helping anyone. That is how you harbor resentment and bitterness. And sure, there will be people out there that think you're a bitch for saying 'no' to something...but you sometimes truly need to think of your well-being above all else. You can only do so much for people before you hit your breaking point, and if you don't ease into the thought of 'no', that 'no' will become far more bitchy and mean than you probably ever intended it to be.

Lastly, when you're sick and running yourself ragged, you're helping no one. This causes you to be sick far longer than necessary which, in turn, makes things worse. REST! It's OK to take a day off; a break! Make some chicken soup, put on your ugliest ( but most comfortable ) PJs, watch Netflix and nap your heart out. It's important to take care of yourself. Besides, how are you going to take care of other people when you're sick for 8 weeks straight?

Stress will kill you; it's a proven fact. It frequently causes heart attacks, worsens asthma, helps you store excess fat in the stomach region ( obesity ), causes chronic headaches and will intensify depression and anxiety symptoms. So when you don't take control of your stress factors, you're literally digging your grave. 

So take a deep breath, exhale and focus on trying to lessen the stressers in your life...because really, who wants to be a grouchy, mean, cynical fucking bitch/asshole for their last 15 years?

( before they die prematurely of stress-induced heart failure )