Happy Tuesday friends! I’m not sure if it’s just me, but my to-to list seems extra long this week… Since that’s the case, I thought it would be a great day to talk about stress. We all deal with it, and we all have our own level of tolerance for it. Heck, some (lucky) people even thrive under stress. It’s that feeling that sneaks up on you and causes your shoulders to suddenly end up by your ears. Maybe you’re anxious about a big test coming up or an important presentation at work. Maybe you have a lot on your plate and you just feel like you’re drowning in to-do lists and deadlines. No matter the cause, it’s not fun. Unfortunately, stress is just part of life, BUT there are lots of ways to prevent it and handle it like a champ.
Within the last 6 months I’ve gotten married, moved across the state, and started my clinical rotations for my last year of school (which is basically like starting a new job every month for 9 months). None of those are bad, they’re great! But gosh, it’s been a lot of stuff to adjust to. Between settling into a new place, managing my grades, trying to line up a job before graduation, and finding time to spend with my husband, I have been dealing with my fair share of stress.
Below, I’ve listed some of the positive ways I’ve learned to deal with the stresses in my life to help me avoid a total meltdown (or polishing off the carton of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream I keep in the freezer for emergencies).
1. When in doubt, plan it out!
This is so important. I always feel so much more put together when I write down my schedule. My planner is my lifeline when things get hectic. Whether it’s a digital or paper planner, it’s so much easier to tackle the mountain of work when you can see what exactly it is you need to get done. Normally I’m a fan of digital everything, but for now I’ve been sticking with my paper planner because I think it’s way easier to lay out my life schedule alongside all of my school deadlines that way. I usually pencil things in to begin with, and then every Sunday night, I sit down with my planner and lay out my week. Everything is color coded, there are stickers galore, and I keep a list of goals I want to accomplish each day. By doing this, I can split up all my work according to my schedule just like a puzzle! Shop and customize your own version of my planner here. There are lots of pretty patterns, color schemes, and fun accessories to help you plan in a fun and stylish way!
2. Do one thing at a time.
Consider this: you are told you HAVE to eat a giant, monster-sized (but delicious) chocolate chip cookie. Like, all of it. The whole thing. How would you do it? Simple, one bite at a time! In a world where multitasking is the norm, it can be hard to focus. If you have a lot to get done, just make a plain old to-do list and knock out each thing one at a time. Trying to do 2 (or 4 or 8) things at once can cause us to be less productive, less mindful, and less efficient, all of which lead to increased stress.
3. Just say no.
Okay, lets go back to the cookie scenario. (I’m hungry, can you tell?) You wouldn’t bite off more than you can chew, right? This is always a little difficult for me. For some reason, I always forget I’m not Wonder Woman and that there’s only 24 hours in a day. If you have too much going on, re-evaluate your schedule. Weed out the things that aren’t necessary or don’t make you happy. Life is too short to do things that don’t bring you joy. It’s tough in the beginning, but before long you’ll be saying no to all kinds of things!
4. Take a break.
This seems counter-productive, but I think of it like hitting my reset button. If you feel overwhelmed, step back, breathe, and do something you enjoy for 15 minutes. Browse Instagram, call a friend, take a power nap, or brew a fresh cup of tea or coffee. Let your brain relax, be kind to yourself, and then try picking up where you left off.
5. Run away from all your problems.
Okay, not really. Just get moving! Pick your favorite exercise: walking, running, yoga, weightlifting, jumping on the trampoline… The possibilities are endless! This can even serve as #4. You’ll feel extra focused and refreshed once you finish. Working out consistently over time can help to decrease your stress levels (along with an endless list of other health benefits). My personal favorite is a nice long run or some other form of cardio. You can shop my favorite running shoes here.
All of these things are easier said than done, but they have all helped me out at one point or another. I hope you can find a way to make them work for you too! Wishing you the chillest of weeks!