Doesn’t the Universe have a funny way of doing things? Today is Stress Awareness Day and it just so happens to fall the day after the United States Presidential Election. I’d say She has a sense of humor. And let’s be honest, there’s been a lot of things to stress about in 2020, right?
There’s been a TON of stressors this year. . .
- A worldwide pandemic
- Losing our jobs, our loved ones and (in some cases) our sanity
- Postponing special events, like weddings, anniversaries and vacations
- Not being able to physically see each other
- This darn presidential election
And I’m sure there’s even more that should be added to that list. But instead of focusing on the negative today, I want to help you get through the rest of this year and deal with the stressors. I just need you to promise me one thing. . .
For the rest of the year, before getting worked up, take a breath.
I want you to promise me that every time you feel stressed, the first thing you do is take a breath. Studies have shown that the simple act of taking a breath can change our mindset and the physical functions that happen in our body that increase our stress levels. Ok, now that you’ve made me a promise, here are the things I want you to consider for the rest of the year.
First, I want you to learn about your triggers. These are the things that make you feel stressed, anxious and emotional. A stressor for me is a negative outlook, not just in myself but in others around me. If I’m with people that only think the worst and crab about everything that is going on around them, my outlook starts to be negative and I start to feel dark and depressed. Because of that, I try not to stick to positive vibes as much as I can. Another trigger for me is clutter. When I see it, I immediately want to start cleaning and I feel like I have to until it’s perfect. You might have triggers like me or your triggers might be different, but I want you to find out what they are. If it helps, create a note on your phone so you can jot things down while you’re on the go. Knowing and understanding your triggers will help you avoid or reduce them and ultimately reduce your stress.
Second, I want you to find a practice that you can do after you experience stress. You could call it a spiritual practice, a mental health practice or a physical practice. It honestly doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have a place to go after you’ve experienced stress. For me, I take a bath or go for a hike in nature. Both of those experiences help clear my mind, reset my heart and allow me to focus my priorities again. Some of the other ideas that you could try out include meditating, journaling, cooking, going for a run or doing a little retail therapy. The whole point of this practice is that it will help lift your spirits and make you feel like yourself again.
Lastly, I want you to have a few friends that you can turn to. The list of friends can be as long or as short as you want but these friends should be ones that can talk you off the ledge, help you get your head straight and calm down. You probably already have a friend or two in mind. Do you have 10 friends in mind? You may, but chances are, the friends that you consider part of your tribe is small. Your tribe are friends that don’t pass judgement, will give you a shoulder to cry on and just be there and sit in silence with you. Like you do with your triggers, create a note on your phone so you can have a safe space for the names you want to include in your tribe. What’s even better? Add them as favorites on your phone. Regardless of how you keep track of these individuals, stay in touch with them because you both need each other.
Now it’s your turn. What actions do you take to help reduce your stress?