Stress is unavoidable and this season of my life is full of it. I am naturally stressed, but add in stress of becoming a first time foster parent (or parent in general), dealing with back to school for the first time, plus family drama and I’m at my wit’s end.
I’ve never really worried about any of this until a few weeks ago. I had my first panic attack while at work and it was the most terrifying thing I have physically experienced. Normal panick attacks feel like walls are closing in on you or you can’t catch your breath (so I’ve been told by my doctor), but mine caused my entire body to seize up causing sharp pains from my feet to my head and chest pressure making it hard to breath. After many doctor visits and tests being run, I knew that I had to find a way and learn to CALM DOWN.
Learning how to destress is difficult
For me, what worked once may not work again so it’s important to keep changing it up. I’m also learning the difference between self-care and destressing. I figured that if I’m taking care of my physical needs then by default I would be less stressed. I was wrong. They look the same, but they affect the body in different ways.
Self-care is taking care of your needs. This can involve destressors, but I equate it with mostly my physical needs not my mental needs. Which is the main difference. Stress is a mental game and destressing is learning how to mentally relax so that it is no longer affecting your physical well-being. Both are important, but they are opposite sides of the same coin (you).
Facing some hard realities with myself wasn’t fun, but I found 12 things that I’m using to destress (from the frivolous to the serious).
12 unique ways to destress
Cut out caffeine
If you’re high strung like I am, limiting or cutting out caffeine may help you become more relaxed. Adding another stimulant to your body could cause a stress induced panic attack (especially if you’re a fan of energy drinks). I’m working on switching to decaf coffee and limiting my sweat tea intake.
Binge watching TV
Thank goodness for Netflix and Hulu. Being able to sit and zone out helps my introverted self recharge so I can handle life without freaking out over the little things. This past month I’ve binged Super Natural and Friends.
Stalking my favorite Instagram accounts
I LOVE watching handlettering videos. Is that weird? I can sit and watch them for hours. Getting lost in the movements relaxes me. Plus, the artistry is beautiful. My favorite accounts to watch are @thegraytergood and @nerdy.posts.
Spending time at the pool
I am a pale person, so I try to avoid the sun for the most part, but this summer I have embraced the SPF 100 and enjoyed my time at the pool. Spending the day swimming and hanging out with family is one of the best ways I’ve found to distress.
Cutting my hair
Obviously this isn’t a daily thing. I would be bald! But I shook up my look and it’s amazing how cutting your hair can give you a new outlook on life.
Making time to “escape”
Letting the hubby know that I need either time away or quiet time. He’s not a mind reader! Letting him know when I can’t handle anymore stress because I feel like I’m about to break has allowed us to work together to make life less stressful. I’m not the only one who needs a break and opening up the lines of communication and letting each other know that we are human and sometimes we can reach a breaking point has been wonderful.
It’s hard for me to tell people NO especially if I’m capable of doing something. I’m also a people pleaser. Learning to say no is HARD for me, but I can’t be everyone else’s rock when I’m crumbling on the inside. So I’m learning to say no. It’s a work in progress, but you gotta start somewhere.
Being the control freak that I am, my grip on the things in my life is akin to a vice grip (am I alone on this?). Praying and meditating helps me to loosen my grip and know that there is something bigger than me and more powerful than me who’s got this. Let Him do his job and learn how to breathe.
Specifically, I quit wearing my Apple Watch. I love it and it’s such a cool gadget to have, but I don’t need to be THAT connected. Between my cell phone, my iPad, my computer, Facebook messenger, and calling the hubby I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s ok to not be reachable! IT IS OK TO NOT BE REACHABLE! I didn’t need my watch to also be a phone and a messenger. It’s suffocating.
Learning that I am not alone in life. I have a wonderful husband who helps me when I let him, so I started letting him. It’s that simple. Who cares if he doesn’t fold the clothes like I do! Are they clean and folded? YES. Then that’s all that matters.
Be creative. For me, being creative is learning handlettering and watching YouTube videos to learn how to draw a few simple items. The important thing is I’m focused on something other than my anxiety and stress. I’m also thinking of trying my hand in crocheting coffee mug cozies. Could be fun. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
Asking for help
This is the most important one on the list and the one I struggle the most with. Asking for help. Learning that it doesn’t make you weak or incapable, it makes you strong! We aren’t meant to walk through life alone so break down those stubborn walls, ladies! Reach out to the people you’re doing life with and ask them to help you.
Stress and anxiety can be crippling if you don’t check them every once in a while. I would love to hear how you destress in the comments below.