It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I don’t handle my stress all that well. Small inconveniences ruin my day, I feel like I am always angry, and I have a hard time letting things go, especially things completely out of my control.
It’s very clear to me now that my recent health problems were caused by stress. As I really don’t want something like this to happen again, I obviously need to find a way to deal with my every day stress better. Therefore, I decided to write this post in hopes that I can talk myself through this and maybe help someone else along the way.
When I first moved to the UK, I was a nightmare. I was completely out of my element and, for a lot of valid reasons, was a total nutter. I’m not kidding. When I look back now, my eyes are widened with horror at how much crazier I used to be. Even though I have come a long way, I still believe I have a long way to go.
However, as I reflect back, some of the changes I’ve made may be useful for you.
The most important change that I believe everyone should do no matter what is….
Get enough sleep. If there’s one thing you should be doing, it’s figuring out a way to make sure you are getting enough rest during the night. Whether its 6 hours, 8 hours, or 10 hours. Figure out what your body needs and make sure you do that consistently. Our bodies need the time to rejuvenate and relax. If you are not giving it enough time to do so, it is extremely bad for your health and overall lifespan.
I am almost religious about my bedtime. I try to be in bed by 8/8:30 and would like to be sleeping by 9/9:30pm. I wake up around 6am to workout before work usually. On weekends, I do tend to stay up to around 10/11pm and sleep in to 8/9pm depending. My body needs 9 hours of sleep to feel rejuvenated and fresh in the morning. Although, I can deal with 8 hours as well. Anything less than that, and my energy is seriously low.
Work out. It has been scientifically proven that working out reduces the cortisol levels (stress hormone) in the body. Again, science. And if that’s not enough to convince you, doing something good for yourself in turn makes you feel good about yourself which in turn reduces stress. Whether you make time to walk for 20 minutes a day, do an actual workout program, or go to the gym 6 days a week for #gains, just make sure you are moving your body enough.
Ever since I got back into working out I have noticed how much happier I have been throughout the day, and in general. And when I am having a bad day or I’m particularly stressed, I work out extra hard and use it to my advantage. And funnily enough, I find that I need a little less sleep to operate at full capacity when I am regularly working out as my body has more energy. By adding in a half hour of working out in the mornings, I can stay up an extra hour and watch more of The Great British Bake Off. Score!
Set up a morning and night time routine. To help take the stress out of running late for work and getting into bed too late worrying if you’ll be able to get enough sleep before you have to do the day all over again. By having an easy routine and schedule, you take a lot of that stress away. (I understand some people don’t operate like this, and having a routine may stress you out more. If that’s the case then ignore this pointer.)
I make sure to have enough time to work out, shower, get ready, eat my breakfast, prepare my lunch, and get to work in the morning. When I go to bed, I make sure to make time to wash my face, do a face mask, read in bed for a bit, brush my teeth, and watch an episode or two of Friends before drifting off to sleep. The mornings I don’t have my shit together I am running around stressing out. And the nights I get in late (very rare), I do tend to get stressed that I won’t get enough sleep to function well the next day. My routine helps me a lot.
Let the little things go. Ok this is one that I will very likely have to work on my entire life. I am one of those people who focuses on the little things. I let them stress me out. I let them anger me. I let them rule my life. I am aware of this.
As a perfectionist organizational control freak, it does allow me to thrive and do what I do well. In some ways, I love that I care about the little things in life. I am able to keep the flat decently clean, get the laundry done as quick as humanly possible, and plan our meals efficiently so that we do save quite a bit of money.
Although, if we leave work 5 minutes later than planned, I get really upset and start stressing about how much tighter my evening just got time wise. If I sleep in and don’t have time to make the breakfast I want, I’ll get really upset and let it ruin my morning, if not my entire day. <– That was me 9 months ago. Like I said, I was a nutter back then.
Now, if those things happen, I do get bothered, but I don’t let it ruin my entire day. I am a lot calmer, but I try to realise how good I have it, and how much worse it could be. For instance, when I got diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, I didn’t get upset or annoyed. Instead, I thought about how I could have had a stroke and my face could look like this permanently. And I realised that I am okay, I will be okay, and what’s the point of stressing out about it when there is literally nothing else I can do? If I apply that same philosophy to everything that stresses me out, and truly think through everything, I bet my life would get a hell of a lot easier.
If you’re anything like me, these few tips are enough for you right now. You can’t just turn around and change everything in a matter of a day. But if you start improving your days with just a few tweaks like this, slowly you will start to see progress. As all good things take time, this will too. But it is extremely worth it. You will start to sleep better, you will feel more energised, you will fall into a nice and easy rhythm that takes a lot of stress and pressure off of the day for you. There are plenty of other things in life to worry about, you don’t need to focus your time and attention on little things that cannot be controlled.
Take it from me, there’s no point.
Hope this finds you well. Let me know if you have any tips you’d like to share with me! I’d love to hear how you manage your daily stresses.