Feeling overwhelmed at all?
Unfortunately, we all are, and being overwhelmed is the new normal.
This blog post is for the times where we feel everything needs to stop. The time where we feel we have over committed ourselves, assumed too much responsibility, filled our plate to the brim, etc. You get the point. It’s stress! And we’ve got too much of it as a society. This seemed like a good place to start.
Now a disclaimer to this blog post–stress is not always a bad thing, for there is a little something all of us experience every now and again called “healthy stress.” WHAT?! How can that be a thing? How do I know if any of the stress I feel is “healthy?” The answer to that question differs with every person. Something I will emphasize consistently throughout my blog posts is that no human is the same, so everyone’s version of stress is a little different.
How does society go about fixing the amount of stress? Or I guess, the first question to answer would be how do you go about changing an existential crisis in society? The answer: one individual at a time.
Now I’m no expert, and I don’t have all the answers. Just from experience I’ve had in my twenty years of living, I’ve learned a few things about being stressed and how to handle it. You don’t have to listen, obtain, or act on any of this information. I’m not telling you what to do. Who knows? You might be entitled to something. You might even be a person that doesn’t experience stress EVER! However, more times than not, it seems that people nowadays handle stress so terribly, simply because they don’t know how to do it in the first place, nor do they have the time. But nonetheless, here are a few things that might be useful to help simplify your life and if one person can reduce being overwhelmed in their daily life by doing one of these things, I’ve done my job.
Know that you’re time on earth is temporary. WAIT WAIT WAIT!! That is so morbid, Shannon. Gah why would you start with something like that to ease my stress? Well in order to be totally comfortable to ease your stress, you have to be realistic with your current situation. We are mortal humans that partake in a very short amount of time in the grand scheme of the universe. With that being said, it’s important to prioritize which things in our lives are realistically worth stressing out about. For example, you’ve got some petty drama among your friend group. It is kind of annoying, and may put some unnecessary stress in your life because you want to work things out with your friends. Trust me, I’ve been there. But one day you see that the girl who lives across the street from you, has a brother that’s deployed in Afghanistan in combat, fighting for his country; a duty that could potentially end his life. Her, along with her family’s stress, is far greater than a couple of petty arguments that you’ve witnessed in your friend group. Think about the big picture.
Get off social media, TV, your phone, or any technology for a little while. We see so many things that stimulate us through the media, which can contribute to the stress we feel on a daily basis. It’s just the nature of media that can make us feel uneasy, or overstimulated. I will say, I’m a frequent user of the internet, networks, media, etc. and there are definitely times where I feel I’ve seen too much or I’ve become distracted. We constantly see what people are doing. People tweet about their problems like it’s their journal, and all of a sudden you feel emotionally connected to the problem their tweeting about when you’ve literally had nothing to do with it. All of a sudden you start creating your own problems that don’t exist. You see an Instagram post of someone with a super model-like body, and maybe it’s not exactly what your body looks like. But now, you set a standard of how you should look. “Why don’t I look like that?” Truth is, the way you look is 99% of the time due to genetics. Your metabolism, your build, everything can be explained by your gene pool. So setting a body type standard on the super model you saw on Instagram, can be hard, considering her gene pool is different than yours. And that’s okay! Do NOT stress about other people’s bodies in comparison to your own. Worry about your own situation, and that will make things easier to set goals for yourself if you would like to improve anything.
No lie, it’s a good thing to be connected to the world, but sometimes it’s a good idea to clear the mind, and disconnect for a little bit.
Exercise, or do yoga. Feeling stressed after a long day at work? Been sitting in an office chair for too damn long? Go workout! Put your headphones in, pick your favorite workout playlist, and tune in to tune out. This is probably my favorite form of de-stressing because one, I get to sculpt myself into getting in better shape, two, it scientifically makes me happy, and three it’s EASY. You don’t have to have a black card membership at Planet Fitness, or pay some monthly subscription. Go for a run outside! Walk the neighborhood. Go for a bike ride. Walk some more. Swim in your pool. Play some tennis. Get off your ass, somehow. Exercise helps you sleep better, regulates your breathing, helps the digestive system move along, and it’s even good for your skin complexion! The endorphin neurotransmitter is released when you workout or when you engage in strenuous activity, which can explain why you feel happy or vibrant after a workout, otherwise known as the “analgesic effect”. It helps relieve pain, whether it be stressful pain, or physical pain. Yoga is another great way to ease stress and escape from the outside world for a bit. Different breathing techniques, stretching of the body, and meditation are good ways to release unnecessary tension we may feel. It’s a good way to cleanse our spiritual side, and be in touch with our body.
Have a conversation with someone with your undivided attention. Why Shannon? Well, you see, in a world where we text, and speak to one another through other mediums of communication, it’s nice to have a simple conversation with someone face to face. Enjoying a conversation about god knows what, could simply distract you from whatever it is your stressing about. Really pay attention to what someone is saying. It makes them feel that what they’re saying is important, even though it may bore the living poo out of you, but you’ve engaged in some form of listening. Listening to someone else’s problems or ideas could give you perspective on your own. It also improves your communications skills.
Take time to enjoy your coffee. This really only applies to coffee drinkers, I guess you could substitute with tea, but it’s pretty self explanatory if you ask me. If you’re not in a rush one morning, sit down, and don’t get up until your coffee/tea is finished. Relax.
Get up early. Start off your day early, so you have the full day to get done what you need to get done.
Create a To-Do list. For all you Type A individuals out there! Create a plan of attack for your day/week. Having an idea of what you want to accomplish is a great way to relieve stress. Just make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself with too many tasks! Remember if you finish at least one, you’re getting somewhere.
Read a book/article/newspaper/blog. Get entranced into a story! Regardless of the topic. Reading improves literacy, comprehensive ability, calms the nerves, and it’s the best way to travel through time.
Enjoy nature. Nature is sweet! Take a walk in the woods (with a friend please), go hiking, swim in the lake, climb a tree (carefully and swiftly), or even go hug one, listen to the ocean, breath in the fresh air. Nature is the one thing that is so much bigger than any of us, so enjoy being a small part of it, for this can relieve stress. I’m not asking you to turn to a flower child, or go all hippie, but just appreciate nature and what it has to offer.
Write it down. Whatever it is you’re feeling, write it down! Start a journal, or even just scribble it down on a piece of paper, napkin, or sticky note. This can be therapeutic for those less willing to talk about what they are feeling. I think it’s especially important to write down when you feel happy. Write down every last detail about how you feel in your time of happiness, so when you read it at a future date, go ahead and try to recreate the moment. It helps us feel time when we write. For some, writing can serve as a way to get your thoughts aligned. It can sometimes tell you whether your problem is really worth stressing out about or not.
Get rid of things you don’t use. Purge of the unused! Having extra things and nick knacks that you might have an emotional attachment to, even though you haven’t looked at it in 6 years, may contribute to your stress. It’s clutter! Save room for things that are actually important to you. It will simplify your life, and you’ll be able to keep track of your things a little better.
Take a short nap. Naps are super important! And they don’t have to be long either. By sports-science studies, people and athletes who took naps 15-20 minutes long felt more energized during the rest of the day rather than someone who didn’t take a nap, or took too long of a nap. Taking naps that are too long can throw off your circadian rhythm and no one wants to be up all night, however any type of sleeping allows your body to heal, burn fat, relax, and dream. So that’s pretty cool!
Remove difficult people from your life. This is actually easier than it sounds, and way easier than people make it out to be. If someone is making you unhappy, throwing you some shade, or making your life difficult, you don’t have to keep them around. More like, you don’t have to stay around. Referring to get rid of things you don’t use, “save room for things that are actually important to you.” This includes people as well. Some people can provide a lot of negative vibes when they enter a room. They’ll get the hint when they realize that people just want to live their lives without someone trying to bring them down with negative sappiness.
Change around your room/living space. Change can be refreshing! Putting things in different places and moving things around to create a new scenery is important in relieving stress.
Listen to music. Music is good for ANY situation. Whatever music tickles your pickle, listen to it. Listening to music can calm our auditory nerves, and help us escape from outside forces of the world. Music helps escape time.
Have a dessert. In moderation, of course. But have something sweet. Enjoy it because you deserve it!! Remember chocolate is ALWAYS the cure, unless, of course, you don’t like chocolate. Sorry.
Kiss. Whether it’s your significant other, or some rando on the street, science about kissing DOES NOT LIE. According to facts, “kissing boosts levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine (which is involved in craving and desire) and serotonin (which elevates mood and can help spark obsessive thoughts about a partner), which both make you feel good. It decreases the stress hormone cortisol and increases serotonin levels in the brain. Kissing has also been measured to lower anxiety and has similar benefits to meditation.” How about them apples? Smooch away people!
And most importantly…
Take time for yourself.
Honestly, this encompasses everything I’ve talked about in this blog post. You have to take care of yourself. Whether you’re a big business executive, a mother, a father, a sibling, a friend, or whatever role you may take in society, you have an unselfish obligation towards something. A lot of the time, we do what we do primarily for something or someone else. Whether it be the business we work for, the team we play for, the coach, our boss, our parents, our country, SOCIETY– the list can go on. This is the most overwhelming thing for some. But where is the time for “me”? This is where we take a “me” day. If you can, try to ask your boss for the day off to get your life in order. Go shopping and treat yourself to some new cloth to wear around town. Do it alone if you want. Go get yourself a coffee. Put as much cream and sugar in it as you want, so much, that it doesn’t even have to be coffee anymore if you don’t want it to be. Go for a drive by yourself. Take a bath with some candles. “Sitting in your own filth” they say? I call it heaven. Need to go for a walk to clear your head? Do it. Want to go get your nails done? Girl, work it. If you need to be isolated for a little bit, that’s not a bad thing, and no, you’re not turning into a recluse. It’s just for once, you’re alone with your own thoughts, actions, and feelings. You are not overwhelmed with everyone else’s opinions, thoughts, feelings, problems, insults, etc. Just you. And by no means is that “selfish” in a bad way. It’s simply taking care of your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual states.
So if you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or lost in this day in age, do not worry! A lot of us feel your pain. There are so many things that try to complicate, influence, and toss our opinions and thoughts every which way. Take a deep breath. Do the simple things that can make a monumental difference in your well being. Stay true to yourself. Be honest with yourself, and don’t forget to live! Enjoy life, and live simply.