5 Ways To Sap Stress
1. Unplug. We all fall captive of technology's clutches now and then. A two-minute excursion onto the internet to look up a definition can morph into and hour and a half of wasted time right under our noses. Often, the best thing to do when you need a stress detox or are falling into a creative rut is to power off those electronics! I know, I know, you've almost got a high score on Temple Run, and your BFF Jill just tweeted you something urgent, and omg, the new episode of Pretty Little Liars is totally on tonight, but trust me, it's really not that important. Let the texts and emails and Facebook messages you're receiving go. Throw open a window, I don't care what the weather is like. Read a book. Catch up on chores. Take a bubble bath. Do something that doesn't require electricity. As much as modern technology benefits the world, we all tend to get lost in cyberspace and forget the things that are really important. So tell your friends you'll talk to them later, and take a few hours to unplug.
2. Start your day right. One fine day I stumbled upon this excellent list of morning activities that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the oncoming day. I suggest choosing a few you like and trying to do at least one every day! If, like me, you're not exactly a morning person, I find that setting your alarm about half an hour before you actually need to wake up helps to ease the usual rush. After snoozing a few times, pulling myself out of bed and stumbling my way through the routine, I feel a lot more capable by the time I'm out the door than on days where I'm unable to snooze at all.
3. Don't sweat the small stuff. We often mutate little issue into complete catastrophes in our minds purely because we think too much. The solutions to this problem is, well, don't think too much. Everything is a lot simpler than it seems. Stressing and complaining about an issue isn't going to solve it. My advice is to try to catch your anxieties before they develop into something more sinister. You're having company over and the house isn't clear? Don't panic. Stuff your clutter in that hall closet and wash those dirty dishes. Your guests probably don't care if how meticulously vacuumed your floor is, anyway. You're feeling bitter because your friend is mad at you? Incinerate that trash-talk before it escapes your lips. Revenge is not the answer. Talk it out. Attempt to see their point of view and try to spot any misunderstandings that may have incurred this argument. Before you get too upset about anything, remember that humans are flawed beings. No one is asking you to be perfect, so for the love of all things good in the world, never expect perfection from yourself. I personally think a person's "flaws" are their most enticing and defining character traits.
Life is crazy. Things will go wrong. But take a deep breath. Mess-ups only become mistakes if you let them. It's all in your head. Your past will only define you if you focus on it. Don't allow the bad things in life to consume you! There's so much more to be happy for.
4. Prioritize. Sit down with some paper and pen and decide what's important to you. What are your ideals? What are you dreams? Now, break these things down into small pieces, because the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and all the rest of those clichés. The point is, setting small goals each month, week, and day will help you to work productively towards your dreams.
At the start of a new week, decide your agenda for the next seven days. Ask yourself what you need to do and what you want to have accomplished by this time next week. Been meaning to clean the bathroom? Write it down. Made dinner plans with a friend on Friday? Put it on paper. Promised your mother you'd call? Schedule it in. Hang this week's list somewhere that will be clearly visible when you first wake up. Write this week's small goal on top. Each day, when you rouse from your slumber, decide what you can do today to achieve this week's goal. If you want to make a difference in someone's life, perhaps today is a great day to compliment everyone you meet. If your goal for this year is to lead a healthy life, then get up, get dressed, and take a brisk walk! Remember that nothing happens instantly. Life moves in baby steps, and the best day to start is today. Don't let yourself become discouraged. To remind myself of my own potential, I painted a quote on my wall that gives me the courage to pursue my passion and keep plodding on, no matter how tough it seems.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
5. If all else fails, take a break. It's always a good time for a nap. Eat some chocolate. Count your blessings. Curl up with a good book, good music, or a good friend. Take a walk. Play a board game. Talk to an old friend. Treat yourself to some ice cream or decadent coffee -- you deserve it! Paint something, even if you're not an artist. In fact, finger paint something. Go on an adventure. Try something new. Life doesn't look so scary from the depths of a warm bath. Tomorrow doesn't seem so impossible when you let someone dry your tears. Often, we're so caught up in our sadness that we don't let ourselves have a happy moment when one passes by. I promise you, if you hold onto that silver lining, the clouds will melt away. Laugh. Laugh like you've never been hurt before. Life is hectic and wild, but it's undeniably beautiful. The road ahead may be seem like it's studded with mountains instead of pebbles, but take it from someone who's been suicidal and managed to pull through. Life isn't as hard as you think it is. Take a deep breath and let it all out. Relax. Isn't it so lovely just to be alive?
Stay happy, my friends.