If you’re wondering what to do when you’re stressed, I have some ideas. For starters, you may want to cook some healthy comfort food, to make sure that you don’t eat junk and feel even worse. I am baking right now some veggies with a mix of shredded cheese (and some water and olive oil).
I am also writing this post, which helps me get into a groove, so to speak, as opposed to having my emotions all over the place or focused on some particular negative thing. And as you fellow bloggers must now, when you write things, you clarify some things not only for your audience but for yourself as well.
Since we’re on the topic of food and drinks, remember tea is also wonderful. So make yourself a cuppa—or more—of some tea you particularly enjoy.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical or health practitioner, and no part of This Blog, or the websites and products I mention and link to on This Blog, is intended as professional medical or health advice, and should not be considered as such. Consult with your doctor(s) about starting any course of treatment, taking any supplements, or changing any (dietary, exercise, etc.) routines. Note that natural supplements and even some foods may interfere with certain medications. Here are my Full Terms and Conditions.
Once you get some healthy comfort food in you and your tea is ready, you can go watch a movie. You may know that movies relax you, so this may not be new to you, but try dancing as you watch a movie (this is a relatively new thing of mine), and you’ll see that your mood lifts in no time.
Okay, time to take a short break. I’m really hungry at this point and prefer to read from a book for fifteen minutes while my food is ready.
Okay, so I had my fill and it was great. And it really takes only a minute to prepare! I guess being stressed teaches one to look for all sorts of solutions. I used to make this dish with beaten eggs, but not anymore. It’s satisfying enough without the eggs, even as it may not look like it on a plate (important: remember to add some spices you like, or a blend of spices).
Moving on through a list of things to do in order to de-stress. But first, I do recommend eating something sweet with your tea—or other drink, such as decaf coffee—once you’ve eaten a good portion of food. I usually reach for a healthy gluten-free bar. (This goes for people who can handle natural sugars or sugar.)
Disclosure: This blog post contains some affiliate links. If you click on them and make purchases, they generate revenue for this blog at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. All affiliate links on this blog are identified as such. Here’s my Full Disclosure.
The Larabar bars below are vegan and gluten- and soy-free. Also non-GMO.
The Shanti Balance bars are created by a small startup of two women and produced in Florida. They are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, and organic. They also come with amazing superfoods like turmeric and matcha and, in some bars of the variety pack, with prebiotics.
As for things other than food, if you’re procrastinating, it’s a good idea to tackle at least some of the tasks on your to-do list, or else small and big things you were supposed to do may niggle at you.
Tidying up and organizing stuff to do is also a great idea, quieting down your emotions and your mind. I personally jot down ideas and tasks and all sorts of reminders on papers stacked next to my laptop. I never get to do everything I aim for, but every once in a while I go through a small stack of these papers and write whatever I haven’t done yet on a few other sheets of paper. This way I’m often reminded of stuff I may otherwise completely forget about for a long period of time, such as creating certain products on Zazzle or working with a designer to create a certain image—or, if not, looking online for various free substitute designs to use with some new slogan I may have come up with. Speaking of which, I often jot down slogans on these papers and then forget all about it. So going through old files is a good idea. (Here are some of my tea slogans and designs, so you can see some of what I’m talking about.)
The truth is, living in the twenty-first century we all have a lot on our plates. And sometimes when we’re stressed we tend to look toward being very active. This may be a mistake. The stress is already sapping your energy, so working too much—or checking feeds constantly—is not going to help things if you do that all day. What I suggest is engaging in some sort of activity where you both write down some ideas and tasks and resolve some of the day’s tasks, but only as long as you have that ball of tension in you. Once you begin to relax—and I’ve been feeling this for the past several minutes—it’s may be best to just pick up a book or go see a movie while dancing.
But remember to keep yourself—and others—hydrated with delightful drinks as you go through a stressful day. And if you do write things, don’t push yourself to finish a long post—or a short story, as the case may be. (I say the latter because some people, including myself, often get ideas for stories when we’re sad, upset, or stressed.) Give yourself time to relax, and exercise, and do something fun—like dancing.
Okay, I guess I’m doing a kind of interval training today, so after 20 minutes of dancing I’m back here for a short while.
If you have a way to massage your feet as you write, do that! There are some great machines for that these days that work with both air compression to knead your tired feet, and with heat, to increase blood flow and relax the muscles. If you have someone who knows how to do a good massage, go for it. It increases your body’s flexibility and it’s a wonderful way to relax. Of course, if you have problem areas in your spine or other places, be careful with that—better ask a doctor first for recommendations.
Time to watch more of my movie . . .
And now that I watched half of the movie, it’s time to finish a number of small tasks before I can shut off the computer, and read a little bit from a good book, among other things. This has been a very fragmented day, and I’m tired from stretching myself to do a bit of everything. But at least now I’m relaxed, which hopefully bodes well for tomorrow as well.
I just want to end with a thought for today, which is to make your goals more realistic—stress often comes from the pressure of unrealistic goals—and continue to pursue them in their changed form. I personally am always mindful of how I advance with my projects toward my goals and what I can expect from my projects in the short, middle, and long term, and I’m also trying to always pay attention to be there for my family and friends in certain ways.
Sunday now, and I decided last night to counterbalance my stress by going to a theater play very soon, so today I bought two tickets for me and my best friend. I find that one of the best ways to deal with stress is to take positive action as soon as you feel strained or anxious. Don’t expect the stress to diminish on its own. It might (I personally begin most days with a positive frame of mind), but then it may not!
Also, do set aside time, such as a day, to deal with odds and ends. Don’t try to do both creative stuff and bills, for instance, on the same day, because the two don’t mix and you ruin what could be a very rewarding day. Instead, if you do small tasks separately on one or two days a week, you may gain a sense of satisfaction from that as well. Or you could split the day in two, and do things that way. Yesterday I mixed writing with other things, and it wasn’t the best idea. But then again I got this post started 🙂 And I know that if I don’t write a post when I feel like it, or at least start it, I may never get it written.
Another thing. If you’re learning a foreign language or have another hobby, it is best if you do the bulk of the learning or recreation within a set time frame rather than mix it with tiny bits of social media or various other tasks online. In fact, I recommend you go through language lessons while on the computer, so as to be able to take notes as well. It will also save you time, energy, and (unperceived) stress if you go through a bunch of Word-of-the-Day emails, for instance. Or many words in your app one after another. Your brain does register all the transitions in tasks in a negative way if you’re already tired and does get into a groove once you spend more time more in depth with one task.
Speaking of languages and writing, if you’re a writer in English you may find that you learn lots about English (and varieties of English) as well while studying other languages. For instance, today I learned the word dépensier in French, which is usually translated as “spendthrift,” a word I wasn’t aware of, and which I still have trouble parsing. I mean, how do spend and thrift come together to mean “big spender”? And yet they do. And I have a French lesson to thank for that. (Incidentally, I also learned that you can use the phrase “a total scatterbrain” for a scatterbrained person—kind of how I may seem sometimes 🙂 Of course, I like to think I’m not 🙂 )
Okay, I see I got bogged down a little in this and that. Onward with suggestions for reducing stress. A good way to de-stress is to reassess your values. I find, for instance, that after an uncomfortable discussion with someone, it helps to take another look at myself, see where my values and priorities lie, and do what I think is right.
But reassessing your values can be quite a struggle sometimes, so maybe start by taking a hot shower and then lying in bed reading for a while. I often have things pulling me left and right after a shower, but when I do lie in bed with a book, it’s wonderful.
A walk outside can also do wonders, particularly if you can go to a park, putter in your backyard, or hike a beautiful trail. As little as thirty minutes can make a difference.
And if you feel you don’t have time, it may help to try sleeping less for a day or two in order to be able to enjoy more relaxing activities. Then again, if you’re super tired and need your sleep, it may be better to sleep longer for a day or two if you can 🙂
Visualizing yourself as happier and more successful is also supposed to help. It doesn’t do much for me, but sometimes I listen to soothing music in bed as I read, and it’s nice. Music definitely helps, whether it’s the kind meant for meditation or classical or pop music, for instance. I often listen to music as I write blog posts or fiction and poetry. Then again, if you’re very tired and want to make sure you finish a long post in one day, you may prefer to write without any other demands on your attention.
Did I say write? Yes, writing is one of the super great ways to de-stress.
Socializing can be too, but it depends on whom you meet and also on the kind of person you are. I often find that socialization at the wrong time with the wrong people doesn’t help me much (even as all socialization is supposed to be helpful in some ways). But then I’m also a middle-aged ambivert who invests a lot of time daily in various projects, and I’ve learned to guard my time (and, with it, my good, positive and constructive mood), much as I’m also paying attention to the needs of family and friends. And there are ways to meet the two. A great way to do that, for instance, is to share various experiences with your friends, such as theater plays, music concerts, nice walks, etc. Don’t settle (just for) for dinner. There are so many other life-enriching things you can do in the company of your friends, and you’ll find that there’s plenty of time for conversation too even when the main event is a theater play.
Speaking of sharing things, a great way to ease your stress is to help other people get out of their own bubble when they’re dealing with burdens of their own. I try to do this whenever I feel too lonely in some endeavors—realizing that other people may feel like that too, and may be too tired or overwhelmed to think of things to do. Then again, in many relationships there are people who plan things and people who are happy to embrace invitations. You have to be aware of this dynamics and work to come up with ideas if it behooves you to suggest things to do in some of your relationships 🙂
Also, it’s important to give yourself a pat on the shoulder for everything you accomplish each and every day—it does add up to a lot, even as it may sometimes seem you’re riding the same wheel every day. Trust me, you’re not. And it’s best if you can become quite aware of it, of how you’re growing, how your work and love is helping others, and how you’re doing things differently as you’re learning things.
And as you give yourself virtual pats on the shoulder, remember to smile, and engage with jovial people, cheerful thoughts, and happy movies and books. If you’re out of ideas, or if you’re into profound cultural products that don’t seem all that happy, try an Oscar-winning musical. In some instances, and depending on temperament and preferences, of course, it may be the best thing to help you decompress, with all the dancing and smiling it invites.
Also remember that forest bathing, and even walking in a park among trees, can reduce high blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels, and add to a feeling of calm. Trees give off volatile substances that help with all that and even boost our immune system. (For more details on this and more, see the book The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative [affiliate link], by Florence Williams.)
I could go on, but I meant to write about relieving stress quickly, so that’s what I did (hopefully).
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. As always, pins and shares are much appreciated!
To a happier, healthier life, [I see I’ve been inadvertently echoing Florence Williams here! 🙂 ]