Your guide to finding your chill.
Why You’re Here: You are stressed the f*ck out, and you are desperate for any tips or directions that might help you find your chill.
What’s Inside: Some practical tips for de-stressing your life and getting back on track, along with a few solutions you might not have tried before.
How To Use It: We’re laying out a few tips or steps that could resemble items on a to-do list you didn’t even know you had, and that might seem… stressful. Approach each piece as you feel inspired to - be open to reducing stress but don’t force anything you are uncomfortable with and add to the stress. This is your timeline, and no one is pressuring you to address your stress except you.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
While it may not always be your fault that you’re feeling stressed, it is still within your power to work on adjusting the levels of how you are impacted so that it doesn’t completely wipe you out. It’s trial and error - different destress techniques might work in different seasons, and that’s OK. Trust your ability to care for yourself.
In a Refinery29 and Secret study of 1,000 millennial women published in 2016, stress, especially financial stress, plays a large role in women’s stress levels. In fact, 87% of women ages 18 to 34 found finances and money to be stressful. What’s important to recognize is that coping mechanisms that you can teach yourself are part of the healing process and a main way to reverse stress in your life.
WHAT TO DO
The best next step is the one you take, whether that’s a little something you do today, a habit you start tomorrow, or the plan you make for long-term health. Here are some ideas for each.
Body Scan Meditation - Take some time to scan your body. Sit with your feet planted on the ground - or even by laying with your body completely flat on the ground. Start at the top of your head and slowly scan your entire body, all the way down to your toes. Notice tension or tightness. Are any muscles sore? Are you hungry? Go slowly over each limb and every organ, and give it a few moments of attention. Give it a quick shake or roll. Keep your eyes clothes and your brain mindful of what you actually feel in your body. Once you assess your needs, try to take care of those parts of you today - if your back is in pain, perhaps focus on your posture throughout the day and adjust.
Digital Detox - Start simple. Delete all your notifications. See how it helps to minimize your interruptions and help keep you less distracted, neuroscientist and Boundless Mind co-founder Ramsay Brown tells Do The Good Stuff. Try it. See what happens.
Also, use your phone more as a tool. Delete the apps you don’t use or like. Give your phone a quick clean up and double-check your settings.
Stress Tests - Stress tests are conducted by a health professional who monitors your heart while you exercise, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. This helps to identify heart problems and help diagnose coronary heart disease. The test can detect several problems, which could indicate that your heart is not getting enough blood pumping to it during exercise or that there are abnormal changes in your heart rate or blood pressure. It’s also possible to check for shortness of breath, especially if they happened during exercise that was low level, or changes in your heart’s rhythm.
What are some of the physical symptoms of stress?
Stress can manifest in a variety of physical forms and symptoms. It can change your body, behavior and mood. Often, people having physical symptoms of stress might have headaches, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach, anxiety, restlessness, mood changes from stress, change in sex drive, anger or irritability, depression, sadness, overeating, undereating, displays of anger, drug or alcohol abuse. Lack of attention or focus, feeling overwhelmed, withdrawing socially and exercising less are also physical symptoms or ways you might respond to stress.
I want to start seeing a therapist. What factors should I consider?
If you want to see a therapist, first off, that is wonderful and congratulations. Remember at times it might be very comfortable and sometimes it might be very uncomfortable. However, seeking help, guidance from others and working to better yourself in all aspects of your life is a way to exponentially grow and become a better person not only for others but for yourself.
You can explore different types of therapy and treatment options, and check out Do The Good Stuff’s guide to therapy and finding a therapist. Do some research, find out what you’re looking for and ask questions. Figure out if this is just you or if this is involving someone you are close to.
Am I burnt out? What do I do if I am?
Are you chronically stressed? Do you wake up at odd hours reflecting on work assignments or upcoming deadlines? This could be a sign of burnout. It happens. If you are, identify those symptoms you feel, including forgetfulness/attention problems, insomnia, anger, anxiety, depression, increased illness and chronic fatIgue. Pay attention to whether you feel detached or apathetic. You can take action by addressing the issue and making lifestyle changes to help the problem, not worsen it. Start with the basics of sleep, eating, drinking water and exercising. From there, start saying no, set boundaries and begin unplugging. Those are concrete ways to help heal burnout.