Lately, I’ve been experiencing a high amount of stress, and I’ve been noticing that quite a few of my clients have been feeling the same way. The frustrating thing about high levels of stress, is that it usually perpetuates more stress. The frustration, at least for me, comes from the fact that I feel overwhelmed, and because of this, I find it difficult to properly take care of myself and do the things that make me feel good about myself. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, and I’m sure this is true for the vast majority of us, our worries and anxiety takes center stage, and our bodies, our minds, and our spirit take a back seat. It’s frustrating, because the worse we treat ourselves, the worse we feel. We start to feel guilty for not doing the things we know we should be doing, and we start to punish ourselves for it, and around we go again, our stress only climbs.
Now, there are a few of us that don’t really notice how badly our stress is effecting us until it’s gotten to a point where it is out of control. We tend to let the smaller things slide, but every time we let something slide, it starts to add up. What was once a “one time thing,” has quickly developed into a terrible habit. The saddest thing is, is that a lot of people have just assumed that this is their life. That stress is a part of life, and this is how it is.”I will forever have back pain because I work at a desk, and I’m old.” Or, “I don’t have time to cook, so I eat out a lot.” Simple things like getting enough sleep, and feeding ourselves properly become a burden, when in reality all of the crap that we have piled on ourselves to manage is the real burden. Our stress is mostly self-inflicted. Sure, there are stressful things that happen to us that are out of our control, however, how we choose to deal with these situations is up to us. On the flip side, sometimes, our stress doesn’t always start in a negative place. Sometimes, we are having the best time! You’re always hanging out with your friends, going on adventures, doing whatever makes you happy, and before you know it, you feel a little lost.
I personally find that my stress, at least right now, is a combination of feeling a little lost, and putting a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to my business. I’m finding myself in this limbo of trying to balance my hectic summer social life, work/developing my business downtown, and moving into the city. I do not feel grounded at all, and I feel as though I’ve spread myself a little too thin. When I didn’t really have plans last weekend, except going to my friend’s cookout on Sunday, I was so happy! I finally got to do nothing, and it felt so great. I watched Netflix, went to the movies, did my laundry, and spent a good amount of time looking for places to live. I finally got to do what I wanted, which was really nice. Because it’s the summer, and I decided not to compete, I’ve been taking full advantage of all the hangouts with my friends. It’s been amazing! But at the same time, I have gone too far to the extreme, where hanging out with my friends has become a bit of a distraction from the things that I need to get done, and the things that really make me happy. I am not training as consistently as I like (I like to train at least 6 times a week), and I’m not eating as consistently as I would like (6 small meals a day). This makes me feel worse about the situation that I’ve put myself in, and because I’m not working out as much, or eating as well as I usually do, it’s becoming progressively more difficult to deal with my stress. It’s a vicious circle, where I’m not grounded and I’m overwhelmed, which stresses me out and demotivates me from working out, or meal prepping, this makes me feel guilty, which again, stresses me out!
That being said, I know what my problems are. I know what I do that makes my situation worse, and I know what I need to do to correct the issue. The key is to start off small. Because I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, and I’ve been busying myself with my friends, I haven’t been able to do the things that make me happy, like write this blog, or workout everyday, etc. So here I am writing a new piece for my blog and I packed a proper lunch for myself today too. Small wins! But I’m already starting to feel a bit better, and it all started by putting myself first this weekend, and realizing that the shenanigans need to stop. I need to get back to practicing what I preach, which is “YOU are the most IMPORTANT person in YOUR life, and YOU need to take care of yourself because no one else will.” Doing small things like this for yourself, help you feel better, and they motivate you to continue to do these things for yourself. Eventually, your stress and the mounting pile of crap that was so daunting before, starts to become more manageable. This is because when you stop taking care of yourself, your work starts to suffer. Actually all areas of your life start to suffer, and your stress only increases. You need to take care of yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself to conquer life. Don’t ever be a victim of circumstance, and let life conquer you. I say this all the time, I just needed a little personal reminder 😉
Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, ground yourself in the things that bring you happiness. Listen to your favorite artists, read the book you’ve been meaning to read, join a house league, or a group fitness class. Do these positive and productive things for yourself during your down time, instead of smoking weed, drinking, watching Netflix , or playing video games. You may think that these things bring you happiness, and sure, they’re fun, but in the long run, these things take more from you than they give. When you do positive and productive things in your spare time, like a dance class, not only doesn’t it bring up your mood, but you feel so much more accomplished than if you spent that time on the couch. Plus, when you choose to do something positive and productive in your spare time, like a hobby of some sort, it can actually turn into something more. It can help you meet new people, help you with your current career, or heck! It could become your new career.
Either way, when you’re feeling stress and overwhelmed the best things that you can do for yourself is as follows:
- Participate in regular physical activity, whether it be a sport or going to the gym, either way it is one of the best ways to combat stress.
- Secondly, you should socialize with friends and family, but don’t fall into the trap that I often fall into, where I would rather be with my friends having fun and avoiding the things that are stressing me out in the first place.
- Try to relax! Do this through therapeutic breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi, meditation, or even a good massage!
- Set time aside for hobbies, like crafts, reading, listening to music, baking, whatever brings you happiness
- Lastly, and this may sound dumb, but stay positive! Laugh! Try your best to have a sense of humor about your situation, because crying isn’t going to change anything, so you might as well laugh! I would be lying if I said I never cried from stress or frustration, but I always try to cut it out quick. It only makes you feel sorry for yourself if you let it go on for too long, and having a victim mentality isn’t going to get you out from the pile of crap you put yourself under.
Life can get really crazy sometimes, and sometimes we let things pile up, but lying down waving your white flag is going to get you no where fast. Slow down, take a breath, and re-focus. Take it one day at a time, plan out your day, set daily goals for yourself, and conquer them. When you need to take a break? Workout! Read a book! Do something positive and productive. Something that raises your spirits, and gives you the strength to keep going. And lastly, surround yourself with positive and productive people! People who push you and encourage you to be your absolute best. This is how you secure your overall happiness and success.