Remember back in 2019 when we were all counting down the seconds, minutes, days and months until 2020 began? A new year. New possibilities. A time to start fresh and leave our stresses and anxieties behind us.
Enter 2020. We’re barely half way through March and it’s safe to say that, the majority of us, if this year was a movie, would ask for our money back and demand to speak with the manager. Only, this isn’t a movie, but the reel keeps spinning.
Stress and anxiety will derail us if we don’t get a handle on it. When we feel like we’re not in control, we feel like we will lose all control. There are catastrophic things at work that are beyond anyone’s ability to handle! There’s no end in sight! My bills, my family, my job – all of it lies in the balance! I can’t change the outcome! These are all valid concerns – 100% – but we can manage.
“If you don’t like something – change it. If you can’t change it – change your attitude”. This advice from Maya Angelou is stated so simply it almost seems like a no brainer. But how do we change our attitude? We take some deep breaths, occupy our minds with something else, and the same thoughts keep creeping back again almost as quickly as they left. GIVE YOUR BODY A STARTING POINT FOR A NEW ATTITUDE. Just as a plane can’t safely land on a runway full of clutter, our minds and our bodies can not allow the positive when we are to cluttered with the negative. How do we remove this clutter? Here’s 10 ways:
Especially if you are ill. Your body needs to recover and recharge. Get more sleep. Lack of sleep is a major contributor to stress. “But stress is keeping me from getting sleep!” True. Stress will do that to you. Create a tranquil setting fro your self. Create a nighttime routine. Get your mind and body in a pattern of knowing that it’s time to sleep. Limit your caffeine, alcohol and sugar in the evening. In fact – curb it my 3:00pm. Get your work done as early as possible so that you give your brain a chance to shut off. NO PHONES OR COMPUTERS BEFORE BED! The blue light alone will contribute to insomnia, let alone the stress of social media and news. Which leads to –
2. CONTROL YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FEED
Don’t like the drama? Cut it out. There’s no room for it. Unfollow profiles that cause you stress. That can be people as well as news or men sites that make you feel helpless, stressed and sad. Memes are funny, but can also subtly allow a tremendous amount of anxiety into your thoughts, which we are trying to fill with positivity.
Move. Get your blood flowing. Not only will this help you sleep better, but it will also regulate your stress hormones and calm your body. Get into a routine. Start in the morning if possible so you can meet the day on your terms. A brisk walk at lunch or in the evening is another good way of finding some peace. You can also check out our workouts to get your blood pumping and reduce anxiety.
It can be extremely hard to do. Start with your breath. It’s something you can control! Find a positive manta that you can repeat and breathe into your new attitude like “I deserve peace” or “I need serenity”. Something simple. Inhale through the nose and out with the mouth. Sit. Be still.
5. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and sugar
Yes, this does include WINE! These are behavioral stimulants. They will effect your energy levels, make you crash and feel irritable. You will feel tired but won’t be able to sleep. Clean your body out. Stay hydrated. Get your electrolytes.
6. TALK IT OUT
Get your thoughts out of your head! Talk to someone you trust. Stress also has the ability to cloud your judgement and keep you from making rational decisions. Maybe you’ll find that you’re not the only one feeling the way you do and that you have an ally in your battle.
Call it a diary, or a journal – whatever you like. Date it. Include the who, what, why and how you felt. Look for your triggers. Compare your stresses. Find the positives in how you handled one thing better than the other.
8. HEALTHY HOBBIES
It’s ok you consider exercise a hobby. But we covered that. This is different. What makes you happy? What brings you peace? Painting? Knitting? Gardening? Playing a musical instrument? Give yourself time to do this. Be a kid again.
9. SAY NO AND ASK FOR HELP
A major source of anxiety is having too much on your plate. This is when we think, “I can handle it” because you haven’t had a total breakdown yet. Don’t give yourself one! Be aware of your capabilities. Spreading yourself thin will lead to even more stress. “Did I cut too many corners on this project?”, “Could I have done better had I not been so overwhelmed with all these other things?”
Learning to say “No” will lead to more self-confidence. Often times we’re afraid to say no because we want to be liked, or we fear missing out on another opportunity – don’t forget to like yourself! Love yourself! Spurning an opportunity because we can’t give it our best could be just as damaging.
Ask for help. You can’t do it all. You just can’t. And that’s ok. It makes being a human that much easier.
Get in the habit of being honest. “I’m sorry, I can’t right now – I have a lot of high priority items I’m dealing with right now.” “I would love to, but there is just no way I could give this my top priority with everything I’m working on right now”. See? There’s nice ways of saying no.
Cut your immediate costs. Is there anything you’re spending money on that you don’t need? Are you still paying for past subscriptions to online sites, apps, or services that you forgot about? Check. Stop them.
Where are you shopping? Are there alternative locations that are cheaper? Check your eating habits – Are you spending money on things your body doesn’t need? Alcohol? Junk food? Right now your body needs nourishment to combat your stress. Give it what it needs and save the rest for another time. As much as we think Ben & Jerry’s will make us feel better – which it will, for about 5 minutes – it will leave our bodies in worse shape, our pocket books needlessly $6 lighter, and our thoughts regretting a needless purchase. Did I mention that sugar and alcohol also lower your immune system? Just saying.
We can’t control everything. What we can control is our approach to handling things differently. Our response is our responsibility. We can do this!