Well this is a pretty close topic to my heart as its something I have struggled with throughout my entire 20’s and into my early 30’s.
In the past I have felt pretty “trapped” within my own stress and have found myself without the skills and mechanisms to literally “cope” with what modern society was throwing at me.
I often wondered if there was something along the way I had missed? Was it a subject at school that I had totally tuned out in? Looking around me I always saw people thriving off the stress, intensity and fast pace, often leaving me deluded and wondering – WHAT THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH ME? Why did everyone else find this s*it so easy ?!
I have realised that some of us are better equipped at dealing with life stressors, however a lot of us aren’t! Put it down to physiology, genetic makeup, coping skills, personality….to be honest I really don’t know why some people are better equipped and some are not, however it’s definitely something I struggle with constantly and I am hoping one day I will learn to turn this into a strength!
Here are some things that I have learnt over the many years dealing with my own stress and anxiety. I hope some of it inspires you to find out what may work for you. None of this came to me overnight, it has literally taken me years to figure out what makes me feel good!! And in all honesty I am still learning.
1. Morning Pages
I have implemented this one recently. Basically all I do is wake up a bit earlier and get whatever is on my mind (which for me is usually EVERYTHING)………out. Get it ALL out. All out in just 3 pages! I write anything and everything that comes into my head. It usually is a bit schizophrenic, but that’s the aim, its doesn’t need to make sense. It’s really just a massive brain dump.
It’s quite therapeutic and sometimes you don’t even have to get out of bed to do it! I wake up, keep my notepad on my bedside, pick up a pen and then just write. I get the noise out of my head so I can start the day without it circling around and around in brain loops.
You can read more about Morning Pages here.
2. Downtime & Rest
I have had to incorporate this into my life BIG time! I have realised that sometimes I just need to lie down, rest and do nothing. Yes you heard me right….N-O-T-H-I-N-G!!
The older I get, the more I am enjoying my own company and I actually get more energy from being on my own. I do like people, however I find that at times I am also very drained by people. Not everyone, but some people.
I have realised that I am a Highly Sensitive Person and tend to absorb others energy quite easily. I am now better at handling this, however in the past I would stand next to someone and I could quite literally feel their anxious energy seeping into my body. I have researched this and have learnt a fair few people also experience the same thing and therefore rest and downtime is essential to re-energise.
You can read more about the Highly Sensitive Person here.
I have found that yoga really helps with my stress levels. It seems to lower my heart rate after a stressful day and I feel really “blissed out” once I have finished a class. I practice a combination of Iyengar and Vinyasa, however if you want to start yoga, go to a few different types of classes and figure out which one is best for you.
Oh and those people that say to me……..”yoga really bores me, I cant sit still for long periods of time” – are the ones that should DEFINITELY be taking up yoga. If you can’t sit still, you are fidgety all the time and can’t focus – well that probably means yoga would be great for you!
I have only recently learnt how to meditate and its something I need to keep practicing. I have been to some deep places in my meditations – where I have seen white light, beautiful vibrant colours, amazing clarity & even a meditation where I had tears literally streaming down my face.
Yes there is something deeply profound and spiritual about meditating. Give it a go – I started with Oprah and Deepaks 21 day Meditation Challenge and then took up some free community classes.
5. No binge drinking!
Ever since I swore to myself a year ago that I will not binge drinking again, I have felt sooooo much better! Alcohol was a big cause of stress and fatigue in my life.
I guess I saw drinking as a bit of a stress release, but it didn’t work – it made me feel worse. I drank because I didn’t want to feel left out. I drank because I didn’t want to lose friends. I drank because I didn’t want to miss out on the “fun”. I did have some fun partying at the time, but boy it wasn’t good for me.
I have realised that alcohol is just not right for me. I’ve always been pretty small and quite fit so my ability to keep up with the drinking wasn’t great. I have decided however, that I am not going to “keep up” anymore. I don’t need to.
Apart from the mental health benefits of not binge drinking, I have also noticed that my skin is much more hydrated, glowing and the lines on my face have disappeared. I can tell you for a fact….it has done a world of good for me.
6. Creative outlets
I have a found a few creative outlets recently and my main ones are working on my website, writing and photography (for Instagram + my blog). These reduce my stress levels as they allow me to find my flow and therefore forget my worries + problems.
My Mum was always telling me “BK…. (thats my Mum’s nickname for me) you must find your creative outlet”. Mum is a very good artist, very creative – she sews, knits, cooks, paints, draws, you name it, she can do it. However I guess I just struggled trying to find my own creative outlet. None of the typical artsy things really resonated with me – I just didn’t have the patience.
However I have now found my own creative outlets and I get whisked away for hours doing them! I hope I can find even more that I can enjoy.
7. Finding your passion
This is a biggie!
I think a lot of my stress in the past was around the fact that I knew deep down there was something else. Something I needed to tap into, but I was so frustrated as I couldn’t figure the damn thing out! I always liked the idea of being an “entrepreneur” – using my creativity to do what I love and make money. I just didn’t know what that was.
Starting at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and finding this whole health and wellness community has opened up lots of doors for me and I have now found my passion. Its a great feeling and almost a relief that I don’t have to keep searching (a bit like dating!). I know it will evolve over time and I hope I can do some amazing things with it!
After reading this post, I hope you too can find some ways to eliminate your own stress. Tell me below what you do to create a peaceful life and unwind. Would LOVE to hear about some of your experiences with stress + anxiety in your own life.
The more we share the better we will be able to help each other out and I am all for that!
With love + health
Photography credits to: