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The last 4 weeks, for me particularly, have been the most stressful this year and I came to the conclusion that if I want to stay sane, I need to come up with methods that will help me to deal with a stressful situation. I know all of us are dealing with some sort of stress since 2020 and a lot of us realized the importance of self-care.
I want to share with you these easy methods that I use to handle stress or stressful situations in my life. This is not a solution to an existing problem and it will not guide you to find one. These are simply the things I do in order to deal with stress on a daily and weekly basis. These things help me to reduce the amount of stress and put everything in perspective.
When we are stressed, we can be all over the place. For me, it’s hard to put myself back together and try to focus on now, so usually, I use these methods for staying present in the stressful situation:
- Look around yourself and name 10 things in your room or surroundings
- Look around yourself and find 10 things of a certain shape or color
- Breathe in and out on count of 4 or 5
- Meditate, I would suggest guided meditation. Read my blog post 8 ways to practice meditation for alternatives if you can’t do the classic meditation.
Focus on yourself
By that, I mean focusing on the things that will cheer you up and benefit your body and mind. For me it’s usually:
- Face masks
- Face massage
- Painting my nails
- Cleaning and organizing my space
This helps me to focus on myself, what I want and like as well as on the present. Plus this is a type of self-care that automatically makes you focus on yourself instead of anything else. Your body, your space are you so what’s the best way to focus on yourself if not on these things?
I know it sounds easy but try not to think about what can possibly go wrong, don’t go through scary scenarios. While it’s important to be prepared for anything, sometimes we imagine things that will and would never happen, and this way we damage our nervous system.
I have a relative who thinks and lives like this and it has a very negative impact on me. I keep working on this thought pattern myself in order to have less stress in my life and I already see some improvements. I simply don’t want to focus on what “would” or “could” happen. When it happens I will deal with it but for now, I need to focus on the present and realistic future plans.
Focus on what you can do or change now
As I mentioned, there is no need to panic and the best way to deal with a stressful situation is to focus on what you can change or do here right now. If it’s personal, make a plan, write it down and start executing it step by step. Set your emotions aside for some time and approach your plan rationally.
A lot of the time, we stress about things that are not even our own problems. It’s ok to be empathetic and sympathetic, I am like this. But I think we need to distance ourselves from these situations. And if we really care and want to have some positive impact, we need to ask ourselves the question “What can I do now to change this situation?” and act accordingly.
Putting my phone down and not checking my social media for at least a few hours can be extremely helpful. Recently I started setting time limits for a few of my apps like Instagram and Telegram, and while sometimes I do click on “Ignore limit”, usually I just don’t care about clicking a few buttons and it makes me put my phone down.
No need to delete all the social media apps, I’ve done and it can be refreshing indeed. But I think simply setting the time limit is way better than deleting and reinstalling the apps.
If you don’t want to set time limits in your phone system or if you just don’t want to use your phone whatsoever for some time, I would recommend the app called Pommo. When you set a time limit in this app (so not in your phone settings), basically you don’t have the access to your phone. Also, you can create different projects within this app like “reading”, “writing”, “studying” etc. It’s honestly up to you how you call it and what time limits you set.
Surround yourself with trustworthy and supportive people
Recently, I started trying to avoid anyone who is negative, wants to start arguing, or pushes their opinion on me. I am an open-minded person, I look at different types of information, I assess it and I love to learn about the situation from different angles, then I form my own opinion that I rarely change it. With everything that is going on right now, I am not in the mood to surround myself with negative energy.
Whether someone likes it or not I am putting myself and my health first and it means I need to be cautious about who surrounds me. People who are positive, intelligent, can have a respectful debate, and can listen to different opinions are my kind of people.
I would suggest avoiding energy vampires online and offline. And just remember that you will not change anyone’s opinion even if you want it badly and all rational reasons are on your side. So my prerogative is to focus on myself instead of trying to prove something to others.
It might sound as if it’s my comfort zone and indeed it is, and I love it this way. Supportive friends who I can trust, who can be honest with me, and who also mutually respect each other help me to handle any stressful situation way better.
Listening to music without lyrics or too many words is another form of relaxation for me. It helps me to stay present and focused. Without a doubt, music can influence our mood and even day. So when I am stressed, I prefer to listen to something magical, relaxing, and something that has positive vibes. Some of my favorite YouTube music and sound channels are:
- Douglas V Rogers Lo-Fi music channel
- Any study with me videos
- Any rain, fire, ocean, or wind sounds
- Sound Forest Fantasy channel
- Autumn Cozy channel
- The Vault of Ambience
- Amelia Style channel
- Naturaleza Viva channel – it’s primarily ocean waves sounds
Art, journaling, poetry, photography, coloring books – all these items can help to deal with stressful situations. I love to turn on good music from the list above and just zone out. Creating anything is a very meditative process and I think it is one of the best ways to distract yourself from stress.
Spend time in nature
Nature is extremely healing, I love spending my time outside, exploring, learning about new plants, and watching the world around me. I also love being in nature because usually, my phone’s network doesn’t work, and secondly, I feel recharged and at peace after a long nice walk. My favorite parts about being outside:
- Listening to the birds
- Collecting rocks
- Learning about plants and trees
No, not on social media. Going out with friends or just by yourself can be a nice distraction from any stressful situation. I love going out with my husband or with our friends, it puts a lot of things into perspective. I am an introvert and definitely a hermit but, unironically, being surrounded by people in a nice environment can be extremely relaxing for me and it usually brings new thoughts and ideas.
Face your emotions and feelings
It’s normal and absolutely ok to be emotional during stressful times. Let yourself experience all these emotions – fear, anger, disappointment, hopelessness. Feel them from the place of “now” and not what possibly would happen. Just feel it now.
It helps me personally to understand why I feel this way. I ask myself a bunch of questions and in the end, I realize that some of my fears are not real and I overthink.
Expressing my feelings through writing, talking, creating, or simply crying can be healing too.
At the end of the day, life is truly stressful, it’s a fact. But I believe that we worry too much about things that don’t deserve our attention and distract ourselves from fully enjoying this life. Problems will never stop coming but our reaction to them is what’s important.
Read my other posts:
- I took 3 weeks off for self-care
- My top 20 favorite affirmations for self-love
- Self-care ideas under 20 minutes