Friday, 19 February 2016

Stress Free

As part of my month of self care, I want to reduce my stress levels and how prone I am to stress. (See my Pinpointing your Stress post.)

Discovering how high my stress levels were, in terms of causing anxiety and depression, has really shown me that I need to take action to fight against stress. It has shown me that there are certain things I should be doing more of, and less of.

Working out what causes stress is key for establishing how you can go about reducing it. I suffer with anxiety, and as a result I often find myself stressed out and flustered in everyday situations. 

Over the last week, here are some of the things that have given me major anxiety...

  • Travelling to Sweden.
  • When the security guard spoke to me at the airport.
  • My ears hurting on my flight.
  • Realizing I should have bought the family better presents on holiday.
  • Waiting for my report to come back from the designers in work.
  • Going to the cinema only to realise I forgot the card I'd prebooked my tickets with.
  • When the film was longer than I'd expected and I worried about being home late.
  • Having to call in sick to work.
  • Panicking I'll miss the bus.
  • Getting the bill in a restaurant.
  • Having to get up extra early because of the Luas strike.
  • Fearing I'll be late to work because of said strike.
  • When my compressed powder broke and spilled all over me on the bus.

I freak out about a lot of stuff. And it's often the things that seem small and insignificant to other people that paralyze me. I'm prone to over-thinking and over-analyzing the most basic of situations.

So how do we defeat anxiety and start to live stress free?
By trying to cut out unnecessary stress.

I can't just stop feeling anxious about social situations and new, often scary, experiences. That's not how mental illness works. But I can try to avoid some of these stressful moments.

To help me, I have created two lists - the things I should do less of, and the things I should do more of.

When do I not feel stressed: (Do more of this)
  • Crafting projects (generally, but scrapbooking can stress me out when I’m far behind)
  • Free evenings
  • Going for Walks
  • At Zumba (Unless there’s something nagging I can’t get out of my head)
  • Tea and chats with my favourite ladies
  • Playing ball with my dog
  • Cuddles with the boyfriend
  • Days off
  • Lost in a good book
  • Early nights

I do feel like I need at least one free evening and one early night a week to properly unwind; something I've definitely struggled to find time for this month (despite my self care promises to myself). It's also been a while since I've had time to craft, catch up with friends and play with my dog. Things that I know are essential for good mental health.

When do I feel stressed: (Do less of this)
  • Rushing home from work
  • Worrying about running late
  • Juggling various projects in work
  • New social situations
  • Overthinking about the future
  • Travelling
The things that cause me stress cannot all be avoided. I don't think it's healthy to avoid social situations just because they give me anxiety. And while travelling gives me MAJOR anxiety, I also love it and get great pleasure from exploring new places. But, with a healthy balance of the below list, I think I can get the best out of both worlds.

Life is about achieving a balance. And while I get stressed about making the bus on time, when the boyfriend holds my hand throughout it, it feels so much easier. Maybe it's about ticking off something on both lists every day?

I will be returning to stress and how to overcome it later in The Romeo Project when I look at my resolutions Be Free and Don't Feed the Negativity.

What should you do more of to avoid stress?

Happy Diaries

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