We all have truly stressful lives. It’s called being an adult. There’s no way to get around it. It is what it is. Whether there are deadlines to meet, kids to take here and there, budgets, spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, in-laws, jobs, school, or all the above, we all have moments in our lives when it feels like it’s too much. I am not a scientist, a professional counselor, nor a psychiatrist, but what I am is a person who has had numerous stressful times.
Here are some helpful hints that I’ve found to help relieve the stress in our day-to-day lives.
Have someone you can talk to
It pays to have that person that you can talk things out with and won’t judge you. Whether they are a family member, friend, or professional—when you need someone to talk to get things off your chest, it pays to have them. Nothing beats a trusted confidant. I do not know the science behind it, but talking about things and letting them out can give you comfort. It is reassuring to have someone tell you that you are not alone when you are going through whatever it is. It’s cathartic. It’s an emotional release.
Surround yourself with positive people
Being around negative people with negative attitudes is the fastest way to depress oneself. To make the stress in your life worse. Some people love the naysayers, the haters, and the ‘dream dismayers’. They use it as fuel, but they don’t associate themselves with these people on an everyday basis. Leave those trolls to their internet anonymity and their keyboards in their mother’s basements where they belong. If you know these people you will need to disassociate yourself from them. I’ve found that most negative people are either unhappy or jealous, and they sometimes unconsciously want everyone around them to be unhappy as well.
The sad part of that equation is that some of these people are your family and friends. It’s harder to climb a ladder or a mountain with toxic people pulling at your legs and weighing you down. They don’t want you to leave them behind, so negative people create doubt. They make you doubt yourself. They make you doubt your dreams and ambitions. Mostly because either they have failed, or they were too afraid to try. They are not you.
Surround yourself with people that want to see you aim for the skies and succeed. People who want to help you on your life’s journey. I’ll go back to my climbing analogy. It’s much easier to climb a mountain without weight holding you down, both physically and mentally. It’s also easier to climb that mountain if you have someone by your side pushing you. Someone who won’t let you quit. Someone that brings positive energy with them for you to feed off of when you’re running low on your own.
Take care of yourself – take time for yourself
Life is busy. It is a never-ending merry go round that we travel at autobahn speeds. Sometimes you need to hit the brakes and slow down. Take a side road, look at the countryside, and watch the leaves change colors in the Autumn. Sometimes you have to stop and take a breath. Maybe try taking a day-off from work. I call them mental health days. It’s a day where you don’t have anything planned, per se, except for a day not working. Do nothing. Play video games. Walk down your favorite street and take in the sights. Rest. Convince your stressed friends to take a day off too, and go to lunch with your girls or take in a ball game with your boys (Women you can go to the ball game too – not being sexist here, I know women like sports, too). Just take a break from the hustle of life. Slow it down, and at least for one day, relax. Free your mind.
Better yet, if you are able take a vacation, then get away. See the world. You’ll be amazed at how the further you get away from your home how breath-taking the experience will be. Do not bring work with you. Leave your laptop at home. Leave your work cell on the dresser in your bedroom. Leave it all behind.
When I had bad days I would go play basketball. I know it sounds strange, but I would go and play. For a few hours I forgot about whatever was going on, and I just had fun playing like I did when I was a kid. Once I got into an argument with my girlfriend, and played in the rain by myself. It helped me decompress, and I came back, in wet, but better mental space. There’s something about pushing your body and physical exhaustion that does wonders to your brain. You might just be so tired, and so relaxed that your mind can’t even worry about what was stressing you in the first place.
Maybe try and go out for a jog or a run. Runner’s will tell you that there is nothing better than running, breathing the fresh air, listening to your music, noticing things on the streets that you travel across every day but don’t have the time to notice in a car. The communing with nature and the sense of freshness overcomes your body. Go to the gym. Take out the stress of your day on the gym equipment, on the weights, or on the treadmill rather than on yourself or others.
I’ve found that sometimes you have to empty the tank physically to fill it back up with something better.
Write about it
Even if you never share your words with another soul, write them down. Writing is the most soul searching, gut wrenching, true to yourself endeavor you will ever partake in. Everyone has a story to tell, what’s yours?
Take them or leave them, I hope one of the five things I’ve listed helps you.
Do you know what all these things have in common?
Think about it. I’ll wait.
Okay, I’ll tell you. They are all various forms of release. Each one of the five things listed above allows you to let out the emotion or the pressure of the stress. Each one is like a physical steam valve for that pressure. It allows you to vent some of the stress from your body. If you don’t use one of these five things, then find something that allows you to vent in a positive way. Find something that allows you to open that valve in you and decompress in a positive way. Find something that helps you to be a better person.