Stress is a funny thing. We all know that life brings different seasons—some highs and some lows—but we learn very early on that hardships are just par for the course. We know how it works so clearly and yet, we complain so much when those difficult seasons are upon us.
And by we, I mean me.
Life is a series of exhilarating ups and deflating downs. There’s some median coverage in the in-betweens of course, but we often don’t sit down to write about the average, ordinary Tuesdays. No, instead—we talk up the exciting times and share with our loved ones or coworkers or social media followers all the wonderful good that comes into our life.
And the bad? Well, it’s not likely that you’re sharing that side of your life on your Instagram feed. Maybe you’ve posted a funny Facebook status about your terrible experience at the post office, but statistically speaking here—it’s not too often that we outwardly gloat about our tough times. That being said, it’s almost as if the lack of sharing with our outside networks seems to overly cloud our most precious real estate: our own minds and hearts.
I don’t know about you, but 2018 was a wild year for me. So much change, so much uncertainty, but as always: so much growth. And here we are—one sparkly peep-toe inside the doorway of 2019 and it appears that my list of stressors and insecurities is only growing by the day. The start of a new year usually signifies a fresh start and new beginning; out with the old habits, and in with the new goals. However, this year it’s looking a lot more like managing my laundry list of overwhelming responsibilities and decisions.
Can anybody relate?
If you, too feel like you’re embarking on a monumental season of your life (hello, my 25th year) then sit back. I’m sharing the 3 things that help me when I’m feeling overwhelmed:
1. CALL YOUR PEOPLE.
The older I’ve gotten, the more transparent I’ve become with issues in my life. Perhaps it’s me trying to practice what I preach when I talk about the annoying perfection that is our generation’s social media accounts, I suppose. Mostly though, I think it’s just me realizing that we have support systems for a reason: to hold us up when we need it. Whether it’s career questions, relationship troubles, or battles of the heart—my family and my closest friends have truly been my saving grace. We’re not meant to go at this life alone, and it’s okay to ask for help. We don’t have all the answers, and 2019 is the year for me to stop acting like I do. My relationship isn’t perfect, my bank account is shameful, and I disappoint myself on the daily. Whenever I’m overwhelmed with something, it’s been so refreshing to be able to turn to those I love and trust most for sound advice and comforting reinforcement. If you’re currently bottling up fears, worries, or anxieties—stop! Call your mom, call your siblings, call your girlfriends! I promise you, it will sooth some of your uneasiness. If not for no other reason, then give them a call to at least go over everyone’s thoughts on Birdbox because WE MUST DISCUSS, right?! (DM me if you’d like to talk further on this!!!)
2. GET IT OUT.
Okay, so hear me out. Talking about problems with actual people (and not typing them in your Google Docs Diary, ahem…Alexis!) is great. But something else that’s helped me when I’m feeling overwhelmed is doing an exercise where I can practice actually taking the thoughts that are consuming my brain OUT of my mind and onto paper, a note in my phone, or my most favorite option: a color-coordinated spreadsheet. I’m a writer, and so writing things has always been therapeutic. I’ve had a diary on my computer since the age of 14, conveniently titled: Daily Complaints. I’ve always felt rejuvenated after spilling my guts onto the keys of my keyboard, followed by fiercely (but still carefully!) closing my laptop before snuggling under the covers. However, if the whole Dear Diary thing isn’t for you, try a simple list. What’s bothering you? What’s clogging up your to-do list? What’s a thought that you just can’t shake? Write those things down. Better yet, give yourself actionable items to do to help you get those things done or conquer that big stressor. When I make my highly obnoxious and yep, you guessed it—pink—spreadsheets of weekly, monthly, and yearly to do’s - I add in corresponding dates in which I want that goal to be completed. It’s nice to write everything that’s swirling around in my brain onto paper, as well as give myself a task associated with that goal. For example, in 2019 I want to increase my freelance work but instead of just stating that, I added in contacts to reach out to that could help me get started and I listed services I want to offer for when someone asks for more info. Having big goals is fabulous, but you gotta give yourself some stepping stones to get yourself off the ground, first.
3. GET MINDFUL & CONTROL YOUR THOUGHTS.
For me, this means diving into my faith. I go through lots of different seasons with my relationship with God—sometimes I’m reading my bible daily, and sometimes I go weeks without picking it up. Sometimes I’m having an open conversation with God everyday, and sometimes I go to bed nearly forgetting to say my prayers. However, when the going gets tough—I always come back to Him. Even just saying a simple, “God, I’m so scared/stressed/nervous/worried about _____, but I trust You. I know You’re with me through this. I trust You’ll guide me through it.” can give me instant relief. Other things that help me are yoga and meditation. Yoga has seriously changed my life in the past few years, and my mind is made new every time I leave the studio. Guided meditation is also incredible, and really challenges me to be alone with my thoughts while also learning to control them. Light a little incense and dim the lights, and I could lie on my mat for hours. Well, maybe not hours… because I obviously need food every 45 minutes… but you get the point.
Getting overwhelmed is just a part of life. It’s going to happen, no matter how ~zenned~ we think we are. However, learning how to cope with the everyday stresses of of our daily lives is something that we can start working on right now. What are the things you do to tame your stress? How do you deal when things get too overwhelming?
Please share any and all tips and tricks with me! We are all works in progress, and helping each other out is the greatest gift we can give.