Friday, 20 May 2016

Five Ways to Stress Less

Over stressing is something I am well and truly guilty of. I've been a stresser my entire life, but recently I've been learning how to manage my stress and direct that same energy towards something more useful. Don't get me wrong, it's not easy. If you're someone that stresses easily, it can be quite difficult to relax but there are definitely several things that you can try to help ease up. Also, this post isn't to say that all stress is bad. I've had exams over the past two weeks and yes, I was stressed, but I used that stress as motivation to keep working hard. In today's post, I'm going to share my top five tips on things that I do to reduce stress - and hopefully, they'll help some of you too.

1. Count your achievements.
One really useful thing I've found when trying to reduce stress is to look at all the things going right, and taking time to appreciate those. Whether it's something as small as seeing a new follower or comment on my latest blog post, or something larger like a good mark back for an essay I wrote, everything counts. And it's all of these things together that work in changing your outlook on life as a whole. If you start adding up all the things that you're proud of, from the littlest achievements to the larger ones, you'll find that the number just keeps growing - and so does your positivity. With all the positive vibes, feelings of stress will go down massively. 

2. Take time out.
Sometimes you need to stop and take a moment to rest. Taking an hour, an afternoon or even a whole day just for yourself once in a while isn't being selfish. It's actually necessary to keep going, recharge and refocus. Having that mental break can give you time to forget the little things, and then when the time comes to get back to work, your mind will be  ready to take on the tasks at hand. Use the time to do something you love - something that excites you or makes you laugh. For me, I love to try out new makeup. I have a little box of new products that I buy each month waiting to be tried out. I love taking time to make up my face and experiment with the new bits I've bought - and if I find a new holy grail item, it's just a bonus! 

3. Get enough sleep.
You heard me. Sleep. It's so important that you get a full seven to eight hours of sleep each night, so you're well rested enough to tackle the next day. There is no point trying to function on any less than that because you just won't be as productive and you'll feel even more stressed with the guilt of being behind. It's also important to improve the quality of your sleep. Make sure that your mattress and pillows are comfortable, and perhaps dab a little lavender oil on each side before bed to help relax. If you find it hard to sleep, try drinking a mug of herbal tea before bed to help you unwind.

4. Be kind to yourself.
This kind of extends from getting enough sleep. You need to be kind to your body and health to reduce stress. This means a clean diet, drinking lots of water and getting some exercise into your day (even if it's just walking). Not only does being kind to yourself involve treating your body right, but also your mind. Meditation is something that lots of people find really helpful to do just before bed - I've been trying out the Headspace app to try and encourage me to do this. It's free on the app store and well worth a look.

5. Remember: one day at a time.
If it all gets too much, I live by this rule. Stepping forward with baby steps, aka, one day at a time, is the best thing you can do. I know it's really easy to get sucked into thinking about weeks, months or even years at a time. I'm very guilty of that myself. But when stress is getting the better of you, this is the best way to tackle it. Focus on the moment, on the things that you want to accomplish in that small pocket of time so that you don't become overwhelmed. I actually wrote an entire post on how to be more productive, which is the basic skeleton of how I tackle each day particularly when I'm stressed or there is a lot to do.


What are your favourite tips for reducing stress?
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