I struggle with more everyday stress than I’d like to admit. Especially over the course of the coronavirus lockdown, it’s been hard to handle some of my stress. Most people feel stressed to some extent everyday, but too much stress can have a negative impact on your body. I’ve talked a lot in the past about how I personally deal with stress and anxiety, so I wanted to try something new. To get a better look into how other people handle this problem, I asked my email subscribers to share their answers to three questions about how to deal with everyday stress.
What methods do you use during the day to relieve stress?
“Mindfulness is my favorite way to take a step back from worrying thoughts and stressful activities. I find mindful activities like journaling, cooking or yoga especially good for refocusing my attention when I’m stressed about things that I can’t change. On super-stressful days, even just taking five minutes to practice mindfulness with a hot cup of tea can greatly reduce my stress! I pay close attention to my senses: the wisps of rising steam, the heat of the mug on my fingertips and the slight burn of the tea as it touches my tongue. I allow my stressful thoughts to float by gently, acknowledging them and letting them go. Once I’ve finished, my stresses always seem much calmer and easier to deal with.” -Kie
“I really have little stress most days because I am retired. If a bad driver riles me, I tell him what I think of his driving from the comfort of my own car. Somehow saying the words seems to help. Sometimes a long line at the grocery store is a stress but most of the time I accept life as it is. We will always be disappointed if we expect things to always go perfectly.” -Rita
“I have found that reading, spending less time on social media, yoga, and counseling sessions have been very beneficial for me during this time!” -Abby
“If I’m really feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I try a few things. Focus on an ‘obtainable goal’ I know I can get done. Accomplish something and try to get some momentum going. Think about what I can and cannot control. Often you can influence things out of your control. This can be helpful to gain a proactive mindset. If I’m still stuck, and I remember, I do a quick ‘gratefulness’ exercise where I think about what I am thankful for. This one is the best when you remember to do it! It works for me.” -Ryan
How do you unwind after a stressful day?
“After a stressful day I like to unwind with music and either a good book or my journal. Journaling is especially great for my mental health because on days that have been really stressful, I like to write up a list of everything that I have achieved that day or week. It makes me feel accomplished, de-stressed and puts me in higher spirits the next day too.” -Kie
“When I do have a stressful day, I find that talking about it helps me. Also, a little wine never hurt anything!” -Rita
“I unwind by watching a lighthearted and funny show, reading a good book, or meeting a friend at a coffee shop and talking (under normal circumstances).” -Abby
“After a stressful day, I like to focus on a healthy dinner, rehydration, a little couch time and getting to bed early. Even just 15 minutes earlier than normal can improve moral! Sleep is important!” -Ryan
How well do you think you handle everyday stress?
“Now that I am more self-aware of my depression, anxiety and BPD, I am a lot better at handling stress. Daily inconveniences don’t affect me as badly now that I am more in control of my emotions. However, if something really stressful happens then I am no stranger to a meltdown! Luckily though, I am able to de-stress at the end of the day so that my stress doesn’t mount up over long periods of time.” -Kie
“I think that I handle stress pretty well. I will share a couple of very stressful times in my life and what helped me get through them. The first was quitting smoking. This is one of the most difficult things a person can do. If something happened and stressed me out (for example, a boss asking a dumb question or telling me to do something that made no sense), instead of telling myself that was a good excuse for a cigarette, I said to myself, “if I smoke this cigarette, that is not going to make my boss less of a jerk”. Same concept with getting divorced. When I thought of crazy, mean things to do to my ex, then I would remember that doing those things would make me just as bad a person as he was! I think it is important to avoid outside influences on the person you are. Don’t let someone else’s action make you do something that does not reflect the person you are or the person you want to be.” -Rita
“I think it comes in waves. Some days I’m fine, and other days it feels like the world is falling apart all around me. Lately, counseling has helped me so much. My counselor has given me tools to help me cope with stressful situations. I’ve also found that not looking at the news also helps me stay a little less anxious.” -Abby
“I like to think I handle stressful situations well, but I’ve also made many mistakes. It’s important to reflect and learn. I picked up a few tricks from unconventional places, and also from where you would expect to find help. I used to sail a bit, and when things went wrong, there was usually a lot of noise from sails flapping and some dangerous ropes either whipping around or under load. This taught me to block out all the noise and take a second to think before acting. Slow and sure vs fast and reckless. Strive for cool, calm, collected and connected! For me personally, going outside helps, but outdoor recreation really helps. Sometimes I might go a few weeks without, and I’m pleasantly surprised with improved patience, focus and happiness after!” -Ryan
As I read through these responses, I related to some answers and I learned from others. I hope that reading about other peoples’ experiences with everyday stress helps you to realize that you’re not alone and maybe give you ideas that you can use for yourself. If you feel like your stress is out of control, read my blog post The Difference Between Normal Anxiety and Anxiety Disorder to see if your stress might be something more. Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts on these questions and subscribe to my email list if you’d like to be included in upcoming blog posts!