How to De-Stress & Relax | 6 Practical Self Care Tips to Manage Stress

I know I write about how important it is to take of yourself; sleep more, stay hydrated, work out … and so on… but I haven’t been able to do any of that! I’ve been in this funk where I feel exhausted and lethargic all the time, I don’t want to do anything and all I want to do is sleep even when I can’t sleep because of the heat.

I understand sometimes we need a little stress to motivate us and help us go forward, however, too much stress is bad!

So here are a few practical tips that will take you from this …

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to this…

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1. Make time for yourself …

It’s essential to have time to yourself to be able to process your thoughts; this can either be done by writing it down or talking to myself or by talking to a friend.

I know this may seem counter-intuitive because you want time to yourself. However, you can cap this “speaking out loud”.

I know some people when they’re stressed they turn into a hermit by shutting off the world and disconnecting with people and they fall into this cycle of;

“I’m stressed that I’m stressing and I’m stressed by myself stressing …”

And although I’m alone, I’m not doing anything to make myself feel better.

So make time for yourself, and that could be done via journalling, writing, going for a walk, taking a bath … looking for yourself and so many things can be done in this bubble to have some alone time.

Something that really helps me is doing mindless tasks like cleaning, washing the dishes or taking a shower, it helps my brain go on autopilot and lets my brain think.

knowing what’s good for me Vs doing what’s good for me

There is no point if I have a drawer stocked full of supplements if I don’t take them and I opt for something like ice cream or on the other hand, knowing working out will help me feel better but I opt for watching Netflix. Sometimes we have to push ourselves to do things to feel better even if we don’t want to.

2. Accept the fact that you’re stressed and says; “it’s okay to feel the way I feel” …

I understand that growing up in this society we have to be performing at our very best and operating at full capacity can be a struggle, especially when we feel like we’re not working as hard as we can be or we’re not achieving what we want, we often tend to be harder on ourselves.

The worse thing we can do is compare ourselves to other people and yet we still do it anyway.

If we look at the law of thermodynamics;

“whatever energy you put into something will manifest itself in equal amounts when it comes out”

So, if we keep having a negative mindset we go down into this downward spiral of comparing and not taking care of ourselves.

So just accept the fact that you’re stressed and that it’s okay to not feel okay because we’re human and we’re not gonna feel great all the time.

3. Identify what is causing you stress.

There are two ways to categorise your stress; internal and external.

Internal Stress:

Internal stress is all the expectations for yourself, all the negative talk; “you’re not good enough” all the voices in your heads, all these thoughts and the self-comparisons is all the internal stress.

External Stress:

External stress can be caused by a number of different reasons like:

  • Daily hassle
  • Natural/technological disasters
  • Life changes
  • Terrorism
  • Type A behaviour (difficulty expressing emotions, competitiveness, drive, perfectionism)
  • Conflicts
  • Frustration
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Environmental Factors (noise, crowding, disaster)

We may not notice these stress triggers, for instance, we may just accept the fact we have voices in our head pulling us down when really we shouldn’t, we should show ourselves love and tell those voices to shut the f*ck up.

4. Avoidance Vs Acting coping

So there are two ways people tend to manage stress:

a) Avoidance coping: Reduces the immediate impact of stressor at a cost.

So people who opt for this coping mechanism tend to avoid the stress by either partying or binge-watching Netflix.

So the cost of opting for this mechanism is that instead of managing or dealing with it, you’re pushing it aside and over time it grows into this giant mountain of stress.

b) Active Coping: Rationally evaluate the stress triggers and being able to manage them by planning efficient ways to soften the impact. 

5. Active coping in action!

So as action mentioned, there’s a vast difference in “knowing” and “doing”, so this is the section where we’re gonna talk about “doing.”

Being pro-active! 

So here are a few examples of stressors and here are a few solutions on how to be pro-active:

  1. Spending too much time working, on the computer etc etc
  2. Poor sleep schedule

So for “spending too much time working and starting at a computer screen” – every one hour take a 10-minute break of sitting outside, maybe stretch to give yourself a break and try not to think about work.

For the poor posture – Planking every day for a minute (or a couple of minutes) really helps, along with stretching to straighten out your back. Obviously, this will take time to see results so keep at it!

6. Turn stressful thoughts into grateful thoughts! 

When you’re stressed, it’s very likely you’re not gonna be grateful for anything because you’re so overwhelmed by all these stressors that you don’t see the obvious things like good health, having a roof over your head and knowing some stressor (like exam stress) will pass.

Talk to yourself like you’re talking to your best friend if they’re sad or stressed.

Tell yourself it’s okay, tell yourself it’s one mistake and you can pick yourself up. Be kind to yourself. Turn all the negative thoughts into positive ones.

I hope you found this helpful and I hope you feel better and remember it’s okay to go through what you’re going through.

Nisha x

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