Stressful. No, that is not the #OneWord22 that I chose this year, but that certainly describes the state of things right now, doesn’t it?! It seems that just about every conversation, interaction, or even just life, in general, is stressful right now. Have you experienced stress more than usual lately? Work stress. COVID stress. Travel stress. Even grocery shopping stress. Heavy sigh.
Don’t let the stress take your joy away. Just breathe. Stop for a moment. Take a deep breath through your nose and slowly release it through your mouth. Did you do that just now? If not, I’ll wait. And I’ll breathe deeply, too.
Do you even realize that you are stressed? Or is it only when your shoulders are tight and you have a headache at the end of the day that you acknowledge that you’ve been holding all that stuff in your shoulders and neck? Hopefully, you just moved your shoulders and released some of the stress hiding there.
Am I good at de-stressing? Not all the time. Okay, maybe not even some of the time. I get working and forget to get up and move away from the desk, or table, or wherever I’ve landed to work at the time. I work in multiple different schools and locations, so getting up and doing some kind of gyrating, stress-relieving dance doesn’t really go over too well. Dancing in my vehicle when driving is kind of a problem, as well. Although that doesn’t always stop me!
So what is the solution? That will be different for you than it is for me, but here are a few of my strategies.
Set a basic routine and stick to it. Get up at the same time so that you don’t feel rushed in the morning. Seems simple, but a lot of us keep hitting the snooze button and then have to rush around to get ready. Me included. So I set my alarm 30 minutes earlier and give myself permission to hit the snooze button a few times. Then I set another alarm just in case I shut off the first one. No sense stressing over whether I’m going to sleep through the alarm!
My morning routine consists of doing the same basic things in any order I want to. But coffee always comes first for me. Even if I don’t drink it right then, I make it and go about my business. I use the same two travel mugs for my water. I prep my lunch a few days ahead for grab-and-go food that I don’t have to think about. Clean my glasses. Put in eyedrops. Have a protein-filled breakfast – always.
Am I a creature of habit? Well, I’m much less stressed when my habits are consistent. I put things in the same basic location(s) so I’m not running around stressing over where they are. I try to start my day at the same time when possible.
If this sounds too restrictive for you, that’s okay. Maybe this stresses you out more! Find what consistencies work for you. Try to include some time to step away from your tasks and schedule some time with You. Deep breathe. Stretch. Walk around. Dance. Listen to positive messages in music or online. Take control of what you can and let go of what you can’t.
There are some apps that you can rely on as well. While that isn’t one of my strategies at this time, I’ve used them in the past and with students and teachers alike. Here is a list of 10 calming apps that you might find helpful: https://www.creativeboom.com/resources/10-calming-apps-to-help-you-beat-stress-and-feel-more-relaxed/
No matter what your calming space or time looks like, be mindful of taking that time for yourself. We are all stressed. I’d love to hear your strategies for a calmer life, too. Just comment on this post. Oh, and follow my Mother’s advice “Make sure you drink your water and eat your vegetables”. ~B