Stress…every adult has felt it at some point or another. Some thrive on it, or claim to thrive on it, and others find ways to deal with it when it rears its ugly head. Some hide away from it, ignore it, freak out about it, or deal the best they can and then burn-out.
I had a crazy, chaotic day yesterday and I thought I handled things better than I have in the past. Not saying I was perfect, did my share of freaking out, but it was a bit more contained than normal. So I thought I would share some tips and tricks that I think might help you the next time you’re having ONE OF THOSE DAYS!
Write it Out
Write a quick to-do list, even if you normally keep everything on your phone – writing a quick list of everything on your plate might help you see your day better, maybe you can move stuff around more than you thought you could. Or, turn on the timer for 2-3 minutes and just write out your frustrations. Get out the annoying things that are clogging up your day. (Tip – and this is TMI, but if you’re really strapped for time, do this while you’re already in the bathroom – you know, doing your business – I told you, it’s a bit gross, but instead of mindless playing Angry Birds, write out your stress)
Have a friend, partner, or significant other that you can vent to? Great! Tell them you just need to talk for a few minutes and then let it rip. That might work better for you than writing it down. Or, if you don’t have anyone to talk to – talk to yourself. Yes, you’ll look like a crazy person, but it might help to just let the steam out…like one of those Instant Pots – you have to release the valve at the end before you open the lid. Otherwise, the whole thing could blow. Yikes!
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Stop blaming yourself. I am sooooo guilty of this – even if the stress has nothing to do with me, I find a way to blame myself. Even if you are guilty of causing the stress – oh well, placing blame isn’t going to take away the immediate stress you feel so stop, deal with your day the best you can, and then later – when it’s calm and you feel better – assess what went wrong and what you could do to avoid the situation in the future. Stop making yourself feel worse just because it’s one of those days.
Be Kind to Yourself
To go along with that, be nice to yourself. I was feeling crazy pressure to get a whole bunch of stuff done and laundry was on that list. So I raced down to the laundry room in our apartment building and the machine still had 5 minutes left so I sat, and I took 5 minutes to just breathe, think through things, look over my list, and watch a cute YouTube video. That 5-minute pause really was all I needed to get through the next few hours of Nutty Running Around. I did it again after lunch too and then again after we got home from a meeting. What would make you feel good even for just 2-5 minutes? Try to find or make the time.
Admit You Can’t Do It All
My son’s birthday was this past week and I had arranged a small snack-time party at school with his class. Now I make a mean cupcake, and I could have baked up 3 dozen and frosted them all with homemade buttercream – but why? Why would I do that to myself when I’m also trying to write a book, work, volunteer with the Parent’s Association, be a wife and mother, be a friend, be a daughter – you get it? Why?!?! So I went to the store and bought his favorite frosted Chocolate Donuts and he was happy, his classmates were happy, and I was happy. That’s what I call a Triple Win Baby! Is there anything on your list that someone else could handle? Or even future YOU could handle?
Stressful day is over? Did you manage to get through it alive? GREAT! Grab your favorite beverage, dessert, movie, or TV show and give yourself the gift of slowing down and enjoying something. Tell yourself that you did a great job, even if in the moment it all felt like it was going to hell in a handbasket. You made it. You did it! I’m proud of you and you should be proud of yourself.
Do you feel better? Do you feel like maybe the next time all the stress falls on your shoulders you’ll be better equipped? No…make your own list. What do you think MIGHT work for you? Write it down as a note in your phone and when you have ONE OF THOSE DAYS, grab your list and try something. You never know what will help in the moment. For me, it was that 5-minute break in our laundry room to do nothing for Five Glorious Minutes…that helped me get through so much of my mile-long to-do list and gave me permission to do it again later in the day.
What do you do when you’re stressed out? How have you managed to keep stress from causing you to tear your hair out or have you taken to wearing hats? Let me know in the comments below.