How I Manage Stress

This is a blog post that is near and dear to my heart. It’s honestly a topic that I take really seriously because it’s something that affects me & pretty much everyone that I know. That thing is stress.

I wouldn’t consider myself high-strung. People usually describe me as calm & laid back. My stress doesn’t necessarily come from external factors, but from the internal pressure that I put on myself. I have perfectionist tendencies, which in turn makes me work extra hard to make sure I’m going the extra mile. In high school I was considered the over-achiever & I felt like I had to live up to that, & still do to this day. It kinda all goes back to my consistent need to please people. But that’s a whole other blog post… What I want to talk about today, is how I handle the stress that I get from the pressure that I put on myself to accomplish everything with perfection. Hahaha that was a confusing sentence but you get the idea! 

Recognize that I’m stressed 

The first thing I do is recognize & admit that I’m stressed. Because I’m a perfectionist, I want my life to look perfect, which means I might be crumbling under this self-made pressure, but I’m going to act fine as I continue to push myself. It’s hard for me to admit that I can’t juggle it all sometimes, & that maybe I just need to sit down & watch Netflix & not worry about anything. I feel the constant need to be productive, so taking a step back & realizing that I’m being overworked is the first step to de-stressing.

Figure out why

Next I try to figure out why I’m stressed. Is it classes? Am I worried I won’t get all A’s like I told myself I would? Is it relationships? Am I not (in my opinion) being a good friend, sister, daughter, SO, like I promised myself I would be? This is the reflection step & a really important one.

Take actionable steps 

Once I realize where this stress is coming from, I can address that problem & break it down, giving me the actionable steps to solve it. (I’m also a fixer, so this fills my need to help, even if it is just myself). I will literally get a piece of paper and write down the steps I need to take to finish the school project, which will help me visualize that A. Or I’ll look at my calendar & decide what I can cancel so I can spend more time with my friends. Taking steps will help you feel in control & really start to actually manage the stress.

Remind myself that done is better than perfect

This is definitely the hardest step for me because I want everything to be perfect. But sometimes done is good enough & will just have to do!

Self Care

I pretty much just treat myself! I go back to the things that make me happy, even if that’s as simple as buying a coffee & going to Target for an hour. Stepping away from the thing that is making me stressed & distracting myself is my favorite tactic for stress management. I just have to make sure to not deny my stress, that’s why I do this last, after I’ve already identified the “problem.” 

I will also talk it out or journal. Writing has always been a great way for me to express myself & this is no different. I write about the stress & pressure that I’m feeling & it helps me figure it all out. This is the mental self care part & it’s just as important as the random trips to Target.

I hope this post gave you some tips for your own stress management! It’s not perfect, but it’s done 😉 & that’s what’s important!!

Also, yes I uploaded a photo of myself in a hotel bathrobe because it’s not a perfect photo, but it perfectly sums up me living my best life, stress free. *peace sign*

with love, 

jazz 

How to Relax after a Long Day

After a long day, you might be tempted to crawl in bed with ice cream & cry. But instead of making your already bad day even worse, try these tips to calm down & go to bed feeling refreshed. After all, I’m a college student so… I know stress. These are my tried & true tips for feeling better & regaining my focus.

1.) Do a Face Mask

Maybe don’t try the black charcoal mask that takes your face off with it, but try something that has calming, cooling ingredients to help you relax, such as a cucumber or lavender face mask. There are plenty of DIY’s out there for you Pinterest lovers, but for those of you who prefer to keep your kitchen free from beauty experiments, Target & your local pharmacy have a good spread of masks. Find a mask that is suiting for your skin type & needs. I’ll link my favorite below:

http://www.target.com/p/que-bella-174-face-mask-pamper-pack-6ct/-/A-50699630

2.) Read

I used to read all the time as a kid, but since coming to college I find myself turning to Netflix when I want to relax. As much as a good episode of New Girl can be fun to watch, reading keeps your eyes away from the screen & focused on something more calming. Here are some of my favorite books:

Eleanor & Park-Rainbow Rowell

Looking for Alaska-John Green

It’s Kind of a Funny Story-Ned Vizzini

3.) Write in a Grateful Journal

My new years resolution was to complain less & take a few minutes every day to reflect on all I have to be grateful for. It really is great to take a step back at the end of the day, no matter how good or bad, & see all there is to be happy about. Even when you’re having a good day, it’s important to check in with yourself & having a journal that you use to write down a few things you’re grateful for is a great way to do that.

4.) Pray + Meditate

I start & end every day with a few minutes of prayer & meditation. It gets my mind in the right place & reminds me that everything will be a-okay. It might take awhile to get used to sitting in complete silence, but focusing on your breathing & turning your phone off are the easiest ways to get started. There are also a lot of meditation guides on YouTube if you have more time to relax.

5.) Take time for your Hobby

For me, it’s writing for this blog! Pick an activity that makes you happy & calm & go at it! Whether it be coloring, yoga or cooking, anything that can bring your heart rate down & focus your mind will work.

How do you relax after a long day? Let me know in the comments! 

xo,

jazz