By Callie McBride
Let me fill you in on a secret-I had one of the most stressful days of my life last week. Let’s just say leaving your phone in a cab, trekking it to an AT&T store in a downpour sans umbrella, while simultaneously dealing with unwelcome house critters -in the New York City humidity- doesn’t do a body good.
The worst thing you can do to remedy stressful times is to ignore your body and mind’s needs and shuck them aside for a later time. When stress creeps into your life, as it always does, its imperative for a healthy lifestyle to deal with it properly. How is this possible, when all you want to do is pull your hair out and shut off your brain for the day? I think I may have a pretty successful formula.
Here are my 7 steps to combating stress and maintaining peacefulness throughout your day:
1.) Always find a silver lining.
Believe in the power of positivity, and find the good in your situation. It could be anything from the weather, to an upcoming TV show, to your Twitter or Instagram feed. While I was soaking wet and getting more frustrated by the second buying a new phone, I kept thinking of my plan to crawl into bed and watch Girls on repeat that night (which I did, thankyouverymuch). Remember, your mind is the ultimate tool to changing your attitude and taking the focus off of whatever is causing you stress.
2.) Write out a list.
This one never fails. If you aren’t a constant list-maker, this may feel strange at first, but I find that writing things out always helps to alleviate stress. Schedule out your day or week, write out a to-do list, or even map out a list of things you want to accomplish. Getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper can release anxiety by simply changing a mental breakdown into a visual reference. Plus, its an excuse to buy an adorable notebook or notepad!
3.) Talk things over.
Tread lightly with this one, for you don’t want to turn a friend or significant other into an unwilling therapist. Still, finding someone who will listen to your problems, and even reciprocate with their own issues, can be extremely detoxifying, if you will. Here’s my cheeky go-to line: “So I need ten minutes to vent. What’ll it be, coffee or tea?” Your friend may just listen politely, or may try to offer advice. If you can find a confidant to rant to, be open to that advice! A second opinion or viewpoint is always helpful to find a solution to a complicated matter. Either way, talking out your problems out loud, similar to making lists, is stress-relieving in itself; often times you will end up seeing a new perspective as you are forming the words.
4.) Make an emergency “happy” kit.
Mine looks like this: Dark chocolate w/ sea salt, GIRLS on HBO, candlelit yoga or meditation, a long solo walk, the song “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities, and a hot bubble bath. This one’s easy. Keep a handful of “favorites” on hand to lift your spirits and calm your nerves. Call it Insta-peace!
5.) Consider the Big Picture.
When things aren’t going your way, its never productive to dwell over it and wallow in sadness. One way to beat that easy trap is to think about things from a different, much wider perspective. If work troubles have you upset, remember your career goals; if a relationship is on the rocks, remind yourself of your values and your commitment. It could be that your weight loss goals are taking longer than expected. Imagine yourself accomplishing those goals, instead of impatiently dwelling on the present, however frustrating it may be. Again, let your mind be your tool for peace!
6.) Take out the unnecessary.
Declutter, downsize, and decrease in order to de-stress. Declutter your home and work space, downsize any “stuff” that has accumulated in your home, and decrease any unnecessary time or effort into people or things that do not bring you a sense of fulfillment or happiness. In stressful times, you don’t need to extend yourself beyond what’s manageable, which means that an unreliable or unpleasant friend shouldn’t take up your free time.
7.) Enlist the help of Youtube.
If all else fails, head to youtube to cheer you up. We’ve all done it: hopped online “for 2 minutes”, landed upon a funny Youtube video, and spent the next 45 minutes searching and enjoying plenty of others. No shame! Pure joy and laughter can erase stress in an instant, and if an adorable baby panda sneezing does it for you, more power to ya! I would suggest “I Knew You Were Trouble Goat”, “Sassy Gay Friend”, any laughing baby video, and go from there.