Dealing With Stress

Stress is something that is present in everyday life, no one escapes it, no one dominates it, we just have to learn to deal with it when it appears. My aim in this blog post is not to get overly technical about stress and how it is a problem or where stress comes from. I only want to help those of you that, like me, struggle with stress in your lives, from a non-expert point of view.
There is a key thing to know about stress and its consequences: stress can be good for you (if it is not too much). Stress can be positive when it creates some accountability and makes you do work that you would not usually do. This can be, for example, when you know you have a test and you feel stressed because you have to study for it, you are being held accountable for your ability to learn concepts and memorise information, that is why you are stressed. I recognize this is not the best example since you can be overly stressed because of an upcoming test but I believe my point has been made: stress can retroactively make you do positives things you would not do otherwise, like being more cautious, holding yourself accountable, thinking out of the box in order to solve a problem and many others.
However, what I am to help you with are those moments when stress is too much to handle, the moments when stress affects learning or those when it does not allow you to live your life to its fullest. There are many, and I restate many, causes to this kind of negative, paralyzing anxiety triggering stress: it can come from family, school, your career or even yourself, amongst many other possible causes of stress.
There are times when negative stress is so bad that people start developing symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be: anxiety, skin rashes, diarrhoea, chest pains, hair loss, stomach aches, dizziness, back pains, anxiety, the need to use coffee, alcohol or drugs in order to relax, tiredness, headaches, high blood pressure, and others. Yes, this is a very scary list but its purpose is not to scare you, it is to show you how negative stress can be and how important it is to identify it and to create strategies to deal with it. Please be mindful and aware of yourself and see a doctor if stress becomes too hard to handle, your mental health is very very important. 
Stress has no miracle cure you do need to identify and address its causes, to create coping mechanisms to deal with something that is going to be present every day of your life. In this blog post, I will suggest some creative - or very non-creative - ways to help you deal with stress.

Take Time to Breathe
Always remember not to let stress overcome you. Remember to get out and about, go for walks, take a day off... Pause and listen to what your mind and your body are asking of you. Stress relief can come from simply pausing and re-setting your life.
Simple things you can do in order to "take time to breathe" are, for an example, reading a book, talking to a friend, go on a walk, do a small out of town trip to a new place, discover a new corner of your city, do sports, paint, draw, be yourself for a little while. I am being very serious, simply going out for a coffee with a friend and talking can go a long way.

Get a planner or simply use your phone calendar to organise your life! It is essential to anyone's mental health to keep track of important events, work/school commitments, deadlines, doctor's appointments, and everything else in your life. I confess I am kind of a planner freak and I do lists simply for the pleasure of crossing out things I get done. 
Make use of all the technology you have available to you! Also, colour coding is amazing and you need it in your life.

Practise Self-Care
Take care of your body and your mind! Self-care is one of the most amazing things you can do for yourself. There are some things that are mostly common to everyone and then there are small things that only work for you.
Make a list of the thoughts that bother you, clean up/declutter your space, run a bath, treat yourself and your body, keep your mental health in check, drink water, brush your teeth, take your vitamins, there are so many things you can do!
Here are some links to help you out: Mental Health and Illness Stuff, Post-Ticket Self-Care Masterlist , Dealing With the Worst Case Scenario, Rhymes for Your Time (please leave more suggestions in the comments if you have them, let's help each other out)

Literally, just get some ZZZZZZZs. I am not joking, sleeping enough hours and on a regular schedule is very very important. Your brain is not a machine, sleep is its way to rest and you need a rested brain during the day.
I know sleeping enough hours is very difficult in today's world but you have to make an active effort to do it! If you were not able to sleep enough last night please consider taking a short nap to recharge your body.

Take Care of Your Diet
Everyone knows this one: you need to have a healthy and balanced diet. Do not let yourself fall into the MacDonald's and Doritos hurricane in times of trouble, it will only pull you down even more. Am I an example of this? No, I am not, I drown myself in chocolate when I am stressed. The thing is, you need to try to do it and in trying you will make it a bit better.
Make sure you eat enough carbs, sugars, protein and other nutrients daily. Also, do not forget to drink your water and do not overdo coffee and energy drinks, besides worsening your stress levels it can cause some very awful health problems.

I know this is a very simple and quick blog post for a subject matter that could fill pages and pages. Please take it as a reminder that it is possible to deal with stress, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Find your way to relax and enjoy life! Please do share some tips in the comments!

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