I’ve always considered myself to be a little bit of a “high stress” type of person. It’s a real challenge for me to live in the now because I am always looking into the future, figuring out what goals need to be met, what the next steps are and how I can improve. While some stress is helpful for me (I realize not everyone is this way), a lot of stress can really harm my progress, put a halt to my goals, and make me not so fun to be around. I’m finally getting to a point in my life where I am beginning to realize that it is more than ok to take a break just for the sake of taking a break, relax a bit, and stop and smell the roses.
While I am SO not perfect (I definitely had a meltdown last week while prepping for and completing my finals), I have found a couple of tricks that I keep up my sleeve that really help me chill the eff out…because I need all the help I can get!
Because I had a bit of a stressful week last week with finals and prepping to have a friend stay with us for the weekend, I thought I would share the tricks I used to stay sane and enjoy as many moments as possible.
1. Plan ahead.
Ok, I’ll admit it…I am a planner by nature. Seriously though, I think I came out of the womb with a planner, pencil and color coded pens. That being said, planning isn’t impossible for someone that has to work at it a bit. I know that I feel my best and I am able to be most productive when I am active and when I eat well, so I make sure to write my workouts and meals down at the start of my week (whether it’s Sunday night or Thursday morning!) so that I can stay on track and rock out whatever stressful life events may be going on.
2. Keep meals simple.
While I love experimenting, researching, and trying new recipes I know that I take a lot of TIME to do those things. When I have things like finals that are the current priority, I really take it back to basics and stick with super simple meals. Simple meals that Brian and I enjoyed last week:
3. Ask for help.
I think I am seriously the WORST at asking for help. I just don’t do it, but last week I knew that I could use the extra hour in the evening to study rather than make dinner, so what did I do? I asked Brian to cook dinner and provided him with instructions to do so. He also helped with the chores and grocery shopping, and believe it or not he was happy to do so! I often forget that people WANT to help out and really create a little unnecessary stress at times trying to do it all myself. I need to take my own advice more often and just ask!
4. Take a little me time.
This is something I don’t do enough of, but every time I DO take advantage of a little me time I absolutely love it. During finals last week, I made sure to paint my nails, watch a movie and take a hot yoga class. Yep! All while studying for finals and doing my normal routine (and I loved every second of it!). How did I do it? See number 1 above 🙂
I realize not everyone is a singer, so you could sub out the word “sing” for whatever creative activity you want (dance, paint, write, listen to music, etc). I made sure to sing along to the radio, sing at home with no music (Bernie loves it!), and listen to music that really got me going. It just feels good for the soul.
6. Go for a walk and/or stretch.
I try to get outside every day for a little fresh air and to move my legs. It’s amazing how much a little walking outside can really refresh and recharge me. Sometimes I add a little midday stretching routine to the mix. Moving my body really lifts my mood and helps me stay focused.
7. Write down all the to-do’s (empty the brain!)
If you are like me, then you have a gazillion things that are constantly being added to your mental to-do list. This list often prevents me from fully relaxing, but I have found the perfect way to quiet that perpetual to-do list down….put it all on paper. At the start of the task at hand, if I have a nagging mental to-do list I simply write it all down on a piece of paper. That way, it’s all out of my brain and I don’t have to worry about forgetting any of it…because it’s all written down. If you guys haven’t tried “dumping your brain” I highly recommend it!
I’m so happy to be through my big stressful week, and I’m definitely going to have to take a look back at this post when I am feeling the stress of the upcoming semester 🙂