Last week, I asked my Twitter followers for their top tips for stress. I’ve been a bit frazzled and faced with competing demands on my time, energy, money and attention. I’ve got a lot on my plate and when I think about it all at once, it feels somewhat overwhelming.
I’ll admit that I’ve been having a cry more often than I’d like and my blood pressure, which is always high (an ongoing complication following pre-eclampsia) has been a bit of a worry. I know that I’m generally well, but I also know that I could feel better. The joy that is ‘Three Good Things‘ certainly helps me to concentrate on the great things I have to be thankful for, and now I want to build on that momentum.
The replies that I got were really interesting, and followed many common themes.
- Being outdoors, in nature, especially near water.
- Gazing out to sea.
- Exercise – releasing endorphins to improve your mood.
- Giving yourself time, even if that means saying ‘no’ to things that might be fun, in order to create some space for yourself.
- Drawing, because it concentrates the mind on what you’re doing.
- Trying not to do everything at once! Break things down into individual issues, tasks, or problems. This makes them easier to manage than looking at everything you’ve got to do as one giant problem.
- Delegate responsibilities where possible.
- Eat well. Don’t rely too much on alcohol or sugar.
- Trying to get more sleep and quiet time.
- Meditating and remembering to breathe…
Since asking Twitter, I’ve tried to take up every single tip I’ve been given. Giving up sugar and alcohol is hard, but I’m trying to reduce my intake at least! Most things I already knew, but it’s all to easy to forget or ignore things when you’re in the middle of a period of stress instead of taking the time to really look at yourself, examine how you’re feeling and behaving, and then take steps to help yourself.
I realised a long time ago that in order to cope with stress, I need to move. A sprained ankle has put paid to most activity for the past couple of months and it’s only really hit me how much I’ve missed it. A fortnight of swimming and hill walking has really improved my mood and also my blood pressure. I took a reading this week, and it’s lowered to normal levels for the first time in months and months.
My plans for managing my stress now involve regular exercise, trying to look after myself a bit better, spending time with the people who bring me joy and going to bed a bit earlier! Oh, and regular camping trips to the sea or to the hills. More on that later this week!
What are your best tips for coping with stress? I’d love you to share them.