Friday, December 16, 2016

How to De-stress | Tips from a Self-Confessed Stress Head

A couple of months back, I read an Instagram post by Maria about mental health and how she noticed that a primary indication of her stress levels was her chewed fingernails. I immediately related as I have been a chronic nail biter for years. As much as I hate it, I have really struggled to bite (ha) the habit despite my best intentions.

I stress quite frequently. In fact, I stress quite a lot and it's in these moments of stress that I take it out on my poor fingernails. I've been using an app on my phone where I record all the instances in which I find myself biting my nails and it has really helped me realise that it is directly linked to moments in which I have time to myself (ie. during 'down time'). In these cases, my mind goes into overdrive as I stress about pretty much anything and everything.

I've been taking small steps to combat this in attempts to break the vicious cycle of stressing and nail biting. And although I know not everyone has this habit, I thought it would be fitting to share some tips on How to De-stress during a notoriously stressful time over the festive season.

Practice Gratitude This is something I never thought I would stick to, but ever since writing weekly 'Wonderful Wednesday' posts, I've noticed the world of difference practicing gratitude can make. Most of the things I worry about have to do with my future and frustration about the fact that I'm not where I want to be career wise at this point in time. Gratitude helps you take a step back and realise there are so many things to be grateful for. It's entirely possible to be both ambitious and not take for granted the things you do have even if your circumstances aren't what you initially envisioned.

Colour in Adult colouring books are hardly a new phenomenon. We've all heard the benefits, but I still felt like re-iterating how helpful it can be. I used to take art classes and was actively more creative (in terms of drawing, painting etc) than I am now. Colouring books are the perfect solution if you are stressed and feel like you need an easy creative outlet. All the materials are there: all you need to do is pick up some pencils and get started.

Read a Book Sometimes you just need to get outside of your head for a while and books are the perfect way to do this. In particularly stressful times, I naturally reach for more light hearted reads. They're great to read on the commute to work if you take public transport and audio books are ideal if you drive. Of course, reading a book is also the perfect way to wind down in the evening. I'm still guilty of looking at screens before I go to sleep, but when I do read, I fall asleep much faster and am less prone to being kept up late at night with an insurmountable number of worries.

Write it all out Whether it be through making lists, using a bullet journal or free form journaling, writing everything down just somehow makes everything a little bit better. Don't ask me how; all I know is it has been working wonders for me!

Meditate This is something I thought I would never take a liking to but it has seen me through trying times. You don't necessarily have to keep an every day schedule. The beauty of meditating is it can be done anywhere and whenever you need it most. There is no shortage of resources either in terms of apps if you're unsure about how to start.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your well being and mental health are of the utmost priority. De-stressing can even involve simply making time for things you enjoy. From one stress-head to another, you owe it to yourself to take care of you.

Image Credit: via tumblr

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