We all face different circumstances and we all have varying levels of stress. At different points, this feels manageable and at other points, it’s really hard. This past year has been incredibly tough for everyone.
When I’m faced with stress from work, my relationships or the state of the world, there are certain rituals and practices I lean into more. Some of these are things I do all the time and some I rely on more when stress levels hit a high. Here’s what I’ve been doing recently to manage stress:
I would say setting boundaries is definitely not an easy thing for me, but I’ve worked hard recently to put boundaries around my work. Working from home during the pandemic with virtual school blurred all the lines, so now making those lines clearer so I can “turn off” at times is really important for managing my stress.
I started reading more in 2020 as a way to step away from my phone and computer and escape. Giving myself permission to read, especially on weekends, gives me the mental break I need to reset. Since I’m on screens all day for work, I really try to read actual books or listen to an audio book. In addition to less screen time, the joy of reading these stories takes down the stress levels too. A little escape does the mind good.
I’ve gone to a therapist on and off over the past 10 years and started back again this past fall. Having an outside professional perspective who can help me understand my feelings always calms me. Even when I don’t think I need to see my therapist, I find there’s always something to discuss that helps bring my stress levels down. Just talking through things, whether current or past issues, helps me center.
Moving My Body
Getting a little movement in each day is a big way I get stress levels down. When I don’t fit that in, I see an immediate and direct correlation. I often use my Peloton app/bike, but when I’m really stressed, I find moving outside in the fresh air is best. To me, there’s nothing better than a long walk outside to calm me.
I’m new to meditation, but started during the pandemic using my Peloton app. Doing a short meditation in the morning before I start my day or at night to unwind after a stressful day is so helpful. I especially love the ones focused on breathing. I’m hoping to make this a new ritual in my day whether my stress levels or high or not.
I know it’s been a tough year for all and we’ve all found different ways to cope. If you’re feeling the burden of stress or anxiety right now, I hope these help. And of course, please seek professional help if your situation is more serious. xo