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Guest Post: Stressed

July 11, 2011

Hey all! My name’s Amanda, and I’m a newbie to the blogging world (please visit me @ http://letmebewhatsunderneath.wordpress.com).
I blog about anything and everything- including: work, my social life, lessons I’ve learned, happiness, my journey as I’ve started running, and more! I have found blogging to be so much fun and have really enjoyed “meeting” so many people through the blogging community! I love reading Britt’s blogs. She has such a positive attitude so I’m thrilled to be a guest blogger for her! 🙂
Today, I’d like to talk to all of you about managing stress. I think that stress management is a huge part of healthy living. You can eat well, exercise often, and sleep well, but if you aren’t managing stress appropriately in your life then you aren’t truely being healthy! I, myself, have really struggled with managing stress throughout my life. I have often felt overwhelmed and anxious due to stress in my life whether it’s from school, work, family difficulties, or relationship problems. I have not usually managed my stress in a positive manner. Instead of coping appropriately– growing up I would deal with stress by becoming angry, anxious, or depressed. I would cope with the stress in my life by eating unhealthy foods; becoming angry/irritable with those close to me; sleeping too little or too much; and neglecting healthy exercise routines.

(englishelxni2.wordpress.com)

More recently, I have learned more positive ways of coping with stress. I work full-time (in a pretty fast-paced work environment) and go to graduate school part-time (working on earning my Master’s in Social Work) so stress is something that I’ve come to view as somewhat normal in my life. I have realized, however, that it’s okay to feel stressed and overwhelmed from time to time. Stress is a perfectly normal feeling. What’s more important, however, is how I deal with the stress in my life. My past coping strategies were unhealthy and ineffective. I have found that the first step in coping with stress more positively is recognizing your unhealthy patterns of dealing with stress. Since doing this, I have come to find newer, more positive ways of handling the stress in my daily life. Here are some of the healthy ways I have found to cope with the stress I experience…

  • Realize that stress is a normal feeling.

Remember that you are not alone. Each of us have a right to feel stressed and overwhelmed at times. Life is difficult! Do not feel guilty for being stressed. When you learn to accept stress as something you need to deal with, you are able to think logically about the ways in which you can cope.

  • Identify your negative coping strategies.

Recognize the negative coping strategies that you often resort to. Do you overeat? Do you neglect taking care of yourself? Do you take out your stress on others around you? By identifying your unhealthy coping strategies, you can gain insight into your own behaviors. Through doing so, you can start to identify how you can change your negative strategies into more positive ones.

  • Identify your negative thought patterns and replace these with more positive ones. (This is the psychology major in me talking :))

What negative thought patterns go on in your head when you are stressed? Do you tell yourself, “I’ll never get through this,” “I’ll never get this done,” or “I can’t do this.” These are all negative thoughts. Often they come second-nature to us. I have come to recognize my negative thought patterns. When I am feeling stressed and start to think negatively, I redirect myself (in my mind) and attempt to change my negative thoughts into more positive ones. For example, instead of saying “I’ll never get this done,” I will say to myself, “I have a lot of things on my plate right now, but I’m a capable person and will do the best I can to complete my work.” Trust me, it’s amazing how this works!! Telling yourself positive statements like this is called “positive self-talk,” and it is very helpful in dealing with stress!

  • Organize yourself/make a list.

I absolutely love to-do lists. I find it so helpful to organize everything I need to do. For me, it’s most helpful to break down all of my different tasks into categories (such as: work, grad school, errands, personal life, etc….). I typically use just plain old paper and a pen or my date book to create a to-do list. Some people use electronic devices or program things into their phones–whatever works for you is best!

  • EXERCISE! 🙂

This doesn’t mean going to the gym or going for a run every day of the week. When I’m feeling stressed, I often don’t have time to exercise every day (or even multiple days of the week). I try, however, to make time a couple of times a week to do some form of exercise. This could involve yoga, going for a run, taking my dog for a long walk, or going for a hike outdoors. Exercising my body and spending time outdoors helps me reduce my stress-level!

  • Give yourself some “me-time.”

I find that allowing yourself some time completely to yourself is most helpful during stressful times. Find something you enjoy to do and make sure you allow time in your schedule for it. For me this involves many things- blogging, exercise, spending time with family/friends, reading a good book, watching my favorite TV show, etc…). Sometimes, I even make time just to pamper myself- such as getting a pedicure or having my hair done. These simple things give me a much needed break. I think that if necessary you should even schedule your “me-time” into your planner or schedule.

  • Don’t neglect your healthy routine.

As easy as it may be to neglect exercise, eating healthy, and sleeping an adequate amount, this will do nothing to decrease your stress-level. In the long run, our bodies feel healthier, stronger, and more energetic when we take care of ourselves as we should. Maintain your healthy eating patterns. Get a good amount of sleep each night and exercise when you can! It is often easy for me to eat junk food when I’m stressed. If you do this, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead of having a whole bag of chocolates, however, just eat a couple of pieces and move on to a healthy meal or workout. Don’t feel guilty for your unhealthy mishaps…we are only human afterall! 🙂

  • Finally, breathe.

When you start feeling overwhelmed with stress, take a few deep breaths and remember that this too will pass. Deep-breathing has been shown to completely relax the body and mind. I have found this most useful at work. Even if I’m dealing with a difficult client or parent or can’t get away from my phone, no one can stop me from taking a few deep breaths in order to help me relax.

(learntolivehealthy.net)

Hope you find these tips helpful the next time you are feeling stressed! Reducing stress can help us feel healthier overall and live more fulfilling lives. I know I am constantly striving to manage the stress in my life and work on finding a healthy balance between work, school, family, and friends.

Special thanks to Britt for allowing me to be a guest blogger 🙂

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Brittaney's Mom permalink
    July 12, 2011 1:13 AM

    Really enjoyed your blog. I tend to be a stressful person and have to work on it on a daily basis. Great advice and i love making list too.

  2. July 12, 2011 8:10 PM

    I needed this today. Thank you 🙂

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