How to Cope with Stress

How to Cope with Stress

How to Cope with Stress

Elisabeth surprised me with this post yesterday, and her words could not ring truer for me. We all fall victim to daily anxieties, and it’s hard not to let the pressure build up. E’s advice on how to cope with stress is a breath of fresh air – learn to stop bulling yourself and manage your crazy life with grace.

I love Amanda’s Bullet Journaling post from Monday. It’s something I need to try, and I hope you are all inspired by her organization! Now, let’s talk about stress.

I am guilty of constantly overcommitting myself. I book 6:15am runs, I go on dates with my boyfriend, I work 45 hours a week and I still try to grab a drink with friends and attend a last-minute yoga class. One of the best parts about living alone is that you never have to nag anyone to get things done. The downside to that is that your groceries, clean clothes, bills and shampoo supply are exclusively up to you. Sure, an extra 10 minutes in bed sounds GREAT, but the dry-cleaners are going to toss your pants if you don’t come pick them up. All of these issues become more manageable with practice. It’s the small stuff that creeps in and takes over the quiet moments of my day:

“You should floss…it only takes two minutes!” …  “You should pat in your moisturizer, it takes a minute!”… “You should take the time to journal, it’s only 10 minutes of your day!” … “You should make your own, protein filled breakfast AND practice yoga… before work.”

These thoughts are constant and persistent. Suddenly, all of the two-minutes and 10 minutes are filled with things I should be doing. When I don’t do them, I feel like I’m failing. All of these people are wandering around in life, flossing and practicing daily yoga and applying moisturizer correctly. Yet, I am grabbing a cup of yogurt as I run out the door in the morning, having forgotten to take my yoga matt out of my car from last weekend’s class. The small stuff can be overwhelming, not to mention all of the big priority stuff! That work project due two days after your boss asked for it? Forget your scheduled workout, forget your dinner plans!  How do you manage when things change and life fills up?

I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in managing any of the stress and anxiety that comes with being a young, working, independent adult. However, I am learning to cope with the constant stress of my day-to-day. For today’s post,  I wrote down a few of my most helpful stress-management techniques:

LIFEHACKING 101: HOW TO COPE WITH STRESS

1. It’s not a race, and it’s not a competition. End the comparisons.

I read zenhabits.net . It’s an awesome little blog that is filled with great advice, but makes me feel terrible about my life. This man has six children and is still writing a blog about ZEN. I often find myself cursing as I read zen habits due to my own daily craziness. No, I can’t give up sugar for a month. No, I can’t stop watching House of Cards. Mostly, Leo, I can’t get up at 4am to have an “hour for myself” where I read and drink green tea. Clearly, I’m a huge failure, right? We all have these moments where, compared to our neighbor, we feel like losers in the game of life. To quote Cameron Diaz in her new body book, “comparison is a brutal assault on one’s self.” Damn right, Cameron!  I should read zenhabits to be inspired, not to feel bad about myself.  Just because I’m 23 and I still like to be unproductive on Saturdays and casually miss my yoga class doesn’t mean I’m a failure, it means I’m human.

2. Learn to say NO

This is one of my hardest challenges. If I were Hermione Granger and could magically be in all places at once, I’m pretty sure I could rule the modern world. But, alas, life isn’t so simple.  Can I grab dinner spontaneously tonight? Sure, except my leftovers will go bad and I will be forced to wear my weird running shorts tomorrow because all of my workout clothes are dirty. It’s ok to sometimes take a jump onto the “who the hell cares, I am only young once!” and go grab that dinner, but if you do it every week, you will become poor with dirty clothes.  Learn the beauty of saying NO in order to take care of the things you need to get done, then make new plans with that person for next week , or the week after.

3. Schedule time for yourself

My calendar is a bizarre creature. It intimidates me to even look at it. I use iCal, and up until I started my job, I used my paper planner religiously. The problem with working in Entertainment, or any high-stress, fast paced industry is that your plans and schedule change everyday. I moved strictly to digital because, frankly, I got tired of scrubbing out appointments. I find that making time for yourself is incredibly important to help manage stress. If my current weekend is filled with brunch and running and fun movie plans, I need to pick a few nights the following week to catch up on laundry, groceries, or even just my Hulu queue. It looks strange to see my Saturday calendar blocked as “lay at home and do not make plans” but seriously, it helps.

4. Schedule time for even the smallest things

Put your workouts, your dinners, your unfortunate online purchase returns on your calendar. If you write it down and see it on your schedule, chances that you’ll actually do it rise significantly. Also, it helps to make time for tasks, rather than assuming that you’ll get to them eventually.

5. Forgive yourself for the small stuff

So you need to cancel drinks or miss your 6:15 run. As long as you’re not forgetting the life-shattering items, cut yourself a little bit of slack. We live in a 24/7 world, and it’s ok to occasionally slip up. It happens. Just don’t fixate on it and create unnecessary stress and anxiety from the mistake.

6. Take 10
Ok, I know I went into a rant about the “minutes in a day” tasks, but this one is worth it, I promise! I recently started following Headspace, and these guys are awesome! 10 minutes a day to chill out under the guided supervision of Andy and Rich. They talk you through how to distance yourself from your mental crazy and simply observe your thoughts. Take their 10 minutes for 10 days, and enjoy at least 10 minutes of the day where you don’t have to deal with everything else in your life.

Stress is a toxin of life. It’s inevitable, much like taxes or dental visits. All you can do is find the best ways to deal with it. Find something that works, and embrace the way it might change your day-today. If it makes life more manageable, keep at it!

What do you do to cope with stress? Please feel free to comment and share!

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  • http://blog.dianawillard.com Diana

    I love this post! I’ve definitely been having some stress-induced productivity paralysis (so helpful to reducing stress, ha!) and this really resonated with me. Especially the part about including all the little tasks in your calendar — I always forget how many of them I have and how they can build up. Great idea!

    • Amanda

      I’m really glad this resonated with you, Diana! I’ve definitely taken that advice recently, and it DEFINITELY helps on the productivity front. Just remember that you’re not a superhuman, and give yourself a break every once in a while :)

  • http://cocoandmingo.com Jessica (Coco/Mingo)

    Oh my gosh, thank you for this post, girl!!! As much as I love having my blog, it does make life extra stressful for me in trying to juggle everything. I’m definitely bookmarking this post :) #1 – thank you!! It’s so hard to not compare yourself to others, but I find that when I do, it makes everything so stressful and makes me lose sight of my own design and aesthetic! So I’m doing less of that and more of what makes me happy! Really a great post to start the day.

    • Elisabeth Dillon

      Jessica I’m so glad you liked it! I struggle with the comparison thing all the time… but I really like the idea that you’re in for you. I love your blog, and I hope that even in moments of stress, you see that it brings joy to people around the world :)

      • http://cocoandmingo.com Jessica (Coco/Mingo)

        Thank you so much, Elisabeth! You truly and deeply just made my day. Thank you for all your kind words and inspiration! Know that you are bringing so much joy and inspiration to everyone around the world, as well!! xo

  • http://sarastrauss.blogspot.com Sara Strauss

    This post is wonderful and much-needed!! I’m going to bookmark it and re-read it!
    ~Sara
    Sincerely, Sara

    • Amanda

      Thank you, Sara!! Glad it resonated :)

  • http://www.lovecourtxoxo.com Court

    I find most of my stress comes from not getting enough sleep. If i’m well rested, no matter how busy I am, I can normally keep my cool. So when I am feeling overwhelmed and like I don’t have enough time, I make time for myself! I find that a 20 min nap helps tremendously and I end up getting more work done that if I wouldn’t have taken the nap and spent the time obsessing over not having time. I also avoid coffee when i’m feeling stressed and opt for tea instead! It seems to be better for my mood to skip on the high levels of caffeine! I love that you pointed out to forgive yourself for the little stuff- I need to be better about that! Especially when I lay down for bed. I start stressing over the little things that I didn’t get accomplished that day. I didn’t make a healthy dinner and opted for something easy, or I didn’t call my parents just to say hi- though those things are important, I need to be better about remembering that there’s always tomorrow! Thanks for this awesome post :)

    • Elisabeth Dillon

      Hey Court,
      I completely agree with you. I become a destructive two-year-old when I consistently get less than 6 hours of sleep. I try to stay away from coffee after 2 or 3pm because I like to gradually wind down at night, though I am known to have a shot of espresso post-dinner to get a few things done or to simply keep myself alert on a drive home. If there’s one thing my mom always emphasizes with stress, whether it be day-to-day life or traveling, it is to EAT a good meal, then make decisions. No one makes smart choices when they’re tired and hungry. Thank you for your feedback… I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!