I think stress is something we all deal with, there’s just no escaping it nowadays. We’re all programmed to take on too much and expect too much from ourselves. How we deal with stress however varies massively, some people seem to be able to dismiss it relatively easily where as some of us let it consume us.
My current method for dealing with most stress is avoidance, over the years I’ve become very aware of what causes me to spiral downwards and so nowadays if I don’t need it in my life then it’s not there. I realise this probably isn’t the healthiest approach and I wouldn’t really advocate it but there’s an element of self preservation in there for me while I’m on my long road to recovery and I slowly let bits back in on days I feel stronger and remove them again on days when I don’t feel so great.
So this is all well and good until I come across some unavoidable stress, urgh, the worst kind. How then do we process the wash of tension, self doubt, etc when there’s just no getting away from it? It’s a good question and one I’m definitely still trying to answer.
Firstly I always try and start with a bit of perspective, when struggling with OCD it’s very easy to catastrophise situations and make them appear much worse than they are, try to rationalise your thoughts where you can.
If the stress has been caused by say an argument at work, or a bad drive home then just let it go, the other person probably did hours ago, is it really worth your time and energy?
If it’s something more significant like an exam or money worries say then stressing isn’t going to help. Sit down and write out a plan of action, things you can positively do to impact on your stress and deal with the situation in a positive light.
Organisation is key, I personally have a lot going on at the moment but by organising my time and being pro active I am just about winning.
If you can take some time out just for yourself to regroup then do. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and feel the stress leave you as you breathe out.
Mindfulness and meditation are also great ways to reconnect with your body and try to work out what has caused the shift. The small amount of time it takes will definitely be worth the pay off you get afterwards. I’ve got to admit though whilst writing that last sentence I felt a bit hypocritical as this is something I never/rarely do, like I said I’m still working on it too!
Stress is something that quite often comes upon us without us even realising. Sometimes the first sign for me is that I can feel my shoulders getting tight or I start to be really snappy and short with people. Being able to sense and notice your signs early is another important factor in getting your stress under control quickly.
When you’re already processing a mental health issue stress is the last thing you want being piled on top of you, my advice would definitely be to remove all unnecessary stress where possible. I expect we’ve all taken on something we don’t need which can be eliminated.
If you can’t remove all stress, take a day off. Put the kids in nursery/school, book a days annual leave and do what makes you feel good just for one day, it’s a bit self indulgent but feels amazing and is totally worth it. You can’t function properly if your cup is half full after all.
Learn to say no when you can, people won’t think any less of you and you will gain some time and energy back.
Look after yourself, if you are the one holding it all together and people are depending on you it’s more important then ever that you take good care of yourself. Don’t resort to caffeine and sugar try and be conscious about what you are putting into your body.
I hope my ramblings have been of some use, just by writing a few things down I feel a bit more together myself. Most things aren’t as bad a you think, look after yourselves and as always,
Stay Strong xxx