Stressed Out? Triggers and How We Cope
“So stressed” has become almost the default response to “How are you?” for so many of us that we barely notice it. A slightly terrifying thought, which made us at Janes HQ stop and think about what triggers stress for each of us, and how we cope when it hits. April is National Stress Awareness Month and it’s the awareness part that’s got our attention. So often, we just absorb stress into our lives, not giving ourselves time to consider it and find ways to cope with it.
Personally, I’m most stressed when the various parts of my life (work, home, social, family) all become busy at once, or involve a lot of emotional energy. Lists are usually my saviour – I resisted them for ages, but it’s the only consistent way I’ve found to get things out of my head and into organised actions. My current favourite apps are Todoist for work and Wunderlist for lifemin – just doing the lists helps me feel more organised (as long as I don’t think too hard about how many tasks I now have to do!).
Stress awareness: our thoughts
Our bodies and minds are all different – so here’s a few more tips from some of Average Janes other lovely writers. From work to social to home life, here’s a peek at how we’re coping with stress awareness.
New Job Stress
Starting a new job can be a daunting process. I have recently started a new job myself and took these little steps to make the process easier.
Just like you did for the interview, research the company and familiarise yourself with what they do and what you’ll be doing. Sounds obvious, but if it’s been a few weeks from when you were offered the job, it might be very helpful!
Does the job involve a new route to work? Plan your new commute and know the exact route so on your first day you’ve got it down. Maybe even test it out a few days before.
Decide what you’ll be wearing on your first day and lay the outfit out ready. Get your breakfast/lunch sorted and allow yourself a hassle free morning, bar eyeliner-perfecting, of course.
Aches and Pains
Stress can just sneak up on me. If I am having a particularly busy day at work I can suddenly find my shoulders aching from being constantly tensed and my jaw hurts from clenching my teeth. My absolute favourite way to de-stress is to have a nice hot bubble bath along with my favourite trashy magazine. If I am feeling particularly frivolous then a massage is fantastic for un-knotting my shoulders and forgetting all my worries. I’ve also discovered is crochet, which can actually really help me relax (until I realise that I have done something wrong, have to unravel all my work and then have to run a bath or book a massage!).
Love the Lists
I am the typical middle child who tends to be a little more laid-back to the rest of my family. However, I find the pressure of ‘having it all’ as a woman can be crippling. We have a particular set of stresses and social pressures that men just don’t have to deal with, or not to the same degree. I find it difficult to juggle work, relationships, having a healthy social life, exercising, maintaining a tidy home and saving money, etc. I like to deal with stress by *trying* to put things into perspective. When I’m having a breakdown because my ASOS order didn’t arrive the next day as specified, I try to remember how unimportant the little things are in the grand scheme of things. On a more practical note, I find writing lists a really useful tool and I love the satisfying feeling of ticking things off each day.
Finding some headspace
I am continuously surprised by how we are all trained to keep our points of stress to ourselves; to bottle it up until it’s often too late and we explode, injure ourselves or let our health suffer. No one really knows where to start with handling stress or how to approach it. It’s not actively taught in schools or workplaces, and each case is completely unique, much like mental illness.
I have always prided myself on not being a stressed individual, but the last few years I’m showing signs of being a closet bottler! I’m slowly recognising the importance of work-life balance, teaching myself to say ‘no’ on occasion and talking to a friend when little things are niggling at me. I’m also looking into apps like Headspace, designed by an ex-Monk, it prompts you to take 10 minutes to yourself every day. I am jumping aboard the colouring book craze (which really should be adopted as the norm), as tracing a mandala image right to its centre is a form of mental meditation – much like taking your stressed out brain on a physical labyrinth walk. I think the real key is recognising stress not as a form of weakness, but an opportunity to change things up.
Let it all go
I’d love to be one of those people that just skips through life with nothing phasing them, but sadly I’m not. I’m the sort of person that has a bad day at work then gets in and cries because my 2 quid daffodils died (yes, this actually happened).
My favourite thing to beat stress is exercise: I love an angry gym or running session. In fact, some of my best race times have been caused by ex-boyfriends or nasty colleagues. Silver lining! The next best thing is sleep, common sense, but if I’ve had a good night’s kip I’m a lot less likely to lose my s*** over some divvy putting their bag on a train chair. I set myself curfews to try to get into bed by, and even set an alarm on my phone.
One thing I try not to do when I’m stressed is drink. Turns out ALL alcohol is a depressant?! Gutted. So instead of smashing the vino when I’m stressed, I save it for fun times and instead I try and do something for me – yoga, paint my nails, read, have a bath, dance around my living room pretending to be Beyoncé… Whatevs floats my boat.
That’s a few of our thoughts and tips to help deal with stress awareness.
What are your thoughts? We’d love to know – share with us @tweetjanes.