There are four different types of people reading this article right now:
- You have zero time to be stressed but you’re so stressed that you’re stressed that you’re reading about how to manage your stress.
- You’re the type of person who completely shuts down when you’re stressed.
- You’re looking for a stress management technique that will work for your mind, body, and budget (bye-bye retail therapy and that week-long yoga retreat in Bali.)
- You’re my mom (thanks for supporting me.)
Don’t fit in the above categories? Well, buckle up, buttercup. This stress management technique may help you out of a pickle or keep you as cool as a cucumber.
(I know, I’m the worst.)
Prioritization is the secret to staying stress-free.
Keeping your head straight means keeping your priorities straight. Yeah, managing your stress could be as easy as setting bros before hoes.
How to tackle a jam-packed schedule without having a meltdown.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that my planner was my life in college. I carried that thing everywhere. I don’t use one religiously anymore. Not because I’m a responsible adult. That adjective doesn’t even land on the top 50 words to describe me. I sit at the same desk for 9+ hours a day surrounded with cryptic sticky notes. They’re not written in code to keep secrets from my coworkers, rather, my brain can’t finish a single thought without skipping to something else. Planner or not, I still write everything down. Just in case my week kills me, someone else can pick up the slack. Here’s how it’s done:
- Write down everything you have to do. I’m talking about the files you need to get Barbara, grocery shopping, and the gym.
- Break it down day by day. What has to be done and by when? Knowing your deadlines will help make planning a breeze…or more stressful. So much to do, so little time.
- Block out non-negotiable times. As much as you’d like to skip a meeting or dip out of a presentation, you have to plan around your top priorities (aka the things you can’t get out of.)
- Fill your time wisely. Multitasking is the millennial way of doing things. When we’re commuting on the train we may also be answering emails, catching up on the news, or skimming Sparknotes so we sound somewhat intelligent at book club. Do you have an hour gap between your kickboxing class and when you get out of work? Run to the grocery store to pick something up for dinner.
How to crush your goals without letting them crush you.
The only time having a breakdown is encouraged is when you’re trying to tackle your goals. A project may be too much to conquer at once, but breaking it down into more manageable chunks will make your life a whole lot easier.
Time is the most valuable natural resource, but it’s growing scarcer by the day. Sometimes I panic because there’s so much I want to do in life, I can’t tackle a single goal because I’m so overwhelmed. I completely shut down and curl into myself. Sort of life a hedgehog but more depressing than cute.
When a project seems insurmountable, it’s time to whip out your metaphorical ice pick and start chipping away. For example, you’re hosting a dinner party this weekend and your to-do list is longer than your attention span. In a video game, you don’t face the final boss in the first few minutes. Button smashing isn’t going to make your dinner party a splendid success. In the game, you go through each level and collect the items and skills you need to succeed.
- Tutorial: Set a date, time, and invite guests
- Level 1: What’s on the menu?
- Mini game: Scour Pinterest for fun recipes
- Quest: Make a grocery list
- Boss: Go grocery shopping without forgetting any of the ingredients
- Level 2: Clean the castle
- Quest: Vacuum your living room without waking the baby that lives downstairs
- Mini game: Discover what the weird smell in the fridge is
- Boss: Clean your bathroom.
- Level 3: Dress to impress
- Mini game: Don’t spill anything on you while you make dinner
- Quest: Avoid having a meltdown while everything in the kitchen is going wrong
- Boss: Bring your half-burnt lasagna back from the dead
How to ignore your insecurities.
While the majority of your stress may come from environmental factors (relationships, job, etc.), a dark storm can still brew from within. That self-doubt gnawing at you, telling you that you’re not good enough. Feeling imprisoned in your skin, uncomfortable and trapped, wondering if the world around you thinks you’re guilty of your flaws.
As a wise notebook from HomeGoods once said, you’re “too blessed to be stressed.” Girl, get it together. You woke up this morning. You’re so lucky. Act like it. I don’t care how lame this sounds, but sometimes when I feel like I’m drowning from the raincloud above my head, I write a list. I scribble down everything that I’m unhappy about at the moment. From the way I feel about my thighs to that project at work that’s driving me up the wall. Once I expel all the garbage from my life, I start a second column. I take that same stressor and turn it into something positive. Yeah I know, I hate myself too. But it helps me put my priorities in order. It may frustrate me that my jean size is twice what I want it to be, but I’m also thankful that my legs allow me to run several miles without stopping.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and don’t know what’s best for you. But as a human being, I recommend that you never use the internet to diagnose or treat a medical issue. What started as an innocent search for sniffles concluded into a panic attack about contracting whooping cough from your niece’s daycare. Just don’t do it.