How to deal with stress

If you’re overwhelmed and struggling right now, I want you to know that you’re not the only one. Everyone else’s life may look perfect but there are many of us floundering around lost. Our lives are messes, and when it seems like the storm has stopped and it’s a chance to start rebuilding, a stronger storm blasts in. Remember this in the darkest of times: storms do not last forever. There may be multiple storms but they stop eventually.

Here’s my confession: I’ve struggled a lot this year. I struggled even though I tried to be strong – and now I’m here – back up and ready to take on the world. But I’m thankful for my struggle. I’m thankful that this time has rehighlighted how amazing my support system is. I’m so  thankful for my friends that I can talk to , joke about silly things like ice cream cravings with, and go on adventures with. In a faculty where I’ve already encountered nasty people who compete and take each other down, my friends and I genuinely support each other to the best we can in our classes and extracurriculars. I’m thankful for a loving family that gives me freedom to live life how I want to. I’ve also learned who shows true colours and actually tried to  make me feel worse. But that was just one. The rest of my support system are so incredibly amazing and I’m so thankful for each and everyone of them!

The key thing is that I still am struggling but I’m digging myself back up and fixing things. It means that I still fail a lot and I still lapse in feeling so overwhelmed.  But I’m moving back up. At least that’s what I’m telling myself and this positive self pep-talk is a great sign. I’ve been testing all sorts of things and here is a list of tips of things that I found really helped!

I’m not qualified to give my two cents on anxiety or depression. The tips below are only for temporary periods of stress.  PLEASE go see a trained counsellor if you’re concerned.  UBC Counselling Services are free and confidential! 

Write out your To-dos and priorities short term and long term while asking myself whether that to do is urgent and/or important.

  • When your life has been a mess and you’re trying to rebuild, focus on just ONE thing. My current goal is to get back on track with my schoolwork which means I’ve let club activities and research go to the side.
  • Leave training for a marathon & learning to cook Italian cuisine & learning how to speak Korean off your list for now. We are at the rebuilding stage right now. We’re advance ourselves to the self-improvement stage later okay?

Write down everything that you’re thinking about in a notebook or on your phone. This is NOT the same as the To-Do list.  Write to release all the thoughts in your mind. 

  • Write about what’s being making you stressed, what’s been making you stressed.
  • Write about the happy things that happened to you today( Bonus point if you send a quick text or message to someone else about it)
  • Blog, write, send long long long messages to the friends you can count on
  • Write about what your ideal self would be like. Write about what you want out of life. This sounds dumb but positive visualization is great.

Spread happiness. Send well wishes, even just a simple Have an awesome day :), to a friend or loved one.

  • Bonus: send well wishes to someone you don’t know that well. Be anonymous and random. I sent an message to a fellow blogger who is going through rough times and she appreciated it. Her analogy was having people reach out to you is like warming up with a cozy blanket when the world around is cold and unforgiving
  • Do little things that make someone’s life easier.

Play music. I find that listening to music helps me take my mind push away unrelated thoughts and lets me focus on the task at hard.

  • Electronic dance music never fails to put me in a productive mood.
  • High energy pop songs that you want to sing along with are lifesavers for big cleaning tasks
  • Kevin listens to rap music to boost his focus and his mood when he has a lot of studying to conquer

Schedule friends to eat lunch with. Bonus points if you reach out to friends that you haven’t seen for a while. I eat lunch with the wonderful usuals Alyssa, Veena, etc. I made the effort to reach out to people you haven’t talked to in a while e.g. I met up with a close high school friend, my Big, an elementary school friend.

  • I know that socializing lands at the bottom of your To-Do list but feeling connected to other people, listening to the troubles and jokes and good things that happened to your friends can brighten up your  mood and put your own problems into perspective.

Eat. 

  • Eat enough even when you can’t stand the sight of food. Eat because you need your strength to be a warrior in your own life.
  • On the end of spectrum, binge eating is not the healthiest way to deal with stress.

Treat yourself

  • Make yourself feel beautiful. e.g. I deep conditioned my hair while I was studying for Organic Chemistry. Necessary? No. Did it make my hair feel amazing and give a boost of self-confidence? Hell yeah.

Silence your cellphone. PING facebook notification. PING text notification. PING new email. PING PING PING.  The sound of my cellphone pinging stresses me out  because so I like to turn my phone on silent.

Designate some time to intentionally be unproductive.

  • Let your emails go unanswered. Put off the laundry.
  • You deserve this time off. You NEED this time off so don’t feel guilty about it!
  • Take time to hermit at home instead of running across the city from volunteering to work to the grocery store to (10000 other places).

Put your stress into perspective.

  • I remembered that being stressed by school and other responsibilities are nothing next to real issues like health issues and death.
  • My friend Sharleen recommended “Me Before You” to me and the heavy issue of right-to-suicide made me think about how inconsequential my stresses are in comparison.

Plan something fun to look forward to at the end of the week.

  • Take a day to be highly social!
    • Family, friends.
    • For you, it could be a huge gathering of friends. Or it could be a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner.
    • It would be one-on-one time with a loved one or friend.
    • Mine was Friday when I was literally not alone from 8 am to 10:30 from class, to pseudo-studying (hanging out under the guise of studying) with friends in the Nest, to being socialites at Circle K International’s general meeting, to hanging over bubble tea. So. much. socializing. It was tiring but really really nice.

Laugh lots!

  • Smile because you deserve to feel happiness.

I haven’t been posting as frequently as I used to because  these posts take several drafts and multiple hours to write & edit.  Based on your page views & comments, it seems that you guys like longer and general admore meaningful articles for you all! Let me know in the comments whether you prefer these kinds of posts more.

Love,

Shanna

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