REAL TALK: How to manage stress & anxious feelings

I have learnt to put a few strategies in place when I am feeling overwhelmed or anxious about things or am in a particularly stressful season of life. Life isn't always easy breezy. There are going to be times that test you and stress you out. So here are 8 practical things I do to manage these moments:

   

Brain dump

Get a pen and some paper and write down everything that is on your mind. Your tasks for the day, work, texts you need to get back to, worries, anxious thoughts, to-do lists, chores, whatever. Just get it out from your head and onto paper. It doesn't have to be neat or have any method behind it.

 

Write a daily to-do list 

The next step after brain dumping is to write a methodological list. If I am super overwhelmed, I like to write out everything I need to do for the week. From there, I divide it into urgent and not urgent. I tackle the urgent stuff first and then I delegate the non-urgent stuff throughout the week. I write a to-do list every night before bed. That way, I know exactly what I have to do the next day and I wake up feeling on top of everything rather than behind.

 

Quiet time / thinking time

When was the last time you just sat in complete silence, doing nothing? Not scrolling, not watching anything, not working, not exercising. Just giving yourself space and time to think. My most creative ideas come to me in these moments. When I silence the noise and am either praying, in a massage, doing the middle of the night feeds, walking in silence (podcasts and music doesn't count haha) or just simply sitting quietly enjoying a coffee. When I get rid of all the noise around me, I am always amazed at how much less stressed I feel. 

 

Exercise = endorphins

I feel like I don't even need to explain this one. Move in whatever way feels good for you.

 

Talk about it 

A problem shared is a problem halved. I will always tell Brenton when I feel overwhelmed or spread too thin. He helps bring me back to what's important and speaking about it really helps clear the messiness in your mind. Sometimes I can be so in my own head that I need someone to help me just stop and take a second. Find someone you can trust to help you navigate stressful seasons.

 

Ask for help

Different to talking about it. Sometimes you just want to be heard and listened to and sometimes you actually want advice and help. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you are feeling like there is too much on your plate. I have tried to carry everything in my own strength wayyy too many times, which always leads me to feeling burnt out and exhausted. Praying about stressful situations helps me immensely and reminds me that I don't have to do it alone. Asking God and my trusted circle for help is something that I have gotten a lot better at since becoming a mum and I'm proud of that.

 

Stop scrolling

The highlight reel. It can make you feel like you have your life even less together than you already feel when you feel stressed and behind. It's easy to compare yourself to the 'perfect' lives portrayed on social media but just remember, social media is a tiny tiny glimpse into someones life. Instead of scrolling, try tackling the laundry, writing your to-do list or doing literally anything else. You can spend half an hour scrolling or you can spend half an hour doing something productive. I'm not saying to always be productive. What I am saying is if you already feel stressed, scrolling won't help those feelings. It will distract you for a little while, but once you exit the app you will still have all the things to do.

 

Make the mundane things fun

When I have a lot of housework to do, I love to watch YouTube, listen to a podcast or put a fun throwback playlist on. It makes the chores go faster and I actually find myself really enjoying cleaning, organising and sorting the house.

 

Know that it will pass

Easier said than done. You have survived every single stressful and anxious situation so far. Just know that it is a season and not forever. Be kind to yourself, have grace for yourself and know that everything will be okay.

May 31, 2022 — Beth Parkes

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