My 3 top tips on how to stress less

Whether it be school, university or work, I’m sure everyone can agree that the toxic feeling of stress is not enjoyable. I often find myself buried with a never ending workload and a to-do lists longer than my arm, resulting in me taking less time out for myself to de-stress. The constant worry of stress can often result in unproductiveness which increases your stress levels and ends up with you being stuck in the horrible continuous cycle. I used to try to balance sixth form, homework, a weekend job, spending time with my family and socialising with my friends. This was exhausting to juggle and always ended up with me feeling run down and lacking energy, both mentally and physically. Why? because I didn’t make time for myself. 

The fear of being left alone can often be scary, but it is so important and beneficial for your mental wellbeing to spend time alone. Of course reaching out to your family and friends when you’re extremely worried or stressed is perfectly okay! Wanting to be around people for comfort and reassurance is also extremely beneficial, especially when worries and stress escalate and overthinking takes over, spending time with other people can often distract your thoughts and allow you to connect in the present with your loved ones. After all, talking is so much better than bottling up all your worries… that never helps anyone!
However, even if you just spend a few hours alone before bed, whether that be taking a nice relaxing bath, reading a book, watching your favourite film, practising yoga or meditation, anything you enjoy!! It enables you to reflect on your day, connect with yourself mentally, and allow you to unwind from any stress you may be feeling.

The feeling of stress can often become extremely overwhelming, here are my top tips on how I try to manage my stress;

Write it down!
The stressful feeling can often take over all your thoughts, until you’re a big ball of worry and find yourself unintentionally thinking negatively about your life. This feeling can be quite overwhelming, but writing down your thoughts can be a good way to stop the worry.

A basic CBT technique I was taught was ‘The Worry Tree”

If your worries are written out in front of you and you are able to notice the worry and separate it from the negative thoughts which start to escalate. This methods makes your worries seem less intimidating and often not be bad as your mind makes them out to be!
By following the tree stems you can reflect on the specific worry you have, often the build up of emotions you feel can make the feeling a bit daunting! So next time you notice the worry, give The Worry Tree a go, its more helpful than you may think!

Disconnect
We live in a world where everything has to be captured or talked about on social media in order for it to be happening. Yet we often forget that social media is just a platform for us to show the highs (and sometimes lows) of your life which can negatively result in comparisons becoming a huge focus. If we see someone post a healthy bowl of porridge on Instagram whilst we are running out the door with a coffee and a croissant, we feel guilty that we aren’t ‘healthy’ enough. If someone tweets about how content they are with their life, we feel jealous that we are feeling unhappy and if someone snapchats their fun filled day we envy that we are stuck inside alone bombarded with work and deadlines. It’s a natural feeling that can result in a lot of unhappiness, so by disconnecting from your phone, especially a few hours before bed you can free your mind and prevent that comparison.

Comparison is a natural instinct, but it can also be very emotionally draining. I hold my hands up to comparing myself to others, but noticing when we do it allows us to stop and rethink our thought process. At the end of the day everyone is unique, we can’t all be the same as each other that would be boring!! So it’s okay that you’re not doing the same as everyone else, social media is an amazing way to connect with friends and family, but if used too much it can often leave you feeling unhappy and comparing yourself too much to someone else’s life which is probably pretty unattainable!

So, an hour and a half before or so before bed I try to exit all my social media apps, watch my favourite series on Netflix (Suits of course) or practise some unwinding yoga (YouTube has an endless supply of routines!). I’m sure if you give it a go you’ll feel so much more free and relaxed!

Sleep
Sleep is SO IMPORTANT!! How do you expect to function properly and get work done if you’re staying up till 1am worrying and trying to catch up on your work? It doesn’t work. We can’t focus properly without at least 7-8 hours sleep so staying up late trying to cram in last minute work will more than likely make you feel more stressed, resulting in a poor nights sleep, tiredness in the morning and being less productive throughout the day. It’s so much better to go to sleep earlier, and wake up earlier than go to sleep late and end up sleeping in till mid-day as you’re too tired! I often find that if I am worrying about my work, I will make a list of what I have to do the next day, take some time out for myself to stop worrying, have an early night and wake up earlier. I’m so much more productive that way and often find myself getting more done that I thought!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure we can all agree that sometimes our body is screaming for a lie in when we’ve had a hectic week, but don’t make a habit of laying in extremely late everyday! Sometimes all you need is to get up and go for a brisk morning walk or go to the gym and you’ll feel so much more energised for the day, resulting in more productivity, and a happier and healthier you 🙂

I hope you found my top 3 tips on how to stress less helpful, I’d love to know if you give them a try and if they work for you!

Sophie x

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