4 Ways To De-stress When Change Occurs.

4 Ways To De-stress When Change Occurs.

Life is a mixed bag. You never know what may happen next, no matter how much you plan ahead. I’ve never hated change, but I still struggle on occasion when something unexpected happens. I become irritable, moody and have unreasonable requests or expectations.

However, over the last 5 years, I’ve spent a lot of time learning and using self-help strategies and techniques. These days, people around me (including strangers) would comment on my calm nature, vibe or energy. Of course, we all experience stress when big changes occur. However, it is possible to manage our reaction to stressful changes with these 4 tips!

1. Read self-help books.

If you enjoy reading, I suggest using that time to dive in to the self-help section! Find a title that stands out to you, ask for recommendations from friends or Google what books have been popular and the most helpful.

A book I would recommend is “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book is basically about four principles that could be immediately applied to your life. Having these in mind have been good reminders to keep me grounded, no matter what change occurs.

An alternative to books is to listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos.

If you know someone personally who has gone through minor or major life changes, reach out to them and ask what helped them most!

Calming techniques are not one size fits all, it takes time and patience to find what will work for us.

2. Schedule the time to de-stress.

De-stressing allows us to be present. Since stress and change are inevitable occurrences, it’s best to find ways to alleviate stress that works for us. Finding techniques to manage fluctuating emotions can help keep us calm in our mind and body. What helps you de-stress when an unexpected change happens? Even those of us with introverted personality-types (like me) still need community-support to get through tough times.

Examples:

  • Talk to someone. Whether it’s online counselling, face-to-face talk therapy or catching up with a friend, reach out. Having someone listen can lighten the heaviness. Even if it’s just a little bit. It’s still worth it.
  • Be productive. I don’t mean be swamped with work and never feel your feelings. I mean use the time you have to write, build or invent something. This can give us a sense of purpose when things feel chaotic during life changes.
  • Get out of the house. Sometimes we don’t feel like doing anything when we’re overwhelmed with life changes. That’s when I try to fight it. Yes, there are definitely days/a week or so where I will “hibernate” and process my emotions alone. After that time, I push myself to see people, do activities or I ask my boyfriend to come with me for a drive around the neighbourhood.

Find what works for you. These strategies may vary depending on the circumstance, financial ability or simply the way you approach change. That is A-okay.

3. Be patient with yourself and others.

So, you’ve heard the news. The unexpected change is here. What else is there to do? Practice patience. Take it one day at a time. Sometimes it’s all we can do not to break down. And sometimes the break down comes anyway – no matter how hard we try. That’s more than okay – it’s absolutely normal! We all respond to stress differently.

You may find your emotions fluctuate. You’ll have good days and bad days. Or maybe you’ll be easily irritated. That’s okay. When unexpected changes or tragedies occur, we are not in our prime mindset to manage emotions steadily. Be patient with yourself and others.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

If there’s something you don’t understand, ask questions. If someone sounds angry, wait until there’s a free moment and ask to clarify. If it is time to apologise, then apologise. Also remember, other people may not react the way you ‘predict’ or ‘want’. So be open, be patient and communicate clearly to avoid any misunderstandings.

With a good set of de-stressing techniques, actively building our resilience and having a support-group around us, it is possible to adapt to change. Getting lost in a book full of advice, scheduling time to de-stress and having a proactive attitude can help immensely whenever life throws a curve ball at us.

Take a slow, deep breath.

Know that you are loved.

Know that you can get through this.

My Journey on Discovering Self-worth.

My Journey on Discovering Self-worth.

The first layer: illness.

As a child, I knew I was loved. I knew there were people around me who (mostly) loved to fuss over me, brush my hair, make sure my seat belt was on and made sure I had a hot milo for supper before bed (thanks grandma!).

Being born premature, my early childhood consisted of multiple hospital visits. Doctors and nurses would check if I was growing normally, if my lungs were functioning well (being diagnosed with asthma) and if I was learning at a similar rate to other children my age.

I was in and out of hospital a lot due to severe asthma attacks and on two separate occasions, I was treated for pneumonia.

All of that coupled with having a fast metabolism, the food I ate burned quicker than my parents could feed me so I was a skinny kid.

A family friend was over one night, chatting with my parents. He must’ve thought I was too young to understand him so he asked in a casual tone, “Is she sick?”. His head jerked slightly to imply me standing behind him.

Fear set in quickly.

I ran down the hall into my parents’ bedroom.

The feeling of shame welled-up inside.

I cried silently. I was confused. He just asked a simple question. So why did it hurt me so much?

As I said, I knew there were people who loved me, but that night was a turning point in how I saw myself. I began to wonder if I was actually sick.

I wondered if there was something wrong with me.

The second layer: obedience & perfection.

Before I started primary school, I learned about obedience like most children do. If you behaved well, there was a reward. If you misbehaved it meant consequences. For me and my siblings, consequences often meant physical punishment. Being obedient was the name of the game and being fearful was a by-product of ‘playing’.

Throughout primary school and high school, I would fail or end up with sub-par results when my school report came. I excelled in English and Art but everything else was a struggle.

When I’d ask for help at home, it was met with the common response:

“You don’t know anything! How could you not know this yet?!”

That familiar feeling of shame welled-up inside.

I stopped asking for help.

At 15, I got my first job. Little did I know, asking for help would be a hard lesson to learn.

The third layer: religion & fear.

Throughout my childhood and adolescence, church was a family ritual most Sundays. We’d sit quietly in the pews, listening to bible readings and the priest summarising a life lesson. As a kid, I spent my time looking at the colourful stained windows. How did they paint so high up?

Sometimes, the children were ushered into the back room that had thick windows. I learned there that children were to be seen but not heard. Church was a sacred place and all sacred places required respect.

As I got older, I learned about how humans were worthless sinners because of the fall of Adam and Eve. Yet, our value was restored by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Only Christians had this amazing Saviour.

When I came of age, youth group felt like an oasis in a world of darkness.

I understood that I was worth it because God saw something in me. A loving, kind and just God had a perfect plan for me.

I was saved and this meant freedom for my soul. I knew if I turned away from God, I would be apart from Him for eternity which I didn’t want. The more I learned about eternal suffering, the more scared I became of the afterlife.

It was a good thing to be “God-fearing”.

Because of Him, I had a family. Because of Him, I had strengths and these were a Gift. Because of Him, I could heal when I was hurt. Because of Him, I could forgive because He first forgave my sins.

Years later, my perspective would change from “freedom in religion” to “freedom away from religion”.

Breaking Down The Layers.

Growing up with these layers of self-worth from such a young age would be a challenge through childhood, adolescence and in my adult life.

As a kid, I tried to run away with my brother. We travelled 2 minutes from home and had to be picked up. As a teenager, I struggled to abide by the curfew rules and would come home late. I didn’t trust any adults, not even the school counsellor who tried to help me. I tried to run away from home for the second time. I stopped attending youth group. I stopped listening to sermon videos and reading my bible and ultimately, I left the religion I grew up believing in.

My only comfort besides the friendships I forged, was being creative. I could draw and write for hours on end. I vented my frustrations, questions and motivations.

By the age of 17, my rebellious streak calmed.

At 18, I moved out of home. I started meeting new friends who were kind, confident, care-free and out-spoken. They were beautiful people! Some of them did not have rooted beliefs in religion. How could they be so confident without the guarantee of a Saviour? By the age of 19, I realised that was the life I wanted for myself.

I stripped my life of unneeded baggage emotionally and physically.

I started seeing a counsellor. I had to face the past abuse, exercised control throughout my life and the belief of worthlessness. I now saw my passion for perfection as a strength. Even if I make mistakes, I will always strive for excellence. It doesn’t mean I’m “dumb” or that I “don’t know anything” – it means I am persistent and resilient. I learned how to reframe my mindset.

I began a decluttering journey, getting rid of unusable items. I realised I held onto all my belongings out of comfort and as a distraction to facing the pain I felt within. For a period of time in my life, I felt empty. Instead of becoming self-aware, I kept things I didn’t need to fill the ‘void’. Letting go of my hoarding habit was such a cathartic process.

The more I healed my emotional wounds, the more I realised:

My self-worth was up to me to decide.

No matter what others did or said.

As each year passed, I continued to break down these layers of self-worth that I’d taken on. It is still a work in progress, but a path I am so glad I walked down years ago.

Remember, your worth is not reliant on any thing, person or being.

You are worthy, just because.

Part 2: Why You Should Write Letters to Yourself.

Part 2: Why You Should Write Letters to Yourself.

If you’re here from my previous post, welcome back! Today I wanted to share a few more tips when writing letters to your future self. I also share excerpts of letters I’ve received over the years!

Tip 1: Stop over-thinking.

When I first started writing these letters, I’d worry about whether it was structured correctly. I picked apart what I wrote, deleted and re-typed.

Don’t be like me when I started. Stop over-thinking!

The aim of the game is to express yourself and your emotions without a filter!

Tip 2: Don’t stop at your own inbox.

Send a letter to a loved one. I haven’t tried this yet, but it could be a great way to connect with others.

Whether the person lives abroad, interstate or in the same city, it could be an interesting way to delve into memories, conflicts and joyful moments.

You could even find a writing buddy! I have seen this across platforms and it could be a new “pen pal” set-up!

Tip 3: Celebrate the wins in life.

Venting can be cathartic for many of us. However, if we focus too much on negativity and pain, it can create an unpleasant atmosphere both in our minds and when in community with others.

Remember to celebrate the good stuff! Even if it doesn’t seem super important, mention it in your letter. You’d be surprised how much that can boost your mood!

Tip 4: Learn to let go.

One of the benefits of sending a letter to the future was to practice the art of letting go.

I noticed in my behaviour that I could easily hold-on to bad memories, and replay scenarios in my head. I knew it wasn’t healthy but the habit was hard to break.

I made a conscious effort to say what needed to be said, took a deep breath and released the emotion.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

Below are excerpts of letters I’ve received over the years. A little vulnerability might help others take the next step in either writing or finally being honest about their emotions. Either way, if it helps just ONE person, then I know it was worth it!

 “I really hope you’ve found purpose in the small, slow, tedious moments. and if you’re still trying, then good! keep trying! 🙂” – July 2015

My impatience is real. If I weren’t working then it’d be the bomb.com. I don’t know how to cope with study and work… anyway I hope you are well, Angela. Keep your head high. Reach out if you need to.” – August 2015

Look after yourself. Remember those that matter. We all have a place in this world! And change is constant. Be open to life’s challenges and welcome love in. Here’s to you; for strength, courage, laughter and light. – August 2015

All of a sudden I would feel detached. Not there, not feeling anything. Numb. I’m so so angry. I’m hurting. I don’t know how to release it or what to do. I shouldn’t dwell but right now I’m still trying to process everything. I don’t know if I/we can overcome this.” – October 2015

Oh gosh this bed it feels so cold,
My head was led by the lies you told.
But to this day my heart you stole,
In a bind left behind waiting for your call
.” (Pour Me Out, He Is We) November 2015 I sent myself lyrics.

What scares me though, is the future. What if I wake up and feel different about everything? What if this course isn’t what I want? What if I don’t get this new job? Nothing I can change at this moment or exactly ‘work towards’ so I will quieten these thoughts.” – June 2016

Practice thankfulness. Even if it’s one thing. Fight through the darkness. You are strong. Your body is strong. Your legs carry you wherever you need to go. Your voice is loud to be open and honest to those around you. Your heart is big and beats sure. There is beauty in everything. Always seek the beauty. – May 2017

I hope these tips were helpful and reading a few excerpts gave you an idea of what you might write about! It doesn’t have to be perfect – just honest!

You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramDepop and Twitter!

Image is by STIL.

Part 1: Why You Should Write Letters to Yourself.

Part 1: Why You Should Write Letters to Yourself.

Around 5 or 6 years ago, I came across a website where I could schedule letters to myself a year in advance.

Having low tolerance for things that “take time”, I’d write sporadically. I used this website to vent my frustration and sadness. I didn’t think much of it at first.

Now you might be wondering, “Should I do this too?” I list a few reasons why below!

Expand your hobbies.

Depending on how you usually express yourself, writing about a day or event can seem strange or straight-up uncomfortable.

Sometimes we don’t want to ‘relive’ or recreate emotions that make us angry, sad or frustrated. That’s normal. It’s our brain’s way of protecting us!

However, being able to sit back and reflect on our lives in such a way can be hugely beneficial. Not just mentally, but emotionally too.

Expand your hobbies while expressing your emotions!

It could improve communication.

If you’re like me, you may struggle to communicate how you really feel. This can be minor to severe, depending on your past and current experiences.

Typing out how you’re feeling can help with communication because it forces your brain to think about the words you want to use.

If the words sound off or “not like you” then it’s as easy as pressing ‘delete‘. Of course, in real life, there isn’t a button we can press. However, finding an outlet to be honest about an event, person and ourselves, can translate in our relationships.

The present is a gift.

The beauty of technology is that there are so many apps to help us live our lives easier.

Using this platform to schedule letters to your future self is no different. You can add nuggets of wisdom and motivational quotes or videos.

Being reminded of our accomplishments and strengths through the rough patches in life can give us perspective. It can also give us the strength to continue forward especially on the days that seem dull.

Whether you receive a letter on the weekend, at the end of the day or in the morning, it can be a source gratitude for the things you’ve learned and accomplished. That, my friend, is a gift.

It can help you see the positive in every situation.

When writing, I tried my best to end each letter on a good note. Sometimes it was effortless. Sometimes I had to sit and think about what positivity I could possibly find that day. Even though it was difficult, one positive thing helped me on my road to a positive mindset.

There are pros and cons in most situations. Being aware of them can help us see life in a realistic, logical way.

In Part 2, I will share some of my personal letters with you as examples on what to write and how easy it can be when you leave the over-thinking at the door!

You simply have to start. Whether it’s writing, creating or working — just begin!

Click Here to Start Writing!

Image by Nicole Honeywill.

A Big Serving of Thank You with a dash of Roll-call.

A Big Serving of Thank You with a dash of Roll-call.

I appreciate you.

The last few weeks have included a lot of reflection on my part as a blogger. Since my contract at my day-job has adjusted, I’ve realised how being creative (writing/creating positive content) is an integral part of my life.

I guess what I’m trying to say (by beating around the bush until the last episode like they do on Terrace House) is that I have fallen in love with creativity again.

In saying that, I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the success and I’m afraid of failure.

Let me try and explain further.

Knowing that there are people from Colombia, Canada, USA, Croatia, South Africa, China, Philippines and Malaysia who read what I write is overwhelming and mind-boggling!

It has been over a year since I took this hobby seriously and it is time to express my appreciation for all you amazing readers.

I can’t thank you enough for your support!

The roll-call. AKA Q&A.

To connect with you on a deeper level, I invite you to ask me anything on my Tumblr site whether it be about mental health, my blog posts, growing up, relationships, mindset, friendships and so on.

It is a great feature where people on the interwebs can ask questions and share ideas. Suggestions and general feedback is most welcome!

As usual, there is motivating and positive content there too! Like the incentive that there’s food at a party, there is food for thought!

For short answer questions, I will leave them on the Tumblr page. For long answers or clarification, I will post them to The Tiny Healer website and link directly to the post.

To protect your privacy, you can choose to stay anonymous. If you would like me to sign your name/alias, please let me know. It may help to remember who asked what question once it is posted.

You may be wondering, what sparked this curiosity?

Growing up, there were moments where I felt a lot of pressure to behave, feel and act a certain way. When I’d express my struggles or concerns, it was often met with insensitive comments or flat-out ignorance. It made me think that my emotions were invalid. Perhaps the way my brain processed things and the way my body looked was less-than.

You can probably see why I chose to create The Tiny Healer. I am building a space where it is SAFE to talk about mental health, life struggles and development.

I am a huge believer in learning, whether it’s life-experience from a job, happiness, travel or tragedy.

It is through learning that we can heal, be better and do better.

There is a response I learned in the first module of Japanese at uni: Okagesamade genki desu. Translation according to our tutor: thanks to those around me, I am good.

Because of your continued support and feedback, I can continue to write and share positivity! If you feel inclined, let’s have a conversation!

Ask Me Anything

By clicking the links in this post, it will take you directly to the “Ask Box”. Please type in your question/thought and click “ask”. If you don’t see your question in the following days, please Ask through the link again or email me with “Ask Me Anything” in the subject line.

I look forward to hearing from you!