Today’s post is about how to tackle stress – from a 24 year old, university student. (Side note: as I write this post, I can see the sun is shining through my blinds. What lovely symbolism!)
Let me explain how things have been lately:
- I have been sick/on antibiotics and medication constantly
- The uni break was a BREAK, no revision whatsoever
- I’ve put tremendous stress on myself in terms of finances
So basically, I’ve been stressed. A light in the clouds has occurred today, though. From time to time, I find myself in a “slump” of recurring sickness/problems. Life is a mix of stress and joy after all. I wanted to share how even though things get shitty, there’s a way through! Below are 3 ways I have used to combat stress. I’m not perfect, but these 3 things have given me skills to handle life’s situations.
1. Find your community.
I can’t stress how important it is to find your community/communities. Whether it’s a trusted family member, friendship group, online group, a professional/mentor – find your community! I’ve realised over the last couple of years, although I have loving family and friends and an amazingly supportive partner, I wanted to also surround myself with like-minded individuals from around the world that could push me to be a better person. The first group I ever joined with self-improvement in mind was Millennial Entrepreneur Community (search it if you have a Facebook account). It is a group designed to help troubleshoot business problems, ideas and collaborate with other professionals. This group set a fire in me and constantly does to seek betterment and improvement. To implement ideas and execute with some knowledge and a lot of bravery. Another group I joined recently is called Wild Woman Sisterhood. I wanted to find women who empower each other, support each other and share experiences and advice. In time, I am sure I will be more active in these groups and that alone creates another community on it’s own. Find people you vibe with. Who tell you the truth. Who also support you when it is needed.
2. Time out.
Although the ‘teaching break’ is presented as an extra two weeks of studying – I can admit, I did no such thing. Time away from the computer screen, deadlines and hours of reading was the nicest two weeks I have had in a while. I could have definitely fitted in a couple days a week to study but I had pushed myself so much the first couple months, that I had lost complete interest in learning or revising any more. I was overwhelmed. I’m still working on it, and as this is a recurring problem, I know now how important it is to time out! Keeping your mind and body under stress can be harmful. Even if it’s just 10-20 minutes a day or every second day – whatever suits you. Find a relaxing hobby! A few things I enjoy are: taking a walk around the neighbourhood, watching a show with my partner, cooking new recipes, yoga, finding inspiration on YouTube and getting lost in visual art/expression. So remember to take some time for yourself when you can!
3. Express your stress.
Finding people to spur you on and taking a break from the everyday routine is great. In my experience, so is having an outlet for frustration and stress that may arise from many aspects of life: relationships, work, self-depreciation. I approach this by typing it all out in a private blog – word vomit, if you will. Sometimes I write multiple posts.
Other ways I express my stress is being honest. If the conversation arises, I tell my friends/workmates/partner that no, I’m stressed and mad and not in the mood. Usually from this, I find the root of the problem (and apologise for angry outbursts that are in no way personal, just my personal problem).
In some circumstances, I contact a mental health professional. I’ve learned over the years that it’s okay to seek professional help if your own solutions are no longer getting you anywhere. It’s important to know who and what organisations to contact if this is the case. I will include contact numbers/websites at the end of this post. Another way I have expressed my stress is at work; asking if shifts are available, making sure all state managers are aware that there is a sales assistant willing to travel for the hours.
“If you never ask, the answer is always no.” – Nora Roberts
With this, comes gratitude. I am so thankful that I’ve found coping mechanisms (courtesy of health professionals, family, friends, a lovely partner) communities and a job where I am appreciated and paid well.
I hope this post is found to be helpful. And as a lovely, warrior woman has said to me, I am passing this on to you:
“I have been where you are.“
Bad times don’t last forever. Our minds can heal. Our bodies can heal.
You are not alone. If you are experiencing extreme stress and feel you may need assistance, here are some contacts and websites based in Australia:
- beyondblue.org.au 1300 22 4636 – depression/anxiety awareness
- kidshelpline.com.au 1800 55 1800 – private, confidential counselling
- lifeline.org.au 13 11 14 – crisis support, suicide prevention
- qlife.org.au 1800 184 527 – LGBTI support site
- vvcs.gov.au 1800 011 046 – veteran, war-related support