It may come as a surprise to hear that I actually cope really well in stressful situations. Put me under pressure and I will generally exceed expectations. I put this particular trait down to how I cope with my anxiety. I’m often in a heightened state of anxiety and still have to function, which has allowed me to develop certain coping skills and excel in stressful situations. I know this is not the case for everyone though and so I thought I would share with you my top tips for coping with stress.
*I think these techniques can also help anyone struggling with worry and anxiety too*
My top 5 tips for coping with stress
My approach to coping with a stressful situation is to make a plan. Look at the situation and decide how you’re going to tackle it. You might make a plan as to how you’re going to complete a piece of work, or you might plan how to start a conversation with anyone – you can literally make a plan for anything!
If you were to scroll through the numerous redundant notes on my phone you will find endless lists. As some of you may be aware I have finally reached out for help with my mental health and because of these I’ve had a number of appointments to attend. I find appointments stressful and they make me incredibly anxious. At the start of each week I write down my plans and appointments so that I can easily glance at it. This allows me to visualise my plan for the week and I get the joy of crossing the item off once I have achieved it.
Planning won’t eradicate the stressful situation, however I believe it will help you cope with the lead up to it.
I know, everyone harps on about exercising but the benefits are literally endless. If I’m feeling a little bit stressed I like to take myself out of the situation and go for a walk. I tend to feel so much better when I return – both from the break and from the exercise. Living in England it’s all too easy to blame the weather and skip my daily walk, however in the winter I try to get into exercise videos. There’s loads on YouTube and all you need is a spare 15 minutes.
Why does exercise have such a positive impact on stress?
Exercise helps to reduce the stress hormone in your body and produces endorphins, which make you happy. Regular exercise is also likely to help improve your sleeping, something that can often be disrupted when you are suffering from stress, worry or anxiety. You have nothing to lose (other than a few lbs!) by dabbling in some exercise!
Take 5 minutes out
Take 5 minutes to relax. I know from personal experience that relaxing is not very easy when your mind is racing and you’re worried about something.
Here are my top three ideas to relax;
- Have a cup of tea – Be mindful as to what beverage you choose. If you’re already highly strung then caffeine will only feed into your current state. Decaf or herbal teas are a good alternative, if you know that caffeine will have a negative affect on you. If the weather is nice make a drink and sit outside. In the afternoon I sometimes make myself a cup of tea and sit on the backdoor step. It’s amazing what taking a few minutes to yourself can do.
- Meditate – I know I often go on about meditation on this blog but I love it and only wish I could get into a better routine with it. When I do meditate I find myself feeling so much more relaxed and more able to cope with situations. It takes practice and perseverance so don’t worry if it doesn’t click on the first attempt.
- Go for a walk – I know I mentioned this in the above tip, however I find that it’s the perfect time to take 5 minutes to yourself. If you find your mind won’t quieten down then play some music and get some fresh air.
Believe in yourself
Stress, worry and anxiety can often be attributed to your own confidence. If this is the case then believe in yourself! You can go to that job interview, you can pass your driving test, you can do anything you want to!
I have to admit I am guilty of often not believing in myself or having very little confidence in my abilities. Sometimes I have to take a step back and really question myself as to why I don’t think I’m capable of something. I often find that I can’t come up with a good enough reason not to try something even if I think I’m not 100% capable of achieving it.
My guilty pleasure is to scroll through the positive and empowering quotes on Pinterest. I always come off of Pinterest feeling more positive about myself and the world. If you’re ever in need of a quick pick-me-up then have a little look and learn to believe in yourself.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If something is causing you so much stress, worry or anxiety then ask someone for help. Help can come in all different shapes and forms – whether it be that someone physically helps you complete a task you are stressed about or they just offer an ear for you to talk things through. People often bottle things up too much, we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.
It’s taken me a while to come to terms with this tip and after having struggled with my anxiety for a year now I’ve finally asked for help.
How do you cope with stress?