It’s that time of year when it’s crucial to know how to manage stress. Between the holidays, fourth quarter goals, and just doing the daily tasks that are required of humans, it can be a lot to handle.
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Admittedly, I’m not the best at managing stress. I have a tendency to ignore it and act like I’m fine. And then, the stress tends to manifest as night terrors, so I basically get no sleep because all night I’m waking up and screaming.
Obviously, this isn’t ideal.How to Manage Stress Click To Tweet
So, instead of shrieking all night, I’ve decided there’s got to be a healthier way. And there is. But it’s definitely not one little thing I can add to my day. Nor is there one thing that works every time. Instead, you have to actually be aware of how you’re feeling, and from there, decide what will work best in that moment.
(Just as an aside, I’d like to go on the record and say that I hate how much my mental presence is necessary for my survival. I spent the majority of my childhood and twenties just trying to escape, either in fiction or the list of cheap shots at the nearest shitty bar. So, taking care of myself and being aware of what I actually need has become the hardest thing that I regularly do, and I’m really not down with it.)
I’ve noticed lately with NaNoWriMo and paper grading ramping up, that I’ve been reassessing how to manage stress. And while I can’t say that I’ve been great at it, here’s what’s been working for me.
How to Manage Stress
001: Get enough sleep.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t know that you need sleep. But I think we don’t talk enough about the kind of sleep we’re getting. Lately, with everything that’s going on, I know I haven’t been getting very good sleep. And each morning, I’ve been waking up earlier and earlier, sometimes before my 5:45 AM alarm, just because I can’t sleep any longer. But here’s the thing: I’m not really getting more than five or six hours of sleep.
So what’s going on here? Probably a number of things. I know I’m consuming more caffeine than normal. So, that may just be building up in my system, and that may be why it’s hard for me to get some good deep sleep. Anxiety is probably another factor, and overall health is probably another. I didn’t realize this was an issue I was dealing with until I got one night of good, solid sleep because of the holiday. And man, did I realize what I was missing, and what I needed to correct.
002: Watch how you’re breathing.
Lately I’ve been catching myself doing a very deep, relieved sigh. It’s loud. So loud, that I’ve apologized to my officemate for it. But I take in some air, and then let it out in the sort of sign you would release when you’re feeling an immense amount of relief. Only, the thing is, I’m not really feeling relief. I think my brain is subconsciously doing this to make me feel relief.
I have to say that I’m not a ta place where I’m more stressed out than I’ve ever been. But I am at a place where I’m more observant of how I feel than ever before. So, it makes sense that I’m noticing this breathing. I’ve also noticed that I haven’t been breathing very deeply for most of the day, and this might be why I feel this need to do the sigh thing. In any case, paying attention to my breath has made me more aware of how I’m feeling, and I’ve been able to do a little more deep breathing throughout the day.
003: Make time for quiet and contemplation.
Last Saturday, I drove to Tulsa to write with a fellow Authortuber. I thought about canceling, just because I was feeling burnt out and well, driving on the Turner Turnpike is never a joy. But I decided to listen to the Tarot for the Wild Soul podcast on my drive there, and the drive was basically the most energizing thing I’ve done in a long time. The podcast not only talked about tarot, but just basic good advice for approaching life.
The drive made me realize that I don’t have enough quiet and calm stillness in my day. I need time by myself where I can just consume media. Lately, when I’m alone, I’m just creating. But this was a testament to my need to fill the well, and I’m really glad I had that drive. Also, because of that time I spent just re-energizing, I was able to write 6,900 words that day.
004: Try some aromatherapy.
When I went to the Mindful Muse Creativity Retreat back in July, Dr. Lisa Marotta took some time to talk about the benefits of aroma therapy when it comes to creative work. And I have to say, I’m fully on board. I’ve used candles before as aways to spur my writing, or to get me in the right headspace. But now that I’ve discovered the Simply Earth Recipe Box, I’m ready to take that aromatherapy game to a whole new level. One thing that kept me from getting into essential oils was that you had to buy them each separately, and any of the things you’d mix them in were also sold separately.
Simply Earth makes it easy on you because they send you the recipe box with all the ingredients you need as well as cards that explain different recipes. If you’re interested in getting your own recipe box, you can use this link (use coupon code “MARISAMOHIFREE”) to receive a Big Bonus Box (contains carrier oils and containers for the mixes you create), an Essential Oil Recipe box (features the scents selected by the aromatherapist for the month), and a $20 egift card towards future purchases. I’ve already mixed up the congestion support oil recipe, and it’s really been helping me with my fall Oklahoma allergies.
005: Eat better.
If you follow me on social media at all, you know that I’m not great at eating healthy. I know I need to to keep my body functioning properly, and I know stress effects me less if I’m not eating candy for every meal. But here we are, and well, I won’t tell you how much candy I’ve had today. I’m a work in progress, but I’m pretty sure my eating habits will be what kills me someday.
This is the worst time of year for me and eating well. I come from a family that won’t let you refuse food, and if you do, it’s basically an insult. For this reason, I pretty much grew up eating whatever was given to me, even if I wasn’t hungry. And now, as an adult, it’s a hard habit to break, especially at a time of year when people are constantly pushing food on me. This is where staying present is really important. If I don’t, I will find myself halfway through a plate of food that I don’t even want.How do you manage stress? Click To Tweet
How Do You Manage Stress?
What’s your go-to method for managing stress? Do you have a few tips that get you through the holidays? Have you ever tried aromatherapy before?