July 1, 2016

Managing Stress + Anxiety

I'm one of those people who gets stressed about the smallest, stupidest of things. Meeting someone someplace I've never been? I'll check Google maps 30 times beforehand, so I know exactly where I should park. Things like that. Of course, I also get stressed out by things that are actually important and have more lasting implications, like finances or school-related things.

To the outside world, I appear to be managing my stress, and I do... to an extent. What is my secret?  I'm not into hot baths, cups of tea, and all that jazz, but if that works for you, great. There are a few things that consistently work for me when I'm under a lot of pressure and need a release. 

+ Prayer/journaling/writing
Whenever I'm under tremendous pressure (not a regular thing, but last semester's stats class comes to mind), I try to remember to turn to God first. I often attempt to run my own show and manage everything myself and usually end up a) having a breakdown, b) making myself sick from the stress, or c) both. I know that I need to ask God for help first and foremost, so I schedule in Bible journaling. I also journal just for myself. I'll write down anything and everything, which could include thoughts and feelings, song lyrics, musings on the future or past, or even a chapter for one of the books I'm working on. I simply write until I start to feel better. And, even though it doesn't seem like it would work, I swear that writing out in a list everything you're worried or stressed about (just a word or phrase) is an instant stress-reliever.

+ Reading
I was the kid who looked forward to book fair season because those Scholastic pamphlets meant that I could go home and circle all the books that I wanted my mom to order for me. I was that kid who would bring books to summer camp. I would read for hours after school and read entire shelves of the library. I still love to read. I can easily lose track of time while reading a great book, and I find it a great escape/stress reliever because you can't obsess over real-life while you're living in another world.

+ Baking
I stress bake, and I know I'm not the only one. There's something strangely calming in deciding on a recipe, mixing the ingredients together, and letting that warm, sweet smell fill the air while something bakes in the oven. 

How do you manage stress?

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