Happy Monday All!
As my undergraduate career comes to an end, I have felt excessively stressed. Not knowing exactly what the future holds is intimidating and leaves an empty hole inside my stomach. Needless to say, I have felt extremely anxious the past month trying to make decisions on what I am doing after graduation. Of course, there is no right or wrong answer, and I won’t know the implications of my decision until I live it. Therefore, why did I spend all of January stressed to cloud nine about something I have very little control over?
My personality thrives off of planning and organizing. I write in a planner and journal everyday about my goals, track progress on excel sheets, and keep 2 calendars with different events to keep everything straight. Not a surprise that I do not like knowing actually what the future holds.
A couple weeks ago, I decided to “let go” of this stress and focus on the now. As cliche as this may sound, it truly helped. For a week, I played ignorant and pretended that I did not need to make any decision what so ever. Then, for about two weeks, I went back to “roots” (my hometown) and reflected on what I want. A lot of times I worry about external factors when trying to make decisions versus focusing on what is the best for ME. That’s the key. And in between these two acts, I was able to not only make a decision but walk away completely content.
Because stress is so common and frustrating, I wanted to share my top 5 combating-stress tips I used below.
This may seem counterintuitive. However, taking a mental-break from any stressful situation is sometimes more helpful than drowning yourself in a black hole. While my week-off mental break might not be ideal for every situation, I noticed that taking a drive and jamming to music, a quick outdoor walk in the sun, or visiting a new coffee shop and absorbing the atmosphere are all beneficial options that you can use to put your stress on the back burner. It simply gives you time to rejuvenate.
Return to Your Roots
I am lucky enough to not live terribly far from home. Therefore, it’s easy for me to pick up my things for a weekend and head home. Working out in my old gym, sleeping in my old room, and just being in my hometown reminds me to be grateful of the life I am living. But, returning to your roots does not have to necessarily mean going to your hometown. It could be the first gym you worked out on or even an old restaurant you used to hang out at. This gives you an opportunity to reflect and obtain a sense of gratification.
Form a Schedule and Stick To It
When I am stressed, I fall off the wagon. I don’t necessarily complete everything I say I am going to, and I start to miss workouts. I feel like I get so overwhelmed that I fail to even attempt to achieve anything. To avoid this sense of free falling, I typically write a new schedule specific for this stressful time and stick to it no matter what. For example, I schedule my workout at the same time every day that week, so my schedule becomes a constant in my life. The consistency helps give me reassurance.
Along with scheduling, I also try to do one thing for myself per day when I am really stressed. Whether that be binging on a couple episodes of Friends, cooking a new recipe, painting my nails, or scrolling on Pinterest, I try to reenforce positive, feel-good activities in my routine, so that I have something to look forward to.
Surround Yourself With Others Who Support You
Lastly, make sure the people around you aren’t adding to your stress. At the same time, increase the time you are spending with the people who are benefiting your mood. It seems simple, but it’s important to step back and make sure your relationships are supportive.
How do you all combat stress?