For about two weeks, I had felt completely and utterly awful. My body ached, I was in so much pain that I could barely sit in a position that was not vertical, and my head hurt – to only name a few of my symptoms. It became so bad that I actually needed to take a day off of work to find refuge in my bed. The cause of this experience? Stress.
In the past few months, it’s an understatement when I say that I have experienced my fair share of stress. I started a new job. I switched gears from being a full-time student, to being a full-time career gal. Needless to say, with all of that stress building up in my system, it finally caught up with my body.
On that day, I decided to take some time to reflect and brainstorm some ideas on how to manage stress, the healthy way so I don’t end up in bed again. You see, up until that point, I definitely was not doing that – I used shopping as a coping mechanism, constantly was under distress, venting to all of my friends, and I just wasn’t taking care of myself, both mentally and physically.
Not good, Natalie.
So, before I could do any further damage to my body – my doctor said that stress can kill you – I took out my journal and decided to write a list of healthy things I can do to help manage stress:
- Actually take my lunch breaks.
- Drink more water.
- Drink less coffee/caffeine.
- Exercise daily.
- Journal/blog often (aka write more personally, rather than for work).
- Go hiking (weather permitting) once a week.
- Paint my nails as often as possible.
- Use my planner to track what I’m doing.
- Plan one to two social outings per week.
- Take time to do things that make me happy – reading, crafts, or even doing absolutely nothing!
Having that list (and writing it) made me realize that while I am powerless to protect myself from all of the stressors that life throws at me, I still have the power to stop it.
Someone recently told me that when something stresses you out or causes you anxiety, it is because it’s important to you and is something that you are afraid to lose. That served as a reminder whenever I feel anxious or stressed out about the real source of my anxiety, and is something I hope that you all out there find comfort in as well when you assess what’s truly bothering you.