Monday, May 20, 2019

What is Adding to Your Daily Stress

Let's talk a little about stress today. It's the end of the school year and there are a ton of things going on. Everyone is anxious for summer to finally come, but you're still feeling stressed. Why do you feel so stressed right now?

Stress is a normal part of life and is caused by so many different things. Everyone gets stressed by different things but most commonly stress comes from life events at home, work, school, or life changes.



Your phone

There are little things that we do every day that we don't realize is adding to our stress levels. They might not be things that we normally would think of causing stress, and they might now be things that are the main reason for stress all of the time, but these things add to the stress that is caused by bigger things and they are all things that are within our control (which is something I have to remind myself of when I start to feel stressed, "I can't control this, but what can I control to help me feel better?"). Here are some of the things that might be adding to your stress that you can control.

Your phone. I know, we hear this all the time, and sometimes it makes us feel worse because we feel guilty every time we pick our phones up after someone brings it up. But it's true.  Phones can become an addiction.  We get instant gratification almost every time we pick it up. How many of us have several text threads going on right now? I have one for my family, Trevon's family, my primary presidency, my group of cousins....and I can tell you that our conversations are not always fun or exciting. Sometimes the discussions get tense or filled with drama and every time that happens and we start hearing our phone beep at us or buzz in our pockets, our bodies react with stress.

Along the lines of our phones causing stress, what happens when we head out to the store and when we get there we realize we forgot our phones?  Most people immediately act with panic, even if they won't admit it, and will either stress about not having it the whole time they are out or they will actually drive all the way home to get it before finishing what they went to the store for in the first place. Here's the thing, people lived for hundreds of years without phones, and more recently everyone survived and lived a normal life without cell phones, probably while you were alive!

If you're someone who feels their stress level raise at either of those ideas, it might be time to take a little break.  Give yourself permission to ignore a phone call or text. Even turn your phone off for the weekend (tell your loved ones first so they don't think you've gone missing). This is one of the many reasons I love camping. No cell service means a nice break from that and more time to relax and focus on spending time with what is important.  It's ok for you to do the same. Turn your phone off for a couple of days and see if your stress levels go down.

Social Media

I will be the first to admit that I love social media. I can't tell you how many friends I have made through social media and I absolutely love those connections. But, sometimes social media can be the cause of a lot of different emotional issues.  Anxiety, depression, stress, self-esteem...Just to name a few. We have a tendency to scroll through Facebook or Instagram and see everyone's highlights and truly believe that it's their real life. Good things happen to everyone, so do bad things, people just don't normally share the bad days. They don't share the days when they didn't sleep the night before because they were up with a crying baby. They don't share when they fight with their spouse, or when they lost a job, or when they failed at something they had been working so hard on. They don't share those things because those are things that are hard and embarrassing and that we want to forget, so why would we document them?  You have to remember any time that you get on instagram or Facebook, you're looking at the highlight reel.  Yes, those awesome things are happening to all of those people, but there are things that aren't as exciting, or good, or happy happening to them too.

On top of all of that, social media has news stories, political events, and other stressful things that get shared there. Sometimes seeing so many negative things at once will bring us down fast. It's stressful to see so many angry people, or so many terrible things happening in the world.

If you start feeling like you're spending a lot of time on social media comparing, feeling bad for yourself, or feeling stressed out, once again, it's ok to take a break. I've deleted Instagram from my phone several times for a few days at a time. I've logged off on Facebook and took a few days to weeks off so that I can help myself out of the habit of scrolling and it changes a lot. I missed the friends while I was on break, but they are still there when you go back, and so is everything else that you might have had FOMO about.

Procrastination

Everyone knows how this one goes... So it's the end of the school year and your kid has to do an end of year project. How long have you known about this project? You keep putting it off because you have had time and you didn't want to think about it right now...but now it's due. like TOMORROW and nothing is done on it.

Or maybe you have something you were asked to do by a friend, or at work, or in your church, but you keep putting it off because you don't really want to do it anyway and now it's time to get it done.

The fix for this one is easy, and everyone knows what it is. Get it done when you know you have to do it so you won't have to worry and think about it again. And so you don't have to do a rush job and pray for the best because you didn't get it done the first time you were asked.


Saying yes to everything.

We were just talking about a friend asking you to do something that you don't really want to do, but because you're a good friend you feel like that's what good friends do so here we are. Do you really even have time for this?  This is another easy fix, the problem is we make ourselves feel guilty for doing it. Saying no is ok!

SAYING NO IS OKAY!

We do not need to fill our plates so full that we can't finish.  Take a look at your schedule, decide what you're able and willing to do, and say no to the rest. If you feel bad saying a flat out no to someone, think of another way you can help them and offer that instead. "I'm sorry, I can't watch your kids all day today, but if they want to come to play for an hour after school, I can do that."  "No, I won't make it to bake sale, but I can send some cookies with my child." "Lunch this week won't work for me, but I'd love to meet you at the park and visit while our kids play." There are so many options to still help someone out even if you can't do exactly what they are asking.


Being tired

Stress happens a lot more when we don't have good sleep habits.  We all know that we should all be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night. But not many of us do. We wake up feeling grumpy, rushed from sleeping through the alarm, mad that we didn't get to bed sooner and already stressed for the day.

Start a new bedtime routine to help tell your mind it's time to sleep. Write in your journal so the things weighing on your mind will be out on paper. Write your todo list for the next day so you don't have to worry about missing something. Do some meditation to relax your body and mind. And do it all an hour earlier than normal so that you can get a little extra rest.

Exercise.

It's been known to limit stress and a whole ton of other emotional issues. It gives us those great endorphins. It helps us sleep better at night. And yet some people don't do it at all...or some do it too much! There's a balance in everything. Exercise should be a release for you, not a source of stress. If you're exercising to try to be perfect in any way, you're doing it wrong. Exercise is there to help us be the healthiest version of yourself.  That doesn't mean the same thing for everyone. Do not compare the way you look to anyone else. It's one thing to have goals, it's another thing to realize that some goals are literally unachievable. You have a different body, different goals, different likes, and different genetics. You are not going to be able to achieve something the someone else is working for.  Make your own goals and focus on those.  Exercise to help you live healthily and happily, not to impress someone else.

Stress is definitely something that we can all get a grip on and come out of.  Lifestyle changes can help you achieve a less stressful life.

What things stress you out the most?

What is your favorite way to de-stress your life?

9 comments:

  1. Being tired definitely causes me stress. Lately I just haven't been able to feel rested and it is frustrating me so much. I also get stressed about finances.

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    1. Finances stress me out too! I hope you get a really good nights sleep soon so you can feel extra rested!

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  2. I'm a procrastinator, and I have a tough time saying no. I'm also a bit of a perfectionist. Usually I can pull off the "obligations" at the last minute (because I actually do my best work under a deadline when I don't have time to second-guess all my decisions)...but it's stressful leading up to the actual moment I start working on the tasks. I don't like asking for assistance because it's hard letting others do my job, especially when it comes to artwork, etc.

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  3. Yes to all of these common causes of stress. I've been trying to limit my phone usage, especially when it comes to social media because it's such a time waster if I stay on it too long.

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  4. Being tired definitely makes me feel more stressed! And, of late, my crazy work schedule definitely has me a bit on edge.

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  5. Planning dinner stresses me out. It sounds silly, but I hate it. On the other hand, I do like having healthy leftovers, so I suck it up and do it.

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  6. Right now, extended family drama is top on my list of stressors. I am good with almost everything else, but when my family gets out of line, my anxiety kicks right in. Luckily, exercise helps me defuse some of that, so yay for running!

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  7. Oh yes! My phone and social media are definite stressors for me. Every now and then, I just unplug, but it is so hard to do as a blogger!!!

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  8. Being tired and procrastination are my two biggest stressors (hence the late comments on a Monday post). I am so over-committed and am always running out of time!

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