What are some healthy ways to relieve or cope with stress? Have you ever searched for ways to carefully manage your stress-filled days? The ones that tear into your every being and make the light unbearable. The days where a rock is a more fitting house than your own. Moments where you feel absolutely worthless and alone. Ouch! Too close to home? I bet. Those are the times where the walls start closing in and nothing seems to get better. Here's the catch...things can get better with healthy coping methods and genuinely taking care of your mind and body.
After witnessing unhealthy stress-coping methods, I knew I had to share my thoughts and maybe help someone along the way.
Before I tell you healthy ways, let's talk about what not to do when you are heavily stressed.
Deadly. Abusive. Unhealthy.
Do you turn to alcohol when days get rough? Do you heavily drink to drown out your intrusive thoughts about stress and life? Is the bottle or can more appealing than a movie or talking to a friend? Are you seeking beer over water? Are you addicted to coping this way?
If you answered yes, then I need you to listen closely.
Too much alcohol consumption can kill you or severely damage your mind and body.
"Long-term alcohol use can put one at a greater risk for certain conditions, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, and even cancer."
"Death. Their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.45 may result in death due to alcohol poisoning or a failure of the brain to control all of the body’s vital physical functions."
Have you considered the long-term consequences caused by drinking alcohol every single day? Have you ever thought about it? I have and I don't like the results. Being an alcoholic isn't okay nor is it safe for you or those around you. You are putting people in harm's way by toying with your emotions and head the way you do by constantly drinking.
If you let alcohol "fix" your problems, you will end up with more problems and fall into unhealthy ways of dealing with your stress. Overconsumption of alcohol can't "fix" your problems, it can only ease it for a little while. That's why people constantly drink, so they can continually combat stress, but that isn't how it works. Alcohol isn't the answer, it is the enemy. Fight the enemy.
Ignoring your needs
At one point in time, we all ignore our own needs to deal with other things, but we need to stop that and take care of ourselves first. Don't neglect your needs while coping, they need attention more than ever.
Ask yourself the tough questions. Am I actually okay or just faking it? Have I thought about myself today?
Then the small everyday ones. Have I ate, showered, and rested today?
If you answered no. Take a hard look at how you are coping. Are you turning to bad habits to heal temporary pains or are you turning to good habits to cure stress?
Yelling and blaming others / Investing in drama
When you start blaming others for your stress, you start the spiral of losing control. Your problems become everyone else's but your own. You take no responsibility for the mess you clearly made for yourself and the ones around you. Then begins the cycle of causing unnecessary drama for attention and wanting people to feel sorry for you instead of healthily dealing with your stress. That is when word vomit happens - you start to say whatever comes to mind to try and clear your mess or make people side with you. It won't work.
That is when you slowly lean towards becoming a narcissist.
No matter what is going on, you blame your problems on others. You can do no wrong in your own eyes. No one can tell you otherwise.
Overworking your mind and body
Remember to take breaks. Rest your mind and body. Take a breather. Take a nap. Do not constantly work to the point of a breakdown. It isn't good for you.
Take care of yourself and rest.
Don't continue the things that stress you out. Find ways to manage why it stresses you out so you can get it done and move along. Don't stay in the mess, fix it and shift your focus.
Self-loathing is synonymous with self-hatred: it’s an extreme dislike of oneself. It’s fuelled by anger, low self-esteem, and a distorted perception of oneself due to misguided thoughts and self-beliefs. In most cases, self-loathing is the result of having a dysfunctional upbringing.
Change the narrative. Change the vocabulary in your space.
Use kinder words about yourself. Say I love you to yourself. You deserve to love yourself. You deserve nicer things in your head. Believe that, be that change.
What are healthy stress relievers?
Bubble Baths / A good book
My number one healthy stress-reliever - bubble bath, a good book, and half a glass of red wine. Notice I included alcohol. There are healthy ways to consume alcohol such as watching how much you drink and remembering not to go overboard. For me, that means slowly drinking half a glass while reading my book and soaking in the tub. Because alcohol is only life-threatening if you constantly consume it by the minute. If you drink responsibly, you can incorporate this aspect into your relaxation time.
Take 20-30 minutes and soak in the tub. Turn the lights down low. Focus on your book and ease your stress. Let the tension melt away.
Shooting Guns at a Gun Range
Another way to use something rather deadly responsibly to cope with stress is by going to the shooting range. This is one of the ways my boyfriend blows off steam and relaxes. He shoots guns.
Target practice, am I right?
This is healthy because it allows him to blow off stream while keeping others and himself safe. Instead of yelling at others or himself, he chooses to fuel that frustration into his paper target. That allows him to create a safe environment while stressed.
I am a major movie buff, I love this form of stress-relieve. Struggling up with my favorite blanket and movie is top of my list on a bad day. Throw in some junk food and maybe a movie-watching buddy, and I am set.
Movies are another way to pull you into another world and shift your mind to other things. This time allows you to explore faraway lands and learn about superheroes. You can go anywhere with a DVD and remote. You can feel anything alongside your favorite characters. My go-to's are Disney movies.
My Top Picks: Peter Pan, Wall-E, Finding Nemo/Dory, and Toy Story.
Fueling that emotion into your passion
Loving yourself through the pain. Instead of self-loafing and letting the hurt swallow you fuel that aggression into something positive.
Art, music, writing, singing, dancing, talking kindly to yourself, talking to God and friends, and reaching out to the family. You aren't in this alone and they want to show you that, sometimes it just takes a signal.
Create a signal between you and a close friend/family member that y'all can use when you need someone but have no words to describe your emotions. A random text code such as Brainoverload or Overwhelmed. Something only y'all know. So you are still reaching out, but not feeling like you are being a burden on anyone. Sometimes just one word changes everything, just let someone know if you can.
Practice in the mirror. Practice sending encouraging affirmations to friends/family. Have them help you be patient with your progress in loving yourself. Start with "like" and slowly reach "love." Don't rush your process, just be yourself.
Fuel this process into your passion. For me, I love writing poetry or stories when I am stressed or overwhelmed. I like to get my emotion all out on the page. I want them out of my head.
You can do that with art, singing, and dancing. Also by talking to God, friends, and family about what is going on. Have honest and open conversations about stress and pain in your life and it will start to ease little by little.
Jamming to music - anywhere
Music, the language that knows no bounds. This stress-reliever is for everyone. You can choose when and where you spend your jam out time.
There is no set rule about how you spend this time either, you are free to let loose and enjoy your music. Sing as loud and long as your heart desires. Yell, scream, throw your hands up.
My current playlist: JAMMING TIME :)