Tuesday, January 14, 2014

This Week, I'm Uninstalling Stress

It feels like lately I’ve been getting a little off track. Not physically, but mentally. I’m still going to yoga regularly, I’m still eating healthy, and I usually manage to get enough sleep at night. Yet, for the past few weeks I’ve been feeling a bit… off. Do you ever feel like that?

uninstall stress, eliminate stress
What if we could "uninstall" stress? Well, we sort of can.
Image: Shutterstock
This past weekend was sort of a bummer. Weekends are usually wonderful little pockets of relaxation and joy, but this weekend I didn’t feel like doing anything. I tried to think of things to do that sounded interesting or nice, but I couldn’t think of anything. Reading? Meh. Writing? Too much brainpower required. Going outside? Too cold. Watching a movie? Too sedentary. Being crafty? Requires too much creativity. The list went on… and on. I felt like such a Negative Nancy, but I just couldn’t figure out how to get out of my funk. Finally I just resolved myself to having a down sort of weekend.

Now it’s Tuesday, and I’m starting to get some of my usual enthusiasm back. And now that I am on the outside of that miserable state, I have a few ideas for what may have caused it—the primary of which is simply stress. I let myself get completely wound up at work following the holidays, and I think this weekend was just my body finally saying, Okay, that’s enough. Time to slow down now.

I don’t have a solution for when this happens in the future, but I do think I discovered a few things that will help keep me on track. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets knocked out by stress from time to time, so I’ll share here:
  1. Check in with yourself on a daily basis and see where your stress levels are at.
  2. If you are feeling more stressed than usual, figure out why. Take a few minutes to determine what the problem is—and then whether it’s passed the good stress – bad stress threshold.
  3. If it has passed that threshold (no shame), figure out what you can do to reduce it. Do you need help? Don’t be afraid to talk to a manager if you feel like you need additional support.
  4. Do you just need a good vent? If you do, schedule a time when you can talk to HR and let them know that you just need to get some things off your chest. This is especially helpful if the stress is being caused by a frustrating event/situation that you just need to power through.
  5. Make time for yourself. As tempting as it can be on a busy day, don’t skip lunch—and don’t eat while you continue to work. Our bodies need breaks. Try and take some time at home to detox before going back to work the next day.
  6. Perhaps most important is to remember to treat your body right. It does SO much hard work for you, so eat nutrient dense foods and avoid processed/fast foods, exercise regularly, and make sure you're getting enough rest. 
How do you all deal with stress as it comes? I’d love to hear some additional ideas, so please share in the comments below!