This guest post is written by the lovely Millie, who blogs over at MSB Life. Today, she’s sharing with us her top tips for busting those stress monsters that love to bother us…
Hello, Readers of the #TimetoTalk blogathon!
For my guest post, I shall be writing about my ‘Top 5 Ways to Fight Back Against Stress‘.
I, unfortunately along with a lot of others, suffer from the build-up of stress and the health issues that come along with it. Whilst it could be argued that my problems with stress do not compare to the ‘levels’ someone else might have, that isn’t what #TimetoTalk is about nor is it some ‘competition’.
If you are suffering from stress or any mental health problem, then you should have the environment and people around you to reach out for help – no matter how ‘bad’ you perceive it to be. It wasn’t until around spring of 2018 when I experienced my first ‘stress attack’, which came around because Jack said he wouldn’t do something and that when I look back seems silly, but at that moment it wasn’t. That small and insignificant comment spiralled into me falling to the floor and bursting into uncontrollable tears and not being able to breathe.
Thankfully I had Jack and my Mum to look after me, hug me and help me return back to a ‘normal’ state. However, unfortunately that isn’t the case for everyone suffering with a mental health problem. That’s why #TimetoTalk is so important, and why I offered to join this blogathon on the lovely Jen’s blog!
So here we go, my ‘Top 5 Ways to Fight Back Against Stress’!
Yoga can be a good way to deal with a build-up of stress you can already feel, as well as a way to avoid that build-up in the first place. I have mentioned this on my blog before, but I try to incorporate Yoga into my routine when I can. If I’m going for a longer and more structured route, I head over to YouTube and choose my pick of a ‘Yoga with Adriene‘ video. I cannot emphasise how amazing her videos are at relieving stress and calming your mood. Other times, when I’m flying solo or I don’t have much time, I will just do simple but effective moves on the floor. Below you can find my some of my favs from Adriene, for relieving stress!
This is something we are doing constantly, but only a small number of us ever stop and take time to consciously breathe. Whilst this is something that came out of incorporating Yoga into my routine, (thanks again, Adriene) it is now something I do completely separate from it. When I first wake up in the morning, and just before I close my eyes in the evening, I take a moment (I don’t time it, I just take however long I feel I need that day) to sit and just BREATHE. I go through some different techniques, such as:
- Inhaling for 4 seconds, holding for 7 seconds and exhaling for 8 seconds
- Inhale for 4 seconds, ‘blow’ exhale for 7 seconds
- Sharp inhale, sharp exhale
- Return back to ‘normal’ breathing state
Alongside it preparing me to start and end my day, it also allows me to control the way I feel and my thoughts. Incorporating this with meditation, (potentially along with the next tip) can be highly beneficial for fighting back against that stress.
3: Repeating Affirmations, or just ‘talking to yourself’
Repeating affirmations is a nicer term for what I call ‘talking to myself’. I will admit, I am a big advocate for talking to myself – whether that be out loud or inside my head. Sometimes I will shout out loud what I want whilst I’m driving in the car, (Thanks to Eliza G Fitness‘ podcast ‘Hotter than Health’ for this one) or sometimes, actually every night, I will just have a small goodnight chat with myself before heading to sleep.
The affirmations, or chat, allows me to concentrate my thoughts into a goal – or even just being that someone I need to calm me down. An example of this, which is also an example of something I learnt from Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s new book ‘The Stress Solution’ about ‘Micro Stress Doses’, (something really small happening that causes a much bigger effect on your stress levels due to the state of ‘fight or flight’ mode – due to those high levels of stress), happened to me earlier in the week.
It was about 7:20am, and I was walking down the road towards the bus stop. The bus was due to arrive at 7:35am, however, from the top of the street I see a bus driving up past the bus stop – and I’m not there yet. In the space of a second, I go from a feeling of calm to WHY IS THE BUS HERE, I’M MISSING THE BUS, RUN MILLIE RUN. And I do. I find my body instantly in this ‘fight or flight’ state, and I just run across the road. Thankfully there wasn’t a car coming, because I didn’t look, but also THAT WASN’T MY BUS. I just assumed it was, and I had to use this ‘talking to myself’ technique to calm myself down.
4: Take some time to plan your day in advance, but leave room for mistakes
I would like to think that I could be spontaneous, but I am a 100% ‘let me just plan this’ type of gal. I find control through planning out my day, and knowing what I have to make for tomorrow’s lunch, for example. I did this earlier, I wrote down a basic idea of what is happening tomorrow – from when I need to wake up to when I need to get the bus home. I didn’t say what I was going to do in the day, because planning everything minute by minute could cause you more stress, when everything doesn’t go to plan, but I found this was a really useful way to clear my mind and feel a sense of control – which when you are stressed, can be quite hard.
5: Sometimes, you just have to cry
Let’s get something straight, crying is not a sign of weakness nor is it a sign of failure. If you feel like you need to cry, then let yourself cry. Holding it in, along with the stress and build up of emotion, is not healthy and will only lead to a worse situation arising later on. When I cry, of course, it isn’t pretty, but it just allows me to RELEASE all these emotions and stress. It’s almost like it wipes my mind clean, let’s me get my thoughts together and just makes me feel better in general.
So please, next time your body is sending you a message and you feel those tears forming, LET THEM BURST and just allow yourself to have a cry. It could be just what you need to release it all.
And there we have it, my ‘Top 5 Ways to Fight Back Against Stress’! #TimetoTalk is such an important day, with such an important message, and I hope everyone who is reading this can find some time to reach out to anyone who you feel may need some support or love – or maybe to reach out to someone to ask for some.
It’s okay to not be okay, It’s not okay to not be okay alone.
Thank you, Jen, for this opportunity, and till next time my friends!
Millie is a new blogger based in the UK. If you enjoyed this post, and want to read more of her work, you can find her on her blog and social media platforms:
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health then please don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. You are not alone and help is available. By opening up and starting the conversation we can move forward together and look to a mentally healthy future. Below are links to a range of fantastic organisations that can provide information, advice and services.
The Samaritans: http://www.samaritans.org
Young Minds: http://www.youngminds.org.uk
Papyrus (prevention of young suicide): https://www.papyrus-uk.org
Self Harm UK: https://www.selfharm.co.uk
Time to Change: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk
Rethink Mental Illness: http://www.rethink.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://www.afsp.org
Please do not struggle alone.