This is your reminder that things will be ok
This week is the 17th Annual Mental Health Awareness Week (14th – 20th May), with the theme this year about Addressing your Stress.
Occasionally, you may become stressed – be it due to upcoming deadlines for assignments or planning an event. But sometimes, it’s more than just ‘occasionally’. Imagine it being constant, from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to bed. According to the report published by Mental Health Foundation and YouGov, 74% of people surveyed said at some point, they have been some stressed, they’ve become overwhelmed and unable to cope.
This post is a personal one – one which I’m ok to share. If there’s anything I’ve learnt since writing blog posts, is that it’s ok to share my vulnerability. But it’s also important to de-stigmatise mental health, and share experiences. Not everyone will have the same experience, and not everyone may understand. But I hope this post encourages everyone to talk about mental health. What this blog post is here to remind you is that no matter what, it will be ok. If not now, at some point it will. Though as a disclaimer for this blog, not everything I experience with stress will be the same as you and my coping mechanisms may not work for you.
The Mental Health Foundation have developed a Stress Test – created used the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) which asks you a series of questions about the last month. Though currently I feel more relaxed, my results showed I was moderately stressed (around the 24 mark!) especially over the last month. There’s no surprise – I’ve had;
- 2x 5000 assignments due in days apart from each other
- Moved house and did not have all my furniture in place (#bedgate)
- Multiple projects to finish
- Sorting out bills and switching accounts (not as straight forward as the internet makes out as!)
But what has helped me over the last month is having a supportive network – even at times when I’ve just wanted to curl up on the sofa and sleep! So thank you to my family and friends who have put up with me stressing out.
Identifying Stress Factors
Stress is no stranger to me.
It’s something that doesn’t quite go hand in hand with my anxiety. Even on days where things are ‘calm’ – my anxiety can create stress over nothing.
“Have I forgotten to lock the door and I end up coming home to a burgled house?”
“What if my bills haven’t gone out?”
“How about this…?”
It goes on – and it can go from being calm one minute to being on edge.
One thing that helps me when I’m feeling stressed is writing down what is causing the stress.It’s like a to do list – once I’ve conquered one factor of stress, it’s crossed off. As I cross one element down at a time, it feels like a mini achievement. This is more towards upcoming deadlines and time pressing issues that I need addressing, rather than historic encounters I’m still working on. But addressing what causes your stress is a start of tackling it.
Some days, you won’t want to address it. And that is ok. Be it confronting someone about how they’ve treated you and you don’t want the repercussions, to working through a list of difficult tasks. But these cannot keep holding you down. It’s tempting to stick your head in the sand, and wish for the stress factors to disappear – some days that’s all I ever want – but the truth is it won’t. It is overwhelming, and sometimes that can be quite scary. But take it one step at a time; even if it’s a tiny shuffle forward, you will get there.
Those little moments to help sooth you during those stormy moments.
For those moments I’m feeling worked up I’ll give myself a ‘night off’. May it just be going home, having a glass of red wine and sitting in a hot bath, or wrapped up watching feel good films. Granted, they won’t fix everything there and then. But sometimes, that bit of self-care can give you a recharge to face future challenges.
Moments of self-care I’ve been doing over the last couple of days have been:
- Hot baths with plenty of Lush products
- Binge watching A Series of Unfortunate Events (I absolutely love it!)
- A glass (or two) of red wine – or a large cup of tea
- Fresh pjs and fresh bedding
- Listening to the Hamilton soundtrack
- Slathering Sleepy lotion before I crawl into bed
You can check out my previous blog post and Pinterest board below for more self-care tips;
Some key points to remind you that this too shall pass.
These reminders are not always something that may be at the fore-front of your mind. It’s something I also have to keep reminding myself during those tough times! But I hope these reminders also help you;
- It’s ok to say no. Sometimes you feel bad for saying it (especially if you’re like me) but if you’re running yourself to the ground, then it is ok to pull back. They will understand – and if they don’t, are they really worth the hassle?
- You’re not a robot. Going back to the last point, you don’t want to run yourself to the ground. So set those boundaries and give yourself time to charge up (no pun intended… ish…).
- If it’s causing necessary stress, it’s ok to stop. You know you’re own limit, and sometimes challenges can push them to your boundaries. But if it gets too much – take a step back. This can be temporary, or stopping full stop. But don’t feel like you’ve failed – take it as it’s just not the right time. You’ll have achieved something even if the outcome has turned out different.
- Know your support network. It’s important to know, even when you are on your own, that you are not alone. Someone out there may not have gone through exactly what you’re going through, but they will offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and sometimes, a big hug. Over the last couple of weeks, I know who I can go to for a rant, a cry and just to blurt everything off my chest. It can be scary. You never know how they may react. But you may be surprised when they offer you a smile which just reminds you that “things are really going to be ok” – and it will.
- This storm will pass. There will be days where you envisage that stress is just going to be with you for the rest of your life and you won’t shake it off. But like storms, it won’t last forever. One day the sun will start shining and you will feel the warmth on your skin. Embrace those moments.
What do you do to relieve yourself from stress? Share on the comments below!
Until next time,