My 10 tips for dealing with stress & anxiety + 20 simple acts of self-care
Good afternoon lovelies and happy hump day! ♥
Today I want to share something that I hope will be able to help some of you out there as much as it has helped me. I have put together a list with 10 things that helps me get my stress and anxiety levels in check and have vastly improved my quality of life. Some of them are not exactly rocket science or particularly groundbreaking (but that doesn’t make them any less important), while others are more alternative and maybe even a bit controversial.
I know what works for me might not work for you and vice versa, but I would say that many of these tips are quite universal and if you are dealing with stress and anxiety, then I truly think that they are worth a try.
If you find that the stress and anxiety you are dealing with is overwhelming and not the result of a more temporary situation where you have an end date; like a work deadline or an exam, then I would really recommend that you try talking to a therapist as well – there are some situations where professional help and support is needed and there is absolutely no shame in that ♥
I also share 20 of my favorite simple acts of self-care at the bottom of this post ♥
1.) Share the source of your stress or anxiety with a loved one
One of the things that I have found to help me the most when I am completely spinning out is to talk to a friend or family member about the situation. Sometimes it helps just putting it into words. I honestly tend to make things and issues way bigger than they really are, so when I share the source of my stress/anxiety with someone else, they can often look at it much more objectively and help me realize that it honestly isn’t as big a deal as I have made it out to be.
In some situations it won’t work as the source of my stress/anxiety is legit, but I still find that it helps with a fresh set of eyes that can provide a new insight into the issue and maybe even offer an idea for a solution.
2.) Take control, stop procrastinating and do the work
I am not proud of this, but one of the biggest sources of stress in my life is my own ability to procrastinate (to the extreme) combined with the fact that I tend to let my anxiety take over, which means that I end up trying to avoid the source of my stress/anxiety instead of facing it head on.
For example, instead of just getting the freelance work that is due on Friday done in the beginning of the week, then I will usually leave it until Thursday, which means that I will be stressing about it all week and it will negatively affect my other work projects and my life in general.
To help me with this I have starting planning my workweek quite strictly. I use the timeblocking method and a little cube that works as a timer to help me get through the tasks in the time planned. I will say that I am just getting started with this and I am far from perfect, but it is already helping my stress and anxiety levels so much.
I also try to make a list of all the things I need to do during the week and then get the ones that cause me the most stress and anxiety out of the way first instead of saving them for last like I usually do. This little trick have really increased my productivity as I used to spend a stupid amount of time stressing and being anxious about these tasks.
3.) Try to get enough sleep
This one isn’t exactly rocket science, but getting enough sleep is so incredibly important when it comes to stress and anxiety – I know that is a bit of a catch 22 because when we are stressed or anxious it is hard to sleep, but I try to make it a priority and do my best to get as much sleep as possible. For me it is usually never more than 7 hours (I am such a night owl) and way less when I am very stressed or anxious, but with a little adjustment I hope to get my average hours of sleep up to around eight hours soon.
Even the biggest of problems seems at least a little bit smaller after a good nights sleep ♥
4.) Drink enough water and eat healthy meals, but without being too strict #treatyoself
This one isn’t exactly revolutionary either, but so important – though I gotta say I do not always practice what I preach when it comes to this one. I am such an emotional eater and in the incredibly stressful year that I worked on my cookbook I actually ended up gaining 10 kilos!
I do feel like I am much more in control now though and I try to focus on providing the best possible nourishment for my body and mind in order to succeed and achieve my goals – when I am filled with stress and anxiety then this step is just all the more important!
I am not super strict though. I try to focus on eating healthy nourishing meals (smoothies and salads are excellent ways to easily add lots of fruit, veggies and other nutrient dense foods to your diet), but that doesn’t mean I can’t have cookies, a greasy burger or drinks with the girls once in a while as well. It is all about finding that healthy balance and sometimes when I am stressed and tired I just need to chill out in front of the tv with a pizza- it is what you do everyday that impacts your health and wellbeing, not what you do every once in a while ♥
5.) Exercise – it sucks, but just do it!
Yup another groundbreaking tip, but it works! There is so much research to prove just how important regular exercise is for our mental health and it is incredibly important when it comes to managing stress and anxiety levels.
I honestly do not really care much for exercising anymore, with both knee and backproblems I am not able to do any of the workouts that I used to enjoy, but I still make it a priority as it is so important for not just my physical health, but almost even more so for my mental health. My stress and anxiety levels seems to go through the roof when I don’t work out, so while I find it tedious and time consuming, then I have to make it a priority in my everyday life.
Again, this is definitely one of the areas where I am far from perfect and when I get very stressed or anxious, then my workouts seems to be the first thing I cut from my schedule, but I am really working on this and I do think I am improving. It is all about finding what works for you, for example when I am super stressed and strapped for time then I can’t bring myself to go to the gym, but a quick (and tough) 30 minute home workout is something that I can manage.
6.) Just say f*ck it and take a break from it all
This one might go against quite a lot of my other tips, but I have found that if my stress or anxiety becomes too overwhelming, then the best thing I can do is to just say f*ck it and take a time out!
Set aside what you are working on or try to put whatever situation that is causing you anxiety on hold (I know this can be almost impossible) by doing something that can distract you and give you a break. Glam yourself up and go out for drinks and a night of dancing with your girlfriends, have a movienight with a loved one and just be sloth on the couch with takeaway and all of the candy or go to stay with your parents or brother/sister for a day or two to just relax and enjoy their company + the change of scenery.
I often feel so refreshed and reenergized afterwards that the situation that was causing me so much stress and anxiety doesn’t really seem like as much of a big deal – and if it was a situation where I was stuck and didn’t know what to do, then I often find that the solution to the problem had been right in front of me the whole time, but I was too stressed to see it.
I know this one isn’t always possible, we all have jobs, deadlines and responsibilities, but if you can somehow make it work, then I can really recommend the whole “f*ck it-method” every once in a while.
7.) Make sure your surroundings are as stressfree as possible
Whenever I get stressed or my anxiety is worse than usual, then I tend to skip out on everyday tasks like tidying up, cleaning or doing laundry and it is such a horrible reaction because when my surroundings are messy and untidy, then it just causes me even more stress.
Since I have found that keeping up with house chores makes a big difference for my stress and anxiety levels, then I have really tried to make it a priority even when I am completely overwhelmed, because while it does take some time away that I could have spent working (this is 100% the curse of working from home), then it really helps me in the long run and without the extra stress I will be able to concentrate better and get my work done faster.
There can be so any other things in your specific surroundings that can cause you stress, so make sure to analyze whether there are things that you would benefit from changing.
8.) Animals! Have a good cuddle or a playful fight
I find that being around animals is incredibly therapeutical, so one of the things that I love the most when I am stressed or anxious is to go have a cuddle with my sister’s (or parent’s) cats. Hearing and feeling them purr is magical – I know I sound like such a #crazycatlady right now, but there have actually been several studies into the therapeutical effects of cats and their purring.
If you do not have an animal yourself, then you can maybe offer a family member to walk their dog, visit a friend who has a cat (then you can try tip number 1 and 6 as well) or maybe even just go to a nearby park to see if there are some cute dogs you can pet (ask the owner for permission first of course).
9.) Go outside, connect with nature – just breathe
I grew up on the countryside and while I now live in the city, then I still find that going outside and connecting with nature is just one of the most amazing things you can do for yourself and your mental health. Go for a long walk, breathe in the fresh air embrace and appreciate mother nature ♥
If you live in the city then go to a nearby park or catch a train out of the city to take a break from big city life for an hour or two.
If you are lucky enough to have a balcony or maybe even a garden, then get your fingers dirty and plant your favorites herbs and flowers – maybe even your own produce? Having a garden is one of the most magical and therapeutical things and I appreciate it SO much, there is no better stress reliever than spending time in my garden, I cannot recommend it enough.
If you do not have access to a garden or balcony, then you can give a windowsill garden a try ♥
10.) Play The Sims – yes you heard me!
Nerd alert! I absolutely LOVE to play The Sims! I play The Sims Freeplay on my phone and Sims 4 on my laptop and it is seriously the best when it comes to de-stressing and getting my anxiety under control. I know this one probably seems weirdly specific, but I am part of a Sims community on Facebook (yep major geek over here – and proud!) and there are so many men and women of all ages from all walks of life who have shared that playing The Sims is one of the best things they have done for getting their stress and anxiety levels under control – see it’s basically science right?! ;)
Okay okay it doesn’t have to be The Sims, but I know so many people who have benefitted from finding a game that they enjoy to play when they need to destress – just as long as you make sure to keep you screentime to a healthy level… and no I am definitely not perfect when it comes to this either, but hey we all lose track of time sometimes right?
20 simple acts of self-care
“Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation”
– Audrey Lorde
One thing that I really try to make a priority, but still struggle with prioritizing the time for is self-care. It can be the most simple and small everyday things that can make a huge difference in your life, so putting in the time for some self-care might just be the best investment you can make in yourself ♥