This week has been tough for me! In between writing and testing and looking for a place to move to, I’ve been doing my best to keep the stress under wraps! I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to keep it up so far, and here’s what I’ve been using most often to get through the days!
- Mindful Meditation: Meditation sounds kind of new age and spiritualist, but it has real health benefits. Namely, it reduces stress! When I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately, I tap on my Calm app and squeeze in a quick session. Focusing on my breath helps me return to the present moment and get things done when I need to get them done.
- Browsing cute animal photos: This is kinda cheesy, but often I’ll look at adorable bird pictures to cheer myself up. Looking at something that makes me happy reminds me that there’s more to my life than my worries and day-to-day issues. I especially love the r/bears subreddit which has loads of cute photos of bears and the r/superbowl subreddit which features superb owls!
- Listening to a podcast or audio book: Getting engrossed in something like PseudoPod (my favorite horror podcast) or listening to The Sword of Shannara really helps me calm down. It’s a kind of escapism I can really appreciate on my commute and can give me the mental space I need to recharge and take on the rest of my day. Other podcasts I love are: The Adventure Zone, Tanis, The Black Tapes and Alice Isn’t Dead! I’m always in the market for more horror podcasts and I’m looking into the No Sleep Podcast as well!
- Going outside and mentally cataloguing what I see: A lot of times, we end up zoning out and living in anticipation of the future and not appreciating the present moment. I find a good way for me to get out of this is to try and get outside. There, I make myself really consider what I’m looking at. ‘There’s blooming daffodils’ I’ll think, and then I’ll list other things. How many trees are in view. What the weather is like. How many birds I can hear. Getting immersed in my surroundings brings me back to the now, where I can actually do things rather than the future, where I can’t do anything yet!
- Snacking on something yummy: Sometimes a good way to get in the zone is to engage your senses, as evidenced by my above methods. So if you engage your eyes and ears, why not also engage your taste buds? I like to snack on pretzels with peanut butter pockets, peanut butter banana bites and uh…well anything having to do with bananas or peanut butter! Anything I can eat helps me regain energy and helps me refocus on the present moment rather than ruminating over the past or angsting about the future.
Most of these techniques are all about bringing myself back to the present moment. Instead of worrying about things that may be or ruminating over past failures, choosing to focus on the present makes me less stressed and more productive. Being a naturally anxious person, I’ve experienced some measure of stress reduction as I’ve employed being mindful in my daily life. What do you do to reduce stress?