A few years ago, when I was deep in the thick of website developing and freelance content marketing (those were the days!), I was called upon by a friend to join her book club. Since I knew most of the women in the group already, I was pretty stoked about the whole affair.
Cut to 2019: I have two boys, literally no free time on my hands, and I’m laser-focused on developing websites and not really worried about the freelancing bit. I may not have been vocal about this, but the first half of the year was a tumultuous journey and everything seemed unmanageable. My stress levels were through the roof, and the constant need to achieve more only played a role in making me feel like a total failure.
The good thing about being me is that I’m excellent at knowing when I’m falling (or about to fall) in a rut, both mentally and physically. The littlest of details annoy me, I become forgetful, my sleep pattern gets disrupted and I constantly think about things that are way out of my control. Not an ideal way of living life, particularly when you have kids and a husband who need you to be on your A-game at all times!
Hence, I made a decision to cut down on my stress levels and on whatever was causing that stress!
Last week, our book club convened for breakfast, and I was super excited to be the host this time. More than having the kind of interaction you desire on a humane level, I realised how incredible these women are. They work exceptionally hard towards their jobs and families, and each of them has something unique and wonderful to bring to the table. That day, I left the book club feeling absolutely ecstatic and inspired.
I thought I’ll share six ways in which you can help manage your stress if you too feel like life’s being a complete downer:
- Give an old friend a call. I have always kind of known that I’m more introverted, so being around people wears me out. This is especially true when I’m very anxious about something or stressed beyond all measures! I tend to cut myself off and deal with the hailstorm alone. So, on one such day, I met up with a school friend and chatted up for what felt like a decade. Connecting with her face to face, really letting it all out definitely helped me and gave me a mood boost.
- Take a break at work. I have been that person who would sit behind an illuminated laptop screen all day and feel sluggish by the end of the day! So, I started to take an after-lunch walk in a park near my workplace, which not only helped boost my mood but also earned me the friendship of the little ones playing there!
- Take a detour from your daily routine. What we do every day, starting from when we wake up impacts how motivated/demotivated we feel. Our daily routines have a way of turning into ruts, without us being aware of it. It’s so easy to feel yourself being trapped in a pattern, feeling desolated and uninspired. I started going to the nearby temple every day in the morning, and the difference it made was remarkable. Something as simple as getting your coffee from a different cafe or picking out an outfit that you haven’t worn in a while can really help break you out of your cage.
- Don’t get stuck behind the screen. Is there even a single person out there who does not feel affected by social media? I think it’s pretty safe to say that while social media is a necessary evil, it’s still EVIL! So, before embarking on the journey of self-preservation, I deleted all my social handles, although I still use it for work, but steer clear of the personal stuff! Super rejuvenating!
- Don’t fall prey to the hustle culture. The chatter of the decade seems to be revolving around how detrimental the hustle culture is to people’s health. Not only is it a bad idea to work until your body and brain give out, but it also instils guilt (I’m probably not doing enough!), and comparison with others (is she getting more stuff done?), and burns you out completely (I can’t do this anymore!). Stop stressing about hustling and just focus on doing quality work without feeling burnt out!
- Declutter your workspace and bedroom. This may be a bit of a stretch for you, but it is definitely something that got me out of my rut. If you’re feeling particularly blah or stifled, tidy your workspace or closet and feel that immediate satisfaction in your heart. It really does work like magic!
Lastly, I would like to add that this whole ‘good vibes only’ culture is willfully toxic. You cannot always feel positive and meditate those negative feelings away! If you’ve had a bad day, allow yourself to feel poorly about it.
If you’ve heard of toxic positivity or read up on the positivity culture, you’ll second with me on this one.
I feel peaceful knowing that bad times (and bad thoughts) eventually pass and I’m proud of myself for being able to handle a negative situation effectively without having a breakdown.
Share some of the ways in which you destress in the comments section below!