I have been feeling a little tired lately. The momentum to write has been temporarily replaced by the distraction of setting up home and repairing/ fixing problems in my new place. Putting a home together can be enjoyable, for sure. But having to do it over and over again is another thing. It can take a toll on your body. And this in turn affects the mind.
The thing is that, in life sometimes, you don’t get to choose when or even how you want to do something. Things happen and whether we feel up to doing a task or not, it needs to get done. And it takes time to get to a place where we’re satisfied with the outcome of a project or a task.
And the reality is that this is what ‘adulting’ is all about. ‘Adulting’ is about taking a set of circumstances, no matter what it looks like and working with what you have.
So, you might be stressed out. So you might feel overwhelmed, sad or disappointed. And this is perfectly normal. But, how you process the stress and emerge from the situation or scenario or circumstance is what makes your life better. Don’t get me wrong. We should never suppress how we feel and there are healthy ways to do it.
Ways to Reduce the Effects of Stress
But, in addition, there are simple things we can do for ourselves to make life easier and more controllable. This latter point is what I am going to be talking about in this article. Much of this advice assumes an “8-5” desk job scenario, given my career background. Here are some ways I suggest to deal with the effects of stress:
1. Pick one ritual to start your day
Some people are avid runners or gym-goers. Others are meditation-types. Some choose prayer-time. And some people prefer making a cup of coffee and sipping it before their day begins. The point is that it does not matter what the activity is. It has to be something that allows you to be completely and utterly in the moment. So you aren’t shocked from sleep into instant activity mode. It may require you to get out of bed a little earlier. But it is something that you personally look forward to as it becomes part of your daily routine. And so it prepares you well for the day.
2. Schedule time for non-urgent, stressful, time-consuming activities
I don’t know about you, but certain activities stress me out a lot more than others. My list consists of answering emails, returning phone calls and paying bills. The reason why I dislike these tasks is that they are very time-consuming, stressful and drain me of energy. You might find other things stressful. So, if you’re anything like me, leave truly non-urgent stuff to the later part of the day when your energy is waning. However, if you are a night-owl type, start the day with those tasks as your energy probably shows up later in the day. Take note that these tasks have to be truly non-urgent and not everything you dislike doing.
3. Establish blocks of time during the workday to take a break
Every work environment, whether at home or in a physical office, is different so where you can go and what you can do varies. The key is to take a short break and return feeling less drained. Lunchtime has been tricky for me because I had young children from early on in my career, so the key was to complete my workday as soon as possible to spend a little time with them. This goal became harder as a single parent. But, even 10 minutes away from the desk. is a chance to take a deep breath and clear your head. I must confess that I have eaten way too many lunches while working at my desk.
4. You are what you eat
I am a food lover. I love trying and consuming wide varieties of food and cuisines. I have never done well with diets. So, here, I can only recommend middle of the road suggestions or what has worked for me.
I rarely consume alcohol. My greatest addictions are chocolate and at least one cup of coffee a day.
My advice to you is to listen to your body. You know when your diet gives you energy and keeps you satisfied. In addition, there are certain nutrients that are contained in specific categories of food. For example, I am anemic and so, I have to have some meat in the week. Recently, I have been focusing on a variety of foods. I also explore canned and frozen options because I have a budget to keep to. Research which foods retain their nutrients when preserved and after awhile, shopping for food will become much easier. Variety is truly the spice of life.
5. Get enough sleep
This activity is the most under-rated one in modern times. People have taken to over-glamorizing staying awake all night. Also popular is sleeping a few hours and then waking up at 3 a.m. Yet, we now know that getting very little sleep, prevents the body and the brain from being ‘cleansed’, in layman’s words, for the next day. To my understanding, ‘waste’ that should be removed during sleep, starts to accumulate in the system when we deprive ourselves of sleep. If the situation is not rectified in a reasonable amount of time, this very neglect may cause long-term health problems.
Ultimately, I do believe that our bodies and minds reap what we and our surroundings, sow. There is no ‘cheat sheet’ to body wellness. Stress is a real presence in the modern world. We need to counter the effects of stress with a combination of smart, deliberate and meaningful measures. We need to do this for our loved ones. We need to do this for ourselves.