âIâve always been told that a happy life is a balanced life, meaning that giving the proper time to family, work, hobbies, and self is imperative if you want a life worth living.
For me, though, that was much easier said than done. After graduating college, I drenched myself in cynicism. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I became a rather negative person. This, of course, resulted in several people in my life telling me to âjust be positive.â
My response was always the same: âThe situation isnât positive, so Iâm not going to force myself to make it positive.â
âI was filling myself with anxiety and, as a result, stress over situations that didnât even exist. But after I visited the ER for what I thought was something serious only to find out it was nothing, I began to change my tune.
I was feeling anxious, for sure, but also sick. I felt like I had no energy, and my arm was hurting. I was freaking out. All my life, Iâve been told that I am high risk for things because Iâm fat. Heart attacks, strokes, etc. Plus, my mom has a stroke history. So, it scared me enough to make me go to the ER, despite an âall clearâ from an urgent care facility.
âIt was then that I decided that I needed to find the balance. I needed to be positive about the things I didnât have enough information about. I needed to work on my work-life balance and leaving the stress of the job in the office instead of taking it home with me. I needed to stop worrying so much about offending people when I disagreed with them and just say what I wanted to say kindly and professionally. I had to realize that not everyone will like me, and I shouldnât let someoneâs dislike of me control my life and cause me stress.
TIPS FOR MANAGING STRESS
1. GET INVOLVED: I know that might sound counter-intuitive, but getting involved in a hobby or organization that brings you joy or purpose can really help ease everyday stress.
2. WRITE IT/SAY IT: I got into the habit of taking videos of myself venting, or writing out what makes me stressed or angry. This really helped me think through my stress and realize where my mind was taking me.
3. LEARN TO TURN OFF: If you have a job and you didn't agree to be available 24/7, unplug from that job after the work day. Leave the stress of your job at your desk and enjoy your time off.
4. DON'T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS: This one is hard for me and something I still struggle with. It is easy for someone like me to get a headache and immediately think I have something really wrong with me. If something is worrying you, go to the doctor or think up more reasonable reasons why you feel sick. If it is still worrying you, go get checked out. If you're unsure of something someone said, ask them about it. Don't make up scenarios in your head and add stress unnecessarily.
5. DO SOMETHING FOR YOU: We each spend a lot of our time doing things for other people. Working extra hard at our job, taking care of children or pets, serving in organizations. But we sometimes don't do anything for ourselves. No matter if it is deciding to get a mani/pedi every two weeks, buy yourself a new outfit, or hire a babysitter so you can get out of the house. Do it. Give yourself time to decompress and get away from your stressors.