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Ok so I know the reaction from most of the general public when a young person says they’re stressed is a look of total disbelief and some form of response along the lines of ‘what on earth do you have to be stressed about’, but it’s true. We stress. Whether we’re in school (exams), college (more exams), uni (even more exams and dissertations and trying to figure out money) or actually in work (shit I live on my own and I don’t understand VAT, what the hell is this bill, wait I’m sure I’ve paid that already, hang on, I have to be a responsible adult now?! etc) we all experience stress, and some of us react to it worse than others.
Me? When I’m stressed I usually snap at my loved ones, refuse to leave my bed without the promise of snacks and cuddles, and become an anxious and insecure wreck (and I have a boyfriend how exactly!?) – so I’ve come up with my top 10 tips to help de-stress when life just gets a little bit too much.
1. Sleep it off. Ok so this might not be exactly practical when working to deadlines or having to attend a job, but I’m a huge advocate of ‘sleep solves everything’ so as soon as you’re home from school/work/uni, get under that duvet and relax.
2. Distract yourself. Distraction techniques aren’t always appropriate – for example do not try them behind the wheel, that could end badly for you – but generally when I get hopelessly stressed, taking my mind off it for even 10 minutes helps to give my brain a breather. My favourite distraction methods are reading, scrolling through Twitter/Instagram (this is best for a 5 minute office break), watching TV or catching up with a friend.
3. Socialise. I know we all lead busy lives but sometimes rejigging your schedule to fit in even half an hour with a friend can be just the thing you need to refresh your brain and give yourself a breather.
4. Exercise. Now I don’t do this often enough since I stopped dancing but it’s something I’m determined to get back into now that I’m settled in London. I recently tried a yoga class for the first time and I left feeling like a different person. There are so many fantastic tutorials on YouTube that you don’t even need to spend any money to give it a go – have a look at Yoga with Adrienne for some inspiration.
5. Food. Girl, put down the avocado, what you need right now is chocolate and plenty of it. Sure it might not be healthy, but the rush of endorphins you get when you bite into a big chunk of Dairy Milk will go a long way to making you feel better, promise.
6. House work. OK I’m sure you’re probably thinking I’ve gone clinically insane here and I’m aware this trick probably won’t work for everyone but I find that tidying my room or scrubbing the bathroom really helps me get my head into a better space. I don’t know if it’s the whole ‘tidy house tidy mind’ concept, but knowing that everything has been put away in its proper place and everything is clean just makes me feel so calm.
7. Bath time. Light those candles, pour yourself a glass of wine (or a soft drink equivalent if you’re under 18, no underage drinking here you cheeky minxes) and have a soak. Your favourite bath products will help create the perfect environment for you to relax. Why not head to somewhere like Lush for something a little special to put in the bath too? So many of their products are geared to calm you through scent and colour.
8. Make a to-do list. Your jobs aren’t going to miraculously disappear but if you split them down into manageable chunks and spread them out over a couple of days (if possible) you’ll feel less like you’re drowning and more like you’re floating on the big door. #CasualTitanicReference
9. Music. Put on your favourite CD, dance around like a crazy person and sing at the top of your lungs. The burst of exercise will release endorphins that will make you feel happier, and who doesn’t like a good sing-a-long to get rid of their frustration.
10. Write about it. Everything feels better when you write it down, and sometimes seeing a problem in front of you can go a long way to finding the solution.
Remember, no matter how stressed you are there will be an end to it and you will see the other side. Don’t let it swamp you, keep your head up, keep smiling and remember girl you got this.
PS: I don’t normally do anything like this, and I’m not usually an advocate of asking for money but my beautiful Mum got diagnosed with a rare form of cancer two years ago, and this year she’s running the Manchester 10k to raise money in the hopes it will help fund research and find a cure.
It would mean the world to both me and her if she could reach her target of £150 or more, and every penny helps. If you’d like to donate, you can do so through Just Giving – click here
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