I was planning on writing a post about stress and how to destress at some point, but honestly it could not come at a more appropriate time than now – I’ve had a killer couple of days!
I can solidly confirm that bad things do not stop at three! It’s no secret that stress is bad for you – we know that it causes all sorts of mental and physical complications. But when you have a mental illness, stress can be the difference between functioning and relapse. It’s so important to be aware of your limits and ways to cope with different stressors in order to stay well.
I have developed lots of different ways to manage when things start to get on top of me. Creativity is probably the biggest one for me – I like to colour, cross stitch, sew, bake, all sorts of different things! I have a box full of different activities; it’s a great outlet for me and having so many different things in one place makes it easy to find something relaxing.
Another thing I find really helpful is exercise. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with exercise. At times, when struggling with an eating disorder, I’ve not always used exercise in a healthy way and I’ve worked out to the point of obsession. Alternatively, when my depression has been at it’s worst, I can barely move from my bed let alone do any activity. At the moment, I have struck a good balance. I try to go to the gym 3-4 days a week; I can’t say I always enjoy it necessarily, and sometimes I do have to force myself to go, but I always feel better afterwards. It’s one of the only things I can guarantee will lift my mood.
Sometimes a bit of self-care goes a long way too, especially when you aren’t feeling so good about yourself. Having a nice bath and painting my nails makes me feel instantly relaxed, and it has the added benefit of making me feel good about myself.
Finally, sometimes there’s just nothing you can do to feel better at that time, and that’s just the way it is. When that happens, my answer is sleep. I don’t advocate avoidance through sleeping, but sometimes you just need to write the day off, call it a night and start over again.
Unfortunately, I’ve tried a few different things over the last couple of days but more stress keeps piling up!
So for me, I’m going to have a glass of wine, go to bed, and hope that tomorrow everything starts to feel a little bit better.