Coffee Talk: How I Deal With Stress

Coffee Talk: 5 Tips For Reducing Stress

The holiday season is always a little stressful, what with all the social obligations, shopping and end-of-year work to wrap up, which got me thinking about stress in general— and let me tell you, it sucks. Now don't get me wrong, a little stress here and there is totally normal, healthy even, but when said stress verges into panic-attack territory, something's got to give. It's just not as sexy as the mainstream makes it out to be (if one more person humble-brags to me about how "busy" they are, I just might break something), and it can do all kinds of nasty things to your body, so I thought I would share five simple things that work for me when I feel my blood pressure start to rise. Admittedly, these tips are more commonsensical than they are ground-breaking, but it's always good to remind yourself of them from time to time. Now let's all close our eyes and repeat after me— 'Ommmm.'

 5 Tips For Reducing Stress



1. BREATHE

If meditation is your thing, gold star! But if you can't quite wrap your head around the practice and find it intimidating (I'm not quite there yet myself), all you have to do is breathe. Stop whatever it is you're doing and focus on slowly inhaling and exhaling instead. Super simple but infinitely effective, I promise you. Most stress is caused by our mile-a-minute thoughts anyway, so shifting your focus away from that and just concentrating on your breathing can go a long way towards minimizing stress. I find that I'm able to see things a little more clearly after doing this, which ultimately helps me prioritize and see the bigger picture. So when in doubt, just breathe it out.

2. GET ACTIVE

Go for a run, have an impromptu dance party, clean the house— whatever body-moving activity works for you, just do it.

3. FOCUS ON WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY

Take some time doing something that makes you happy, every day. This isn't just good for reducing stress, but for making you a happier, more well-rounded person in general. Life's short man, do you.

4.  TALK IT OUT

Sometimes when I'm really stressed, I find it super helpful to just talk about it. Verbalizing all the things you have to do or all the reasons you're freaking out can feel cathartic, plus having a sounding board will hopefully help you to see that much of what's stressing you out just isn't that important. You're only one person after all, and you can't possibly do everything, so sometimes you just need a friend or family member to remind you of that. Listen to them. And if all else fails, go back to tip No.1 and breathe it out. You got this.

5. GET SOME SLEEP

Hello, captain obvious here— sleep is good for you. Next time someone proudly tells you that rest is overrated and that you'll sleep when you're dead, just punch them in the face; clearly they don't know what they're talking about. Sleep is key to your overall wellbeing, and a lack of it can contribute to poor cognition and decision-making, reduced productivity and even weight gain— just to name a few less-than-ideals. 

Now here's the real kick-in-the-pants: the more stressed you are, the less you're able to unwind and— joy of joys— actually get to sleep. Brutal, right? If you find you can't shut your brain off long enough to drift off, start by avoiding stimulants before bed and establishing a nighttime routine that you enjoy. Turn off all screens/devices an hour before sleepy time (aka- visual stimulants) and try reading a book or journalling instead. If that doesn't help, there are tons of natural remedies you can explore, and there's no shame in seeking professional help if things get really bad. Whatever it takes to help regulate your sleep and nip stress in the bud, do it. xx

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