Tips, Tricks & Tales from the SESA Beverage Lab
Stress is a part of life. We all invariably experience it from time to time. And at times especially this year it may be an uncomfortable ongoing part of life. To help us manage the stresses that we face we have compiled a list of our favorite, tested and true simple ways to combat stress in this two-part blog post.
The first part of our blog which we shared earlier this year as we shifted into the summer focused on reminders of regular habits to adjust to the new normal that we were all suddenly needing to adapt. All of those tips are still vital to our being well and managing stress. Here in part two we examine the second set of 8 tips for maintaining a healthy balance and moving through stress with more grace and ease.
Remember This is Temporary
Remind yourself that this too shall pass. Whatever is stressing you out right now will fade away in the future. Sometimes it seems like our feelings will never end, but feelings are inherently mutable and change all the time. It can be terrifying to think of the future, but remind yourself that even though it is scary and hard, this is a season and will pass.
Pay Attention to the Good
Remember that there is so much good in the world and seek it out. Notice the helpers. The news can often be scary, negative and overwhelming, but there are good people doing good work. There are lots of stories of people donating, sacrificing, and supporting one another -- seek out those stories. Remind yourself that it is not all doom and gloom. There are many people on the frontlines doing good, honest work and fighting for you.
Control What You Can
That being said, when everything seems out of control, find something you can control and control it with zest. Control your little corner of the world. This is especially in moments of collective anxiety, uncertainty and overwhelm. Start with small things to control your environment like cleaning the counter or desk or go bigger into organizing your bookshelf, closet or refrigerator.. These little actions that help us exert control over our circumstances help to anchor and ground us when the world is chaotic and we are experiencing stress.
Limit + Focus Social Media
We all enjoy seeing what our friends, family and celebrities are up to via social media, but too much exposure can leave us feeling defeated and deflated. After all, people only post edited versions of their lives and this can lead to feelings of inferiority. Moreover, when we’re stressed, we might focus on sensationalized information and news that can be negatively skewed and alarmist. Instead of gobbling up social media content, find a few trusted resources to check consistently and set a time limit for how much you consume.
Start a Project
To help with the time you now have away from the screen it's time to consider what project you can take up. Have you ever wanted to organize something at home that's always put on hold or make something for a loved on or perhaps simply read a book or work on a puzzle? Now is the time to do it.
Find something that will keep you distracted from the online world and engaged to take breaks from what is going on in the outside world. Find an expressive art that you want to try. We connect with creative arts as a way of emotional expression, so doing something artistic can be a great way to release your stress and process your feelings. Projects that include repetitive movements, especially left-right movements, can be soothing and help maintain physical and emotional regulation during a stressful time. Some examples of repetitive hobbies include knitting, coloring, painting, jumping rope, running, drumming or even walking.
Find ways to give back to your neighbors, family, friends or community, be they big or small they all make a difference. Support local businesses and organizations instead of the usual routine purchases you make. Consider checking in with elderly in your neighborhood or immuno-compromised neighbors and friends. If you have more time maybe take a little time to volunteer or donate to causes you care about. Helping other people also shifts our focus to good and gives us a sense of agency or sense of control of our actions and thus ourselves which is especially helpful when everything else seems out of control.
Look for the light moments, the humor, in each day. You have a lot to be worried about, that’s normal, but try to counterbalance the heaviness with something funny each day. Be it silly memes, cat videos or stand up comedy - we all need a little comic relief to get through our days, especially when we are stressed out.
Find the Lesson
Look for the lesson in the darkness. One key way of helping people heal from trauma is to help someone find their agency, the positive outcomes they can effect, and the meaning and constructive action that can come from the destruction. Ask yourself, “what can I learn from this in big and small ways?” Ask, “What needs to change in myself, my home or my community?” Reflect on these questions and also remind yourself that even small things are still lessons. When you have an answer then you are one step closer to making the steps to learn more about them. Then it’s time to start doing the work and practice from your lessons.
A Final Note on Stress
Sometimes stress gets to be too much. If you are feeling overwhelmed, clinically depressed or have any thoughts of harming yourself or others, please reach out for help immediately. There is no shame in seeking or needing assistance and there are folks available 24/7 to talk. If you are having trouble call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or to get connected with a crisis text line, text NAMI or HOME to 741741 and look at the NAMI website for further resources on mental health.
Take care of yourself - remember you are important and relieving stress is a much needed process to be well.