As graduation grows closer, my impatience has began to rage [a bit] more than it has over the past few years. A few weeks into college, I began to crave graduation. I quickly became unhappy and just needed to be finished with school. Reality is slowly making me rethink my decisions, actions, and thoughts over the past few years. It’s sad to think that I spent so much of my college experience, so grumpy over the fact the I just wanted to do other things and be other places. Now that my college time is soon to end, I have found a new light. Maybe I’m feeling bitter sweet, or maybe I have found a new way to recognize being happy in the moment. Not stressing over the future, or the past, just doing the best I can, with what I have in that moment of time. Dealing with the anxiety of passing difficult tests, working in multiple groups at a time, wanting to blog when I need to do homework and the many other stressful aspects of college, is not fun or enjoyable.
I wanted to share a few ways that I have, and will be beginning, to take time for myself and really appreciate what I am and not what I’m not. I hope that this post will help both myself, and you, to really rethink how we view ourselves and help to not criticize ourselves, and rather love the person we are more daily. If you are at a stressful point in your life, where you may feel unvalued or that you are never living up to your own expectations, just remember that you are more than good enough just the way you are! God created each of us to be unique, beautiful and able to overcome challenges that we face here on earth. I want to be proud of myself, get a hold on my weekly schedule [and to-do list] that causes me more anxiety than doing the actual tasks themselves, and care for my body and it’s needs. Jay brought up such an amazing point to me the other day. He was like “It’s so crazy how we take such good care of our cars, and other material items, while feeding our body so much junk!” I couldn’t agree more. I won’t lay my handbag on the ground while we are out to dinner, but I’ll fill my body up with endless amounts of french fries and cheeseburgers [everything in moderation!]
My point here is not to shame bad eating, or feel that we can’t do whatever we want, whenever we want, but I want to care more for myself than what I have in the past. Whether it’s keep my anxiety levels lower, eating better, or just loving myself all the time [even if I failed an exam and then spent the afternoon eating a few more scoops of Ben and Jerry’s than recommended!] So today I wanted to share a few of my goals, and tips, for how to love yourself amidst a stressful life season.
Dealing With The Stress
Address Your Stress and Come Up With a Solution
Sometimes identify our problem is the hardest. Rather than dealing with things we push them aside and then end up walking around grumpy all day because of the million things on our mind. Identify your stressor, address it and come up with a solution. Maybe you need to make a list of the things that are stressing you at the moment. What are they? How can you make them less stressful? Break them into smaller chunks, assign a time to deal with them, prioritize them? Whatever your solution is, determining what is stressing you out and dealing with it as soon as you can will immediately set you up for a better outcome. Maybe what you are stressing about doesn’t even apply to you, or after looking deeper you realize the task isn’t quite as challenging as you remembered!
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize and Stop Procrastinating
One thing I always seem to struggle with is prioritizing my to-do list. Taking time to think about due dates, and tasks that must be completed before others, is a necessary step in handling my stress. Sometimes, I struggle with focusing in on what is the most important and tend to procrastinate, and put things off until later. I have a tendency to take up a new hobby or work on something for my blog, that can wait, smack during the middle of finals week. Call it avoidant, procrastinating, whatever you want to call it, but don’t call it effective! This is wearing addressing my stress and coming up with a solution helps. My goal for the remainder of the semester, and year, is to take a moment to prioritize my to-do list and keep my mind focused on the most important task of the moment.
Write it Down
Writing notes, to-do lists, keeping a calendar and any other ways of jotting down my thoughts has proven to be extremely successful in helping me to stay on top of all of my tasks. One of my main sources of stress is school, and handling all of the things that require my attention throughout the week [I get overwhelmed incredible easy if you can’t tell?!] lol. However, if I make a to-do list everyday with tangible, and achievable goals/assignments, I am able to work through them efficiently and not feel as overwhelmed. I would like to begin making my to-do lists every night before I go to bed. I think this would help with feeling so stressed at night, and not being able to sleep!
Breaking Tasks Down Into Smaller Portions
I will definitely admit that most of the time it isn’t the task itself that overwhelms me. It’s fitting each thing into my schedule, or just worrying about doing it in general, that creates anxiety in my life. If I would first break my tasks down into smaller portions, and being working on them sooner, I would be able to schedule them in and not feel overwhelmed with have two tests and a project due in one day! That goes back to not procrastinating!
Make a Schedule
This is reminder is one that I think I enjoy, but ends up making me pull my hair out. I love, love, love, agendas and planners. I recently [as in September of 2015] got a new planner and haven’t seemed how to figure out the best way to use it yet. I don’t feel that I am putting it to it’s best use, and I am falling behind and missing dates because I have not planned out my schedule correctly. I am thinking I might need to go to a digital calendar soon, maybe a Google Calendar. What are your thoughts? Do you use a Google Calendar? I think I am the only one at school that doesn’t use it!
All of these are things I can/do to help manage my stress. But dealing with stress doesn’t stop by just managing the stressor. Yes, that is a huge part of it, but it doesn’t stop there. Taking care of ourselves, personally, during that time is a huge aspect of being successful and handing stressful life seasons. However, there are so many things we can do to take care of ourselves, and try to recuperate from those difficult times.
Loving Yourself Amidst the Stressful Life Season
Prayer and Meditation
Ione thing I hav been working on for the past several months is prayer. There is so much power in prayer, and I believe that God here’s every single prayer, whether it’s a formal thought out prayer or just something that passes through our minds and to him briefly. I pray about everything, and want to continue praying more and more. If you are reading this right now, I am praying that you will restore yourself and fight of your stressful life season with these tips!
Mediation is an additional way to use prayer, or to just meditate. Sometimes we just need time alone, with our thoughts [that can be a scary thought, sometimes I would rather do anything other than dealing with the mental lists and craziness inside my head!] This can be so effective! I had a friend recommend to me last week to meditate, because I was feeling overwhelmed by exams. It’s crazy how just a few minutes alone, in silence, can really help to center us and give fresh perspective of your life at the time! It also gives you a few additional minutes to have some prayer time, which is something I promise you won’t regret!
Make a Daily List of 3 Things You Did Well/ 3 Successes
A current goal of mine, that I am tying in with making my to-do list at night, is to write down 3 things that I did well that day. I think a lot of times we forget so many of our small, and larges, successes and completely surround ourselves with our failures. Studies show that reinforce the good things we do, and the positive things in our life, will help us to live a happier life. Maybe your stress is saying you down and you don’t feel that you do anything right [I was having these day WAY TOO OFTEN!] 1. That is NOT TRUE. You are so amazing just the way you are! Everyone struggle sixth somethings, that is completely normal! But, you are so good at so many more things than what you may struggle with. 2. Take 2 or 3 minutes a briefly jot down 3 things you did well. It could be anything, from letting someone in front of you in traffic, to get an A, B, C, or D on your exam! I’m not saying that we want to strive for D’s, but passing is always better than failing! So in a way it’s a good thing! Even failure can be good. But, I will save that rant for another day [if you are interested?]!
Take Time to Pamper Yourself
Lately, I have been trying to use a face mask, or scrub once a week. It’s amazing how wonderful your skin feels after and it doesn’t even take too much additional time. I love to take a hot bath or shower before bed time. I just sleep so much better! If your like me and have tons of school reading to do, that is weighing on your mind, but you are feeling tired. Throw on your favorite face mask, hop in a hot bath, and read your textbook there! That way, you are getting done what you need one, while still taking a few minutes to partially unwind. I love reading in the bath! It’s like ultimate relaxation to me! Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your tub to help take your relaxation to the next level.
Have a Cup of Hot Tea or Hot Lemon Water
Often times, we underestimate the power of sitting down with a cup of hot tea and just staring our the window for a few minutes. It doesn’t have to be hours, maybe you only have 10, or 20, minutes. This goes along with the meditation. Just take a few minutes of your time to make a glass of hot tea, or hot lemon water, and just look out the window. I might sound a little off, but I LOVE looking out the window. Watching little birds, the breeze, and just everything on this beautiful earth that we often take for granted! If it’s warm enough, and you are able, go sit outside!
Take a Walk
Lastly, taking a walk is something I should do more often and love to do! There is something so therapeutic about getting out into nature! I just love it. Maybe you are overwhelmed at work. Grab your sandwich on your lunch break and head outside. just take one lap around the block, or walk around your floor, just a little bit of exercise can help to clear our mind and give us a few positive thoughts for the day!
Whatever is causing stress in your life right now, will soon pass. I didn’t believe it for so long, and still today I feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of studying for my psych exam tomorrow! I am so close to graduation, but in some ways still so far away! Over the past few years, I feel like I have lost myself and become this grumpy girl that has allowed her current season to make her carry around his rain cloud. I am trying daily to be happier, and to feel better. I promise you, you can too! There are so many things we can be thankful for! You are reading this right? That means you woke up this morning, right that as #1 on your list tonight! I am trying to be thankful for each and every blessing that I encounter everyday, that I easily overlook on a daily basis. Our circumstance do not define us and we shouldn’t allow them to bring us happiness or take it away from us. Rather, we should be happy and proud of who we are and what we do. Give someone you love a hug. Maybe you had a disagreement with them. Forgive them. It will make YOU feel better and more free!
I hope that you have found this post helpful and inspiring! We are all a work in progress and will continue to fail in life. That is normal. We can’t let that failure stop us or define us, because we are so much more than that failure or that afternoon grumpy attitude, lol! I hope you have a great Monday and a great week!!
Also, I am on SNAPCHAT!!!! You can follow me at “timelesstaste” I would love for you to tweet me your 3 positive things that you did today or your tips for overcoming stress and loving yourself!