Eat. Stress. Sleep. Repeat.
That seems like the routine many of us fall into these days. Sometimes stress can be good, like giving you that push to complete a task, but sometimes it can be so consuming that depression and anxiety begin to creep up on you. I've spent years in the endless cycle of letting stress consume me, and here's a list of what I do to relax myself:
- Force Yourself to Sit Down and Be Productive
Most times, stress can be the result of loose ends left unresolved. Finish that homework, write that essay, and send those emails. You'll be glad you did when they're done.
- Treat Yo Self
If there's one thing that you can take away from Aziz Ansari's character on 'Parks and Rec,' it's his motto to 'Treat Yo Self' - a practice I think that we should all adopt into our lives. Every once in a while, splurge on an item you've wanted to purchase for forever, or spend the day at the spa. Never forget: You are a QUEEN. You can't thrive if you don't treat yourself like one.
- Read a Book
Sometimes, stress is unavoidable. One of the best ways, I've found, is to get lost in a book. I like to re-read my favorites or pick up a good fantasy or romance novel that'll have me glued to the pages (you know the kind!). There's nothing better than getting your mind off the topic you've been stressing about for weeks, even if it is only for a few minutes or hours. A few of my favorites are: 1984, To Kill A Mockingbird, and The Crown Games.
While on the topic of 'losing yourself,' exercise is another one of the best ways to forget those feelings of stress. Not only does your focus get placed somewhere else (your burning quads), but the endorphins, a hormone that your body releases when you work out, will help you feel better. Add in the fact that you're probably contributing to your New Year's resolution (remember that 'I'll go to the gym everyday' pledge you made way back in January that lasted a whole three days?), exercise is one of the best ways to de-stress.
- Align your Circadian Rhythm
A big factor that contributes to your stress and energy levels is the amount of sleep, and quality of sleep, that you get per night. Your sleep schedule should be fairly similar night-to-night. Taking one night to play 'catch up' isn't going to help you in the long run (trust me). Set a bed time and wake-up time and follow your schedule. You'll see improvements in your mood, stress levels, and energy quickly!
- Eat Healthy
By far one of my favorite things to do when I'm feeling stressed is to eat a plant-based diet. Eating healthy makes me feel more 'refreshed' and helps my body feel less sluggish under all the stress. Always make sure that your taking optimal care of your body - make sure no harsh chemicals are going into your system. I like to take a shopping spree at my local Whole Foods and get some fresh, organic products to eat for the next few days. Try some of my favorite dishes: Acai bowls, vanilla protein shake smoothies, fresh fruit, and anything with avocados (avocado toast, especially!).
- Think Happy Thoughts
Stress can often lead to a lot of negativity. Look through positive quotes on Pinterest, create an inspo board, or just give out lots of compliments during the day. Put that happy energy out into the universe, and it'll make you happier too.
- Have a Night of Relaxation
Sign off of all social media (and turn off devices). Light candles. Take a warm bath. Read a book. Cuddle with blankets in bed. Watch Netflix. Use a face mask. Remember what I said before? You're a queen, so treat yourself like one. Sometimes, it's good to just drop everything you're doing and give yourself a night to just calm down. Sure, tomorrow you'll have a little bit more work, but you have to remember that your well-being and mental health should always come first.
If you feel like your stress never goes away, even when you don't have anything worthy of stressing you out, talk to a doctor about how you're feeling. It took myself years to figure out that you're not supposed to feel stressed out 24/7. So, if this sounds like you, don't be afraid. Mention it to someone, and I promise it'll be a better ride from there.
I hope these tips can help you de-stress and relax. If you ever need help, are feeling too stressed out, or just need someone to talk to, don't be afraid to approach your friends or family or counselor. Don't let stress control your life - you take the wheel and decide how you want to feel. Remember: stress is temporary and you can overcome it.
You've got this, Queen.