Stress is something that is always there. At least for me. I was never stressed growing up. It wasn't until college that I started to feel the first signs of stress. During my first two years of college, I was taking 6 classes each semester, I was part of the cheerleading team, I joined the national dance team of Puerto Rico, and I also had a part-time job at a shoe store. Being the perfectionist that I am, I always wanted to excel on every part of my life. I remember people telling me that I needed to slow down because this could harm my body. I never paid attention to it because I enjoyed being busy doing the things I love. It wasn't until the end of my sophomore year that my body said enough. I ended up having to take a two-week break from everything. I had to be home doing nothing, literally nothing. My doctor told me that I just needed to lay in bed and rest. That was a wake-up call because I pushed my body to the max and therefore, I had to rest for two long weeks.
As a grown up, I still get stressed but thankfully, I haven't had a bad case like I did in college. It's obvious that being a creative entrepreneur can stress you out. There is a lot of competition out there, self-doubt, endless to-do lists, not enough hours during the day, and the list goes on. Every time I time I'm starting to feel stressed, I say to myself that I need to calm down. Also, I try to do the things I mention below to manage stress.
HOW TO MANAGE STRESS
1 | BREATHE
The first thing I do after recognizing that I'm stressed is breathe. I stop what I'm doing and take a couple of minutes to breathe and not think about the situation I'm having. When you breathe deeply, you are telling your brain to calm down without even noticing it.
2 | SLOW DOWN AND TAKE BREAKS
One of the things I've learned after what happened to me in college is to accept that I'm stressed and slow down. Slowing down and taking breaks is essential to a happier life. I've found that when I have a creative block, I just need to leave my desk and take a break. I usually go for a walk if I'm at the office, or if I'm at home, I take a nap. You don't understand how much this helps. After a 15-20 minute break/nap, I always feel refreshed and have mental clarity. Most of the time, I'm able to figure out and fix the situation I was facing before my break.
3 | WRITE IT DOWN
As you all know, I love pen and paper. Putting my thoughts together on pen and paper helps me to see clarity on the situation I'm having. Sometimes I just write without thinking about grammar or punctuation. I just write to let everything out of my system. Sometimes I don't even read what I just wrote because I don't want to be reminded of what happened, but because I'm busy writing, I tend to get calm.
4 | EXERCISE
Running is something that I've learned to love because of how I feel after it. I started running again almost three years ago and I can see the difference. When you run, you release endorphins which are the chemicals in your body that triggers positive feelings. I've found that running in the morning puts me in a good mood, I feel relaxed and ready for the day ahead. Now, if I don't run, I get stressed because my body got used to it and it's something I NEED TO DO.
5 | EAT HEALTHY
I put this last because this is something I'm still working on. It's hard for me to eat healthy because I like carbs and sweets, but I know that certain foods can trigger stress. When I start to feel stressed, I tried to avoid coffee. I'm not much of a drinker, but I know alcohol can increase your stress level. Other foods like refined sugar and salty foods are bad when you are trying to manage stress. I know this because I was an emotional eater. I thought this type of foods would make me feel better, but in the end, they did more harm to my body. Improving the way I eat is a process, and I try to incorporate healthy foods once in a while so it can help to manage stress.
These are things that I've learned to do to manage stress. What can you add to the list that has helped you control your stress? Tell me below!