I’m a sensitive person.
Small annoyances, nervousness, or even slight discomfort can easily awaken the anxiety monster within me, crouched and ready to wreak havoc. While I have immediate methods of de-stressing during panic attacks, I’ve learned to integrate some simpler calming rituals into my daily routine for life’s little everyday stressors.
Here are some general de-stressing tactics that I’ve come to rely on. Maybe they’ll help tame the anxiety monster within you too.
Eat right and exercise.
Like duh, right? It’s the clichéd doctor’s advice that no one wants to hear, but it’s cliché for a reason. Stress thrives in an unhealthy, uncared-for body. Exercising even a little every day relieves stress, releases endorphins, and promotes healthy habits. Eating right makes you feel good. Simple math.
You don’t have to embark on some life-changing Biggest Loser type health kick — huge decisions, even if for the greater good, are stressful in themselves. A simple walk around the park and fewer potato chips before bed should do the trick. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I know it works.
This is a big one for me, but may not be obvious to everyone. Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person, there are ways for everyone to engage that playful, imaginative part of their brain. Letting your mind engage unbridled in some activity feels like scratching an itch you didn’t know you had.
It’s an important source of relief, and can truly help with de-stressing. If you don’t like to draw or paint, maybe try cooking a new recipe, learn how to crochet a hat, or make some origami. Throw spaghetti at a wall for all I care, just make sure you’re having fun doing it!
Here’s some random article to back me up. See, I did my “research.”
Block out the noise!
Noise pollution is stressful, people. If you live in a big city, you have likely become used to a constant cacophony of sounds that stream into your living space. These auditory annoyances accost us day and night and can become a sneaky source of stress in our bodies.
If you live in a noisy area, perhaps invest in some good noise-canceling headphones or a white noise machine. Buy some noise-reducing curtains. Soundproof your doors with insulated strips. Pad your walls and windows… Staple your ears shut! Woah, sorry. Getting off track.
I find listening to some calming music or nature sounds helps as well. When in doubt, just buy some earplugs.
Find some green.
This can mean one of two things to you. If medical marijuana is not your thing, then go look at a tree. No, seriously. You don’t have to be a certified yogi to understand that nature truly does soothe the mind and body. Finding a green space may be harder said than done if you live in a city, but there are usually unexpected ways in which we can engage with nature in a concrete jungle.
Take a stroll through a community garden, find a local park or turn your apartment into a houseplant haven. Become a regular plant-stalker at a nearby nursery. Just make room for some green in your life.
P.S. Fake plants and nature scenes on screensavers don’t work.
I say this knowing full well that I am the utter embodiment of procrastination. I am literally procrastinating as I write this article. This entire post is more an existential self-reprimand than advice, but maybe you suffer from the same avoidance tendencies as I do.
Procrastination only makes the stress accumulate. I’ve found that I am least stressed about the difficult things in life when I face them head-on. Cannonball into the taxes without a thought. Dial the number to the doctor’s office before you can convince yourself otherwise. Do the damn thing and rejoice in the relief of checking it off your to-do list.
This article was originally published on Medium.com