Stress is something we all have to deal with. For me, anxiety/panic attacks were a common thread beginning in my adolescence and spilling in to my early adult-hood. Stress affects me in a very physical way, where I’ll feel nausea, ill, headaches, chronic pain etc. It’s not something I really talk about on-line, but I’ve found that bringing something to light can really help others struggling with the same issue. I know others sharing their story with me has blessed and helped me. When stress affects your physical health, it can be overwhelming, scary and down right depressing. Over the years I’ve found ways to manage my nerves/anxiousness (it took me a while, and all by the grace of God and His healing), so I thought if this could even help one person, then it would be worth to post it! I don’t get too personal on my blog/social, but I feel like we live in a world now where anxiety is so prevalent. I feel safe with my readers/”followers” (I like to refer to you as more of my friends, rather than followers) and you all have been so good to me. So let’s dive in and squash the stress…
(1) Keep a gratitude journal.
When we’re stressed we tend to obsess, over analyze and focus on what’s wrong. Life is hard sometimes, can we admit that? But, there is still so much to be grateful for. I learned the power of writing down gratitude from this amazing book (1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp), and how healing it really is. It shifts your focus from the problem, and puts things into perspective that no matter how hard life gets, there is beauty in everyday. Life isn’t happening to us, it’s happening for us (Thank You Tony Robbins). I’m thankful that so many situations that were difficult to go through were also a chance for me to grow in my faith and build on my character. Bless the broken road, it gives us more compassion for others. I keep this journal beside my bed and before I go to sleep I write down ten things I’m grateful for. I always feel calm and peaceful after doing this.
(2) Essential Oils
I love my Saje nebulizers (if you follow me on Snapchat you know this!). Essential oils are great for relaxing, and I’ll diffuse blends that are more calming if I’ve had a tough day. It’s part of my unwind routine. Saje even has a blend called “stress release” filled with tension reducing ingredients like lavender and chamomile.
(3) Positive Podcasts
I live for podcasts! I love plugging into this while I’m working, taking a break to go for a walk, or getting my nails done and just need something good to listen to. Joyce Meyer is my favourite (her books, programs etc.)! She really gives it to you straight (she doesn’t sugar coat, and I love that) and always leaves me with a positive message. She takes a biblical approach to really sharing the message of God, but focusing on real-life problems we need perspective on (everything from relationships, stress, fear etc.). I’d really recommend looking into podcasts that can help shed some light. We can’t do life on our own, and while advice from friends and family is helpful, I always try to seek God first. Whenever I think I can solve something on my own or I rush to call someone about a problem, it never quite gives me peace. When I pray and seek His will before anything, He works out everything and has my best.
(4) Reassess your diet & health
Being malnourished or not giving your body the right nutrition is a huge factor in how you’ll feel in your everyday life. If you’re not feeding your body the right nutrients, you’ll often feel tired, lousy, unhappy etc. When I first started my business I was working like a mad woman. Endless hours, not eating at the right times, staying up late to work etc. This took a major toll on my health and I got burnout. It was a scary time, and it really taught me to set alarms to take breaks, make food on a timely basis, and not put my health on the back burner. Staying physical is also really important for our minds to be strong and healthy. I’m not a gym junkie, but I do love walks, so I try to do that everyday! There is so much evidence and science linking our diet/physical activity to the state of our mental health and it’s important to fuel our body with goodness and not garbage. We kind of have to go back to being toddlers: we need time to run outside and play, we need naps, we need breaks and snacks. I think a lot of us forget this as we enter adulthood and think we need to fill our schedules until we burn out. Wrong.
(5) Do something for others
We can get so wrapped up in our own problems, we don’t realize that others have it so much worse. I’m not saying that to minimize what you’re going through, but I have found waking up and not focusing on my own issues and rather helping someone else can be extremely healing. I feel so much better when I help someone out, it really makes me happy making someone else happy. Buy someone flowers, hold the door for a stranger, pay for a coffee for the person behind you in the Starbucks line or volunteer. It’s a healthy distraction that will bring you peace and others happiness.
(6) Natural Supplements
I see a naturopath and I’m a huge vitamin advocate. I take probiotics, iron, oil of oregano, Omega 3, Vitamin C and a multi-B vitamin everyday to maintain my health. When I was going through a really rough time, my doctor told me about Holy Basil vitamins (you can get them at any health food store, but consult your doctor first). When I had really bad anxiety, I would take these as needed. I’m thankful I haven’t had to in a very long time, but they are all-natural and just provide relaxation, which I love. Rescue Remedy is another fave of mine, it’s just a tincture you put under your tongue and it dissolves. I take this with me when I travel because I get anxious on flights, so this just helps me to stay calm (another natural remedy).
One of the ways I de-stress is worship music. Focusing on praising God, even in the midst of chaos is what has helped me above all the tips I’ve provided. He has healed me in so many ways and music that glorifies Him takes the focus off myself and my issues. Here are a few of my favourite songs…
Hillsong United – Say the Word // Lauren Daigle – Trust In You // Amanda Cook – Heroes // Hillsong United – Even When It Hurts (Praise Song) // Hillsong Worship – Thank You Jesus // Hillsong United – Prince of Peace // Hillsong United – Closer Than You Know // Ever Be – Bethel Music
Sometimes we don’t even realize how our surroundings affect our mind. Mess can give me anxiety. When I’m organized and everything has a place, I naturally feel more calm. I don’t hold material things too precious to my heart, even though my world is filled with clothes and beauty products, I donate and give away a ton of it! I recommend doing a purge every month to de-clutter, it does wonders for your mind. I recently got a PAX wardrobe from IKEA for my “cloffice” and I love that everything has a place! It makes me happy.
A great read on this: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
(9) Pour yourself some tea
I love tea. I don’t drink coffee (the occasional latte or iced coffee here and there), but tea is my jam. Coffee can actually give people who are naturally more anxious more stress, and accelerates their heart rate (which is probably why I’ve stayed away). Tulsi is another word for Holy Basil (which is the same herb I mentioned above), and they have Tulsi/Holy Basil tea! It’s a natural stress reliever. A hot cup of tea is also just so comforting when you’re stressed out.
Don’t take life so serious. Even when it is, find a way to laugh. Call up your friend who makes you smile, watch a funny show (I revert to The Office, haha!) or a few YouTube clips of Jimmy Fallon / Jimmy Kimmel can always make me crack. You don’t have to let your stress take over your mood. You can’t choose what happens to you in life, but you can choose how you’ll react. Choose happy!
Lastly, as I mentioned, my faith has been a huge help when it comes to how I handle stress. God gives us people, food, tea, music etc. but He is the ultimate healer and when you seek Him first, lift your worries up, blessings just come pouring down. I promise you this. These are the scriptures I meditate on…
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Sending you love & peace. XOXO