Healthy Ways To Handle Stress

Ohhh stress…  We all know the frustrating feelings of stress and anxiety in our daily life.  Yet somehow we find a way to handle a busy class schedule, a demanding boss, financial strains, or long hard work hours.  Family problems, unrealistic expectations, health concerns, personality conflicts.  Although tough, we somehow get used to these things, they become ‘routine.’  We struggle through and make it work.  But THEN, just when we think we’ve finally got it handled, something unexpected comes our way and life gets even MORE stressful!   Meanwhile, the normal routine of healthy, balanced living that we’ve worked so hard to establish and maintain… It gets shaken… Totally unbalanced all over again.

These past few weeks have been stressful… to say the least. Between an already busy class schedule and some various unexpected ‘life’ events, I found myself in a weary, flustered and frazzled state.

The thing about stressful situations is that they’re really just part of life!  When things don’t go our way, we can’t stop everything and wallow in self-pity, even though, lets be real- sometimes that’s exactly what we WANT to do!  And we can’t give up and ‘throw in the towel!’  While we may not always be able to control the situation at hand, we CAN control our response to it.  Here are my tops 5 tips to deal with seriously stressful situations!

  1. Pray.  Philippians 4:6 reminds me, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Sometimes there’s nothing that we can really do to change or ‘fix’ a stressful situation, but that doesn’t mean God leaves us alone in our stressed state.  NOT at all!  We are reminded to humbly come before Him with ALL our requests… knowing that HIS plan is better than ours!  Often we feel that we cannot handle our current circumstances.  “Let go and let God!”  HE can handle anything… Actually, Everything!
  2. Walk.  This is my BIGGEST way to handle stress.  I walk ALL the time!  I’m no ‘gym rat,’ but I sure do love walking out in nature and enjoying the fresh air.  For me, walking is therapeutic.  It’s a way for me to calm my racing mind and simply clear my head.  On my campus we have a beautiful pond that I love to walk around.  Even as the temperature dips steadily southward, I’m always out there walking!  I bundle up in a cozy jacket, fuzzy hat and a warm scarf and grab my mason jar full of hot peppermint tea with a splash of creamy almond milk!  The PERFECT way to de-stress!!
  3. “Keep Calm and Call Mom”…I saw this on a mug the other day and I realized it pretty much refers to me!  I call my mum everyday to chat, but especially when I’m feeling particularly stressed.  She’s always quick to calm me down.  The same goes for friends.  I’ll call some of my best friends just to chat.  It’s nice to know that they’re always there to listen when times get tough!  Grab your phone, go for a leisurely walk, and talk to somebody who loves you.  This is a sure way to calm down and relax!
  4. Use that extra energy.  I don’t know about you, but when I get stressed out, I get this intense feeling that I MUST do something.  It’s the same feeling that sometimes prevents me from falling asleep at night.  I just feel like I’ve gotta keep moving.  It’s a kind of ‘nervous energy.’  Rather than let this get to me, I’ve learned to use this energy in a productive way!  Why not crank out a few assignments, some lists, something you’ve been ‘putting off’?  Get BUSY to get your mind off the stressful situation?
  5.  Think BIG picture.  Okay, maybe this is just the little “Drama Queen” within me, but sometimes when things don’t go as planned (or hoped) I begin to feel like the world is ending!!  (Okay, I exaggerate… but you know what I mean!)  It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture in particularly difficult times and feel like everything is ruined.  It’s these times that we need to step back and realize that this really isn’t the end of the world… and when I can’t seem to see that for myself, I need a reminder.  I simply refer to Tip #3, “Keep Calm and Call Mom!”

Now, your turn!  Considering you’re human and you’ve probably dealt with some particularly stressful times in your own life, what is YOUR favorite way to cope with stress??  How do you handle the unexpected ‘stressors’ of life?


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