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by Margaret Fiero
Stress – it’s a common topic of concern for humans everywhere. Due to the American mantra of “Go, go, go!”, we particularly struggle with it here in the U.S. As someone who finds herself stressed quite often, I have developed a few tried and tried strategies to keep the anxiety under control. Here are a few that I think are critical:
1) Practice yoga. There’s a reason it’s prevailed for thousands of years. Relaxing and invigorating at the same time, yoga is perfect for those of us who are naturally anxious. Yoga is one of those rare activities in these modern times that you do just for the sake of doing it. It is “self-improvement” in the sense that it is good for you physically and mentally, but a major reason for doing yoga is to be in the moment. You’re not focused on improving yourself for the future, but rather experiencing the current moment as it is happening. It’s also unique in that you’re not trying to be the fastest, rather you’re encouraged to slow down. We need more of opportunities in our lives during which we can be slow.
It’s important to find a yoga studio that’s right for you. If you live somewhere like Austin, you’ll have many options. If you’re a broke student like me (or just broke), there are studios that offer sliding scale rates or have donation days. Two in Austin that pop into my mind are Black Swan and Eastside Yoga.
2) Sleep. I know it’s boring, but it is so important to get a decent amount of sleep. Being stressed puts one in a unique conundrum in regards to sleep. Often, when we’re stressed, we’re more likely to sleep less or have less fulfilling sleep, yet we need it most at these times. We get caught in a downward spiral of a more stress, less sleep cycle. It’s just common sense: when you’re tired, are you better or worse at managing stress? I’m certainly worse, but then I need a lot of sleep. That’s something to remember, that everyone needs different amounts of sleep, but according to the CDC, adults need at least seven hours of sleep nightly. If you can’t get that, reap the magical benefits of the power nap to refresh and sustain you during particularly stressful times.
3) Find an outlet. This is going to be different for everyone. Whether it’s knitting, running, painting, walking, stamp collecting, or even cleaning, it is helpful to have that time for something you like to do, something that not only soothes you but distracts you from your stress. My husband loves to cook. He’s not only very good at it but he also loves getting lost in the steps of a recipe or creating his own. And of course there’s the finished product that makes all that hard work worth it. I, on the other hand, find cooking extremely stressful, in part because I’m trying not to set the house on fire, let alone the food. He doesn’t find cleaning and organizing calming like I do. This just goes to show that when trying to find your outlet, you need to consider your personality and your unique preferences to figure out the right activity for you.
Brought to you by Just Mind, counselors in Austin who are working to provide their clients with the best care possible. If you would like our help managing and dealing with stress, we can help! You can contact us to make a counseling appointment or get more information by reading about personal growth counseling.