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Four Not-So-Weird Tips for Managing Stress

June 2, 2014

Fat HealthExerciseMy Boring-Ass LifeDiet Talk

Stress sucks.

I’m heading into a very, very stressful June. I can’t talk about why (yet), which is mean, I know. I don’t mean to … um … vague blog … but I do want to talk about stress.

I don’t handle it well. My body shuts down. That’s what happened to me in December. Stress makes me want to crawl under my bed and hide until it’s all over. With chocolate. And barbecue. It just does. But I’m trying, hard, to do better with it this time. Since I know in advance that I have some stress coming up. It’s stress that mostly involves a lot of waiting and a LOT of email checking — like every three minutes, and sleeping-with-my-phone-under-my-pillow-so-I-can-check-it-if-I-happen-to-wake-up email checking.

I’d like to manage my stress without binge eating or becoming practically comatose. I’ve brain stormed some ideas, and I thought they might help some of you out, too.

  1. EXERCISE — All caps. This is the number one tool in my stress-management toolbox. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals in the brain. It passes time (hooray for a whole hour of not checking my email!) It gives me something new to focus on. It feels good. I like to swim, but even a short walk a couple times a day is helpful.
  2. Eat — I know, I know. I said I don’t want to binge. But guess what; binge and eat are not synonymous! (Shocking, right?) If I remember to eat even when I’m so caught up in my stress, I’m less likely to compensate with a binge when hunger catches up to me. If I’m fueling my body with enough nutritious food, I’m less likely to find myself surrounded by empty cookie packages and chip bags wondering who messed up my office.
  3. Connect — That hide-under-the-bed thing? It sometimes results in me coming out on the other end of a stressful period realizing that I haven’t seen or talked to any of my friends in weeks or even months. Isolation makes things worse, at least for me. I’m going to make a concerted effort to stay connected to my support system.
  4. Be proactive — Stress happens. There isn’t anything I can do (or want to do) to completely get rid of the stressful situation I’m heading into. In fact, even though it’s stressful, the end result is something I want, so it’s worth it. But I can lessen the negative effects of stress by making sure I practice good self-care, keep working (for me that can be read as keep writing), and do what I can to affect the results I want from what’s happening in my life right now.

Stress can sabotage your well-being, but with a little forethought and planning when possible, you can definitely mitigate the harmful effects and stay on top.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Duckie permalink
    June 2, 2014 2:28 pm

    Also: sleep, routine (predictability as much as possible), and moderation of alcohol and other substances are a HUGE help during intense periods of stress… and taking time- even if just 10 minutes- even if you don’t initially feel like it- to do that one thing you really enjoy doing.

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