No matter what you do or where you live or who you are, chances are you feel stress. Sounds depressing, right? It’s just something you are going to have to deal with, no matter what, right?
The good news is that the majority of stress – the mental and emotional kind anyway, is a perceived feeling. It is how you individually are assuming or manifesting something to be. Now, I’m not saying that means you’re silly for feeling stress – I myself feel it lots. But, what I am saying is that there are steps you can take in your day to day life to help change those perceived feelings. Here are 5 unconventional tips and tricks you can try:
Using your calendar helps promote organization, and being organized is a quick and easy way to reduce stress. Not only should you be using your calendar for the obvious things like work meetings, but you should use it for scheduling in ‘non-negotiable me time’. Non negotiable me time is when no matter what’s going on, you stop doing it and you take whatever amount of time (say 30-60 minutes) and go do something that you love. Ideally, it’s not lying on the couch watching TV, and it’s a bit more active, but the purpose is to be doing something you truly love so if it’s the Bachelor, then go for it.
Say what? Bear with me.
For background, lots of the time if we feel something negative, we aim to stop the thought or get rid of the feeling.
Now, picture yourself on the side of a road, with each one of your thoughts and feelings in your mind being a car or a truck passing by. In a perfect world, you’d sit on the side of the road watching these thoughts and feelings pass by. But, in reality, these thoughts and feelings make you feel unsettled and the natural reaction is to either try to stop the thought (running out into traffic and stopping the car) or running along side trying to keep up with traffic (or your thoughts). Your mind feels restless doing this.
A good way to help promote calmness is to acknowledge the thoughts and feelings, but imagine yourself watching them from a distance, or just sitting on the side of the road, happily watching traffic go by, rather than reacting at every single car that goes by. You’ll never be able to stop yourself form having negative thoughts, but if you can simply acknowledge them and move on, instead of reacting and or dwelling, this can help.
Did I confuse the heck out of you just then? Watch this video to learn more. This is a tactic I’ve learned from Headspace, and if I didn’t do it justice, watch the video.
‘But isn’t this more stressful’, you’re thinking? Sure, the first couple weeks of figuring out how the heck to mass cook is maybe not the same as sitting on the couch all day on a Sunday, but I tell you, it is one of the most important stress-relieving rituals I have. And that is because the real stress of the week is Mon-Fri when things are busy. In fact, meal prepping is one of the skills our Wellness Challenge participants adopt (thanks to the meal plans we provide throughout the program) that they are most motivated to stick with.
When I’m busy, there’s no chance I want to work a long day and then cook and then find time to exercise. No way. If I haven’t cooked, it will mean I’m so much more likely to eat out. Eating out = less health food. Less healthy food = lowered ability to manage stress. You get the equation, so have your healthy food prepped and ready when your belly starts growling.
If you want to get in to this but just aren’t sure how, check this out.
This one comes from my good old Dad, and I have to say I really use it. If you have a stressful life decision, or something really doesn’t go your way, rather than stressing about it, the seven year rule tells you to ask yourself if it will matter, or you will even remember in seven years. It adds a lot of perspective to things, and often really reduces stress.
This one isn’t necessarily unconventional, but when you’re in a concrete jungle, it can be really easy to forget, or even underestimate the effects of greenery. Having been in Vancouver for a while now, I feel that it’s much more accessible, and I really do think it makes a difference (and studies have proven it too). An hour bike ride or walk through Stanley Park, or whatever your equivalent is, is therapy, I tell ya!