Beating stress & anxiety

I think at some point or other, most of us experience feelings of stress or anxiety and these can come as complete curveballs that we didn’t expect, or simply as a reaction to something happening in our lives. Be it school exams, a demanding job, relationship problems, fear of the future- whatever it is, allowing anxiety to take control always hinders resolutions and can paralyse you from thinking with clarity and direction.
The thing is, stress can manifest in so many peculiar ways and I sometimes think that being one step ahead and knowing the things that trigger you to feel anxious or stressed can be the best way of managing and coping with difficulties that invariably come our way.

I’m no expert by any means, but I have a few little things that I do which make such a difference when I am having a bad time. Life is never boring and sometimes it’s difficult to manage everything going on, but it’s so important to keep in mind that feelings do come and go and to not souly rely on feelings as your measure for decision making!

For me, as a Catholic, prayer is vital and especially so when I feel down or unsure about my next move. I trust that God is holding our little family and has a plan for our lives. Allowing Him to be in the centre of the good times AND the bad has given us a tremendous sense of freedom and peace, most especially when all around us seems to be spiralling!

Exercise: Exercise is such therapy, i’m telling you! I regard it now as a way to let off steam and it always makes a really positive change to how I’m feeling on any given day. I feel energised, relaxed and exhilarated after exercising and I now see that having made time to do something every day is really boosting me mentally. Exercise can be a funny one because after a long day it’s so easy to find every excuse in the book to not work out, but actually, you never regret it after you finish a session- no matter what the time is! Personally, I like to get a workout completed in the mornings and I can see that this routine is really benefitting the rest of my day and setting me up for a good start!

Get away from screens: When I’m feeling a bit low, I like to limit the time spent looking at screens. Be it the television or social media, I tend to shut off my phone and just find a half hour to read a book, magazine, or simply listen to the radio. I'll be the first to admit that I love a good scroll through Facebook but sometimes the constant buzz of social media can be over stimulating for our brains; it actually makes it hard to sit still and be quiet without some device or electronic in hand. Whilst I definitely think distraction from whatever is making you feel anxious or stressed can be really helpful, over stimulation, in my experience, doesn’t allow you to process what’s really bothering you. Even just getting out for a half hour walk without your phone can do more to help you unwind. 

Surround yourself with love: Probably quite an obvious solution but talking with the people that know you best in the world can be a great balm, especially for us ladies, I feel! What’s that saying, 'a problem shared is a problem halved?’ I think it’s definitely true! It's also a great way to be offered a different perspective than your own, which can be really positive in working through a stressful time. :)

On those occasions when I feel less than myself, I am reminded that we are on a journey, that this is neither the beginning, nor the end! Life is full of bumps in the road, discoveries, gain and loss; but if my anchor is in God, then I know that our family can ride out any storm thrown our way. And it's not just a saying, it's a very much tried and tested truth! :)



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