#mentalhealthmonday – handling stress

As you might have noticed, I’ve been posting here and there about my exams and just general busy-ness, so I thought this post would be ridiculously timely for everyone, including me! So, here are some tips that I’ve picked up that have worked for me!

A note: stress is not, in itself, a sign of mental health problems. Everybody gets stressed, and that’s unfortunately a part of life. What you need to look out for is if stress makes any mental health problems worse, or if the stress is getting to a level where you’re no longer able to function. Finally, I know that a lot of these seem pretty obvious, but it is amazing what taking care of yourself will do for your productivity.

  • Make sure you have three square meals a day

I don’t know about you, but my mental health is really dependent on my eating. If I haven’t eaten, or only eaten unhealthy foods, my anxiety and depression can overwhelm me fast. Making sure I eat three healthy(ish) meals a day is a surefire way of making sure that I’m feeling as good as possible. Cooking something nice for yourself can also be really good self-care, and makes you take a quick break.

  • If possible, take a day off

If it isn’t – a night off. Or an hour or two off. Constantly working will make you burn out, but regular breaks will help make sure that when you are working, you’re working efficiently.

  • Go outside

When I get very stressed, I drop everything and go to the park. Taking a break and petting some dogs always does me good. Also, stretching my legs and getting some light exercise is always helpful.

  • Break things down into little steps

I am a big proponent of to-do lists and breaking big tasks into little, achievable goals. For example, over this spring break, I’ve had to write 15,000 words of essay. I’ve broken that down into achievable word goals for every day of my break – about 1000 words a day, with days off. If I don’t achieve my exact word goal, I can make up for it on my days I’ve scheduled to be off.

  • Clean up

This might just be me, but I find cluttered surroundings make me anxious. (This is especially annoying because I am quite a messy person!) Doing a quick clean up gives me time to think and ensures I don’t get anxious about the mess.Β If cleaning up is difficult – as I know it can be, especially when depressed – try doing one task every couple of hours. Morning, take out the trash. Noon, wash the dishes. Afternoon, make the bed. Little steps.

  • Have a cuddle

This is, of course, if you’re not touch-averse, and only if you find cuddles soothing. I personally find it very relaxing to have my head on my partner’s chest and his arms around me. We often chat about things in our day, or I have a little snooze. A quick 20 minutes of relaxing can do the world of good.

Of course, not all of these ideas will work for you, or are practical – and that’s okay! For example, on lists of tips about self-care, hot baths and things are often recommended. But they don’t work for me (the steam from a hot bath makes me anxious) so I don’t do that! It’s all down to what will make you happiest, and less stressed. Above all though – please take time for you. Health and happiness is important – and so are you.

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15 thoughts on “#mentalhealthmonday – handling stress

  1. christine @ theStorySalve says:

    This is so on-point! Eating and getting outside are the first two things I forget to do when I’m stressed, even though I know full well just how much they help me. I am also much more focused when I’m in a clean environment so that would go on my de-stress list as well. For me, I usually get stressed when I’ve procrastinated, and I usually procrastinate when I’m depressed. And cleaning the house is the best first step to me feeling like a functioning human, and once I feel like a person I’m more able to get things done. That’s me, though, not sure if it’s everyone.

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    • whatthelog says:

      I’m glad you think so! Eating and showering are the first things that go for me.
      That totally makes sense. Getting back into a proper routine of cooking and cleaning is usually the first sign that everything’s improving, even slowly. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ceillie Simkiss says:

    Cleaning becomes a cycle for me – I get stressed out so I don’t clean, so I get more stressed out BECAUSE I haven’t cleaned, and then I’m still stressed out so cleaning is difficult. Brains are fun, right? I have found the UnFuck Your Habitat system of 20 minutes of cleaning then 10 minutes of relaxing to work really well for me.

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    • whatthelog says:

      YES. Sometimes as well I become more stressed as I clean? Like WTF?! I don’t tend to like self-help books but Unfuck your Habitat sounds like a good one – doesn’t sound like it takes itself too seriously, which is a big thing for me πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. justanotherloststudent says:

    I got assigned a specialist mentor for my last year at uni, and honestly one of the most helpful things she helped me with was just doing proper self-care, particularly through times of intense work periods. I think sadly everyone feels this horrible sense of obligation and pressure to have to work flat-out during deadline/exam seasons, because we want to do well, but it quickly leads to burn out and/or seriously making existing mental health stuff worse, so these are great tips to remind/give people permission to take care of themselves!

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    • whatthelog says:

      I’m so glad that your uni helped you out – my uni has been completely useless on the mental health front. :/ And I totally agree. I’m going into my exam season in the next few weeks and I’ve been consciously reminding myself to do some of these things. I’m glad you liked the tips!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    As always, I adore this Mental Health Monday. They are so good! Stress is a really interesting thing– For a long time I wasn’t really aware of my own stress levels. I accepted them as normal. It took a while for me to even recognize when I was stressed out.

    Petting puppies and exercise are great stress relievers for me. With cleaning or other breaks, I need to set a time limit for myself so I don’t suddenly find that I spent the whole day cleaning instead of working O_o. I also find that taking an hour or so to bake something helps a lot. I find cooking really relaxing and there is nothing like a fresh chocolate chip cookie!

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    • whatthelog says:

      Thank you!! And yeah, I know exactly what you mean. It’s sad but true that stress seems to be a part of daily life – I often don’t notice I’m stressed either. At least, until my shoulders and neck start to cramp up!

      OMG yessss, absolutely agreed about the puppies! I’m actually going to visit an animal shelter in the next few weeks so I can have time with the puppies and kittens πŸ˜€ Baking is a really good idea too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Grab the Lapels says:

    This took me back to my senior year of undergrad when I was taking 21 credit hours, all history or lit. It was a TON of reading, so I had crazy neck problems from books! Hot baths make me stressed too, or if the tub is not that comfortable. I definitely agree about going outside for a walk. If anyone is like me and can get into a stress cycle from low self-esteem, walking feels good for my body, so I feel better about the body I’m in. If your readers don’t have a dog, going to the local animal shelter to volunteer to walk the dogs is great for all parties involved. Thanks, Wendy!

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    • whatthelog says:

      YUP. I know what you mean! I’ve actually set an alarm on my phone so that every 20 mins or so it reminds me to fix my posture – and every single time I’ve been hunched over my books or computer!

      I’m actually going to an animal shelter in the next few weeks to play with the puppies and kittens! But walking the dogs is a really good idea too – I might have to do that! Thank you πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

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