Firstly, apologies for a being a little slack with the posts lately; as I’m sure you all know, despite being fun, blogging takes a lot of time and when high school decide to pile on the homework, it’s simply impossible to manage both. However, sometimes, like tonight (and like most other times I’m blogging), I decide to prioritise writing on here over homework, because sometimes you’ve just got to STOP and do something that you actually want to do. So, that’s all what tonight’s post is about; stopping and de-stressing.
By some miracle, I am now in my final year of high school, year 11. As amazing as it is, the thought that I’ll be leaving the place where I’m forced to do crap like PE 4 times a fortnight, I also have to do GCSEs before leaving. Damn. Hence, like all schools, mine is doing the whole “YOU ONLY HAVE BLAH BLAH DAYS TIL EXAMS WHICH IS BLAH BLAH MINUTES WHICH IS BLAH BLAH SECONDS” and then swiftly adding on the end “but, by the way, don’t stress, guys”. What a joke. And surprisingly enough, their minor attempts to de-stress us aren’t really doing much; it’s something we need to take into our own hands. Now, in the past few years, I feel that I’ve had plenty of practise of feeling stressed and having to combat it – or as some people like to call it, anxiety. Personally, I’d rather not give it that name which almost sounds anxious itself; I’d rather call it ‘stupid bollocks’, but for some reason the doctors don’t accept that as a medical term. Anyway, as horrible as it’s been as times, I can honestly say that struggling with that monster of a mental illness has given me so many resources that I can use daily to help myself and others. And today, well I’m sharing what I know with you!
So here are ‘Emilia’s top ten ways to de-stress’, whatever the cause:
- Drink an extremely hot or extremely cold drink.
No idea why this one works, honestly, it’s nuts. But, seriously, what do we do when someones stressed/traumatised/upset in Britain? We give them a cup of ice-cold water or a nice hot cup of tea. It’s odd, but magic. I would recommend iced water for upset/panic and hot drinks (jasmine tea is an anxiety battler too!) for exhaustion.
- Be organised and try your hardest.
This one works for me very well. For example, if I’m organised and revise for a test then I know that I have tried my absolute hardest and I’ve come to accept that I will be happy with the end result, whatever it is, if I know that I’ve put maximum effort in. It’s the perfect way of reducing the pressure of exams, because all you have to do is try your hardest and that’s enough. Never mind if it’s a C, a B or an A; you did your best and that’s good enough.
Although I rarely get the time to read, when I’m stressed, I find that I am so engrossed in the book, that I forget about my worries and become submerged in the book’s fictional world. This is how I spend my vacations; reading, because it de-stresses me, not once do I begin to think about my own problems. Take a peek at my recent Winter Reading List for inspiration!
- Candles/Incense .
Some people love this, some people hate this – personally, I love the smell of a candle burning away; it’s homely and has an aura of calm. My favourite scents are Yankee Candle Fluffy Towels or Beach Flowers and ANYTHING by The White Company or Tommy Bahamas. I have other friends that swear by the powers of oil-burners with bergamot oil, an oil intended to naturally relax the mind. If this type of thing floats your boat, I’d give it a try.
- Talk to close friends/family about it.
The best thing I ever did when I was struggling was reach out to people; my friends, my family, my school. It took so much weight off my shoulders and, to my astonishment, no-one turned around and called me a freak, no-one disowned me and everyone was extremely supportive. I appreciate that I was very lucky and that some people do not receive the same response, but there is always someone to talk to – there’s lots of help at Mind or feel free to talk to me!
- Have a break.
It’s a thing that we should all do from time to time; in the modern world, we’re so constantly connected that sometimes we forget about reality. Often it’s necessary to have a short break from things, just to bring you back down to real life, real relationships and real communication. Turn your tech off, go and SEE friends or spend the night cuddled up on the sofa watching a crappy chick-flick with your mum, just rewind.
- Cuddle an animal or a person.
Animals and people are basically the same, ok? It’s actually been proven by many studies that physical contact with another human and petting animals are both great ways to reduce stress. A simple hug is worth a thousand texts. And, well, who doesn’t love cuddling their animal? (Even if the animal doesn’t exactly love to cuddle you back.)
- Consider how important your issue is on the whole scale of things.
This specifically relates to GCSEs for many of us at the moment. Many people whom I’ve known have allowed these exams to stress them out ridiculous amounts; we are constantly told “THEY DECIDE OUR FUTURE”. Bullshit, I say. What do grades get you? Jobs. And what do jobs get you? Money. In my opinion, money is useless. Alright, it buys us lovely clothes and holidays, but if I had a choice between money and family/friends and all-round good relationships, I would most certainly choose the latter. Why? Because, money alone doesn’t make people happy. We see that in celebrities all the time. Anyway, my point is that, yes, GCSEs are important, but that piece of paper that you receive in August doesn’t determine the rest of your life. Remember that.
Something, now, that not ALL of us are too keen on (*cough* me *cough*). As much as I dislike forcing myself to exercise, I cannot deny that it does wonders to de-stress me. Anger, anxiety, sadness – running fixes it all for me. For some people, it’s the distraction that exercise gives, for me it’s the practise of not panicking when my heart is beating out of my chest. And, it doesn’t have to be running, it can be anything!
Honestly, this is the most important thing ever. I used to giggle when people did silly breathing exercises or advised people to “just breathe”, but now I understand, it really is the key thing to staying calm. If you’re breathing steadily, you’re going to be OK. This is the concept yoga works on too, I’ve never tried yoga for it’s stress-reducing qualities, but it’s probably worth a try!
Have you got any tips/tricks for staying calm? Do you use any of my techniques already? Let me know!