I used to work for an ad agency. As you would guess, it could be stressful. Sometimes, really stressful. A co-worker (and fellow former smoker) and I used to have days where we seriously talked about starting smoking again…we’d have just one or maybe we’d just do it for that day. I never did and I never will again but, sometimes…
Smoking used to be one of my stress coping strategies. Ew. Few things make me ever want to pick up a cigarette again. But there are those rare occasions where so much stress, frustration, anger and everything else just builds to the point where my mind goes back to that place.
This week was one of those times, one that really tested my patience and mental well-being. Just one of those weeks, I hope…maybe because it was a Friday the 13th week? I found myself thinking about smoking a few times but then I’d quickly shift my mind to one of my new strategies. One of the things that helps to calm my mind and deal with the stress. And it worked! Still cigarette-free for 10+ years!
In my efforts to be more mindful and mentally balanced, I’ve been more conscious of these coping strategies. The things that make me feel better when life seems to be a clusterfuck. The things that help me to be the best version of myself. Here are the top 10 – who knows, maybe they’ll help you next time life gets you frazzled!
1. Make The Bed Every Morning
Take something chaotic and messy, and make it neat. It’s a great way to start the day and it’s always a plus getting into a fresh bed at night.
2. Put an Ice Cube in Coffee
No waiting for coffee. No burned tongues. Another way to get things off to a good start early in the day.
3. Everything Can Be Related Back to Seinfeld
Please see the above quote that kicked off this blog. This rule also applies to Friends. What can I say, maybe laughter is the best medicine (not love, as Monica suggests – lol to my Friends peeps on that one).
4. Life Is Better With A Dog
Few things make me feel better than seeing my dogs, stressful day or not. Some days I’ll take a full lunch hour just to go home and see them. I know dogs aren’t for everyone, however, if you can put in the time, money and effort they deserve, I highly recommend bringing one into your family.
5. Do Nice Things For Others
This probably sounds cheesy but doing something nice for someone else boosts my mood and makes me feel more sane. Try it. Even if it doesn’t make you feel better, you’ll be making someone else feel better.
6. Have One Friend You Can Eat With and Vent To – Both Judgment-Free
Mine’s name is Erick. Our friendship is based on hilarious college memories, similar career experiences and, most importantly, food. We both love food. We eat it together often and it’s some of the best therapy and stress relief there is.
7. It’s Okay If You Don’t Want To Talk
This is why email and text messaging was invented.
There are times I’m just not up to talking, especially when I’m super-stressed. Things might fly out of my mouth that shouldn’t, I might randomly break into tears, it’s just a crapshoot. And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with just not wanting to talk.
8. Be Active
Yes, I’m a fitness enthusiast. But when I say “Be Active” I don’t mean you have to go for a 10-mile run or have a super-heavy, hour-long lifting sesh. I mean, go for a 15 minute walk at lunch. Get up from your desk to go up and down the stairs a few times. Take an evening stroll and unwind. Just do something! I do all of these things regularly and they make a difference.
Being active doesn’t mean you have to train for a marathon or spend hours in the gym. Just move your ass a little bit. It’s really good for you.
9. Surround Yourself With Positive People
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become pickier about my friends. Time to go out and time to just hang out or time to just catch up with calls and texts isn’t as abundant these days. So there’s no point in dedicating that precious time to people who don’t make me feel my best. Thanks, friends!
Then there’s the people you can’t choose to be around but you may just get lucky. My workplace structure is divided into large teams, then smaller teams. The people on my smaller team, less than a dozen of them, are the ones I interact with most days. And they’re the ones who make the workplace better. I’ve had jobs where I love my co-workers, others not so much. This group is full of the best.
Quoting TV shows. Leaving little notes, cards and encouragement. Coming through on projects. Sharing hilarious stories. Some days, it’s just nice – other days, it’s necessary. Thanks, team!
And last, but not least:
10. When In Doubt, Always the Beatles
Music saves me more than anything else, There’s always something out there to match my mood and give the boost I need. Some days, it’s a lighter classic, like Fleetwood Mac or Van Morrison. Others, I need to scream along with 30 Seconds to Mars or rock out to 311. On the tougher days, there’s the really powerful ones that speak to me on a deep level, like Ryan Adams and Jason Isbell.
Regardless of what my mood strikes, I’ve found that I can’t go wrong with the Beatles.
These are just a few of the things that keep me sane and keep me balanced. How about you? What are your tricks to beating stress and being your best? Share your mindful tips! Post a comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.