If I’d learnt how to manage worry earlier on, I would have been a lot less stressed growing up. I was what you would call a worry wart, a serial one at that. My earliest memories of worry go back to primary school. I remember I was on ‘red’ table and we all knew in the class that this was the equivalent of a ‘top set’. As a worrier, I became nervous that I would be moved to a different table.
In hindsight, this is completely ridiculous. Firstly, I was a hard worker and as long as I always tried my best it didn’t matter. Secondly, I should not at the age of 7 have been worrying about anything other than getting home in time to watch Art Attack on CITV, anyone with me?
Since then my worry spiralled. Anything and everything could potentially have got me in a tizz. I replayed scenarios over and over in my head. Eventually, in my early twenties, I can now identify that I developed mild anxiety.
I say mild, but it certainly didn’t feel that way in the grips of it. However, I am now out of the other side. I definitely get anxious thoughts, but that’s all they are. I remind myself not to place importance on the things I can’t change. I’m not perfect, but I definitely feel wayyy more prepared at dealing with life in general. In other words I have learnt how to manage worry.
It’s natural to worry a certain amount, but if you resonate at all with my story, start making changes now. The earlier you nip your over worrying tendencies in the bud, the easier you’ll be able to deal with potentially tricky situations, without exhausting yourself.
Along my own journey of figuring out how to deal with stress and areas of worry, these are some tips I’ve picked up to help me. Hopefully some of these will help you too.
Dealing with Stress in the moment:
I have often found myself worrying that I have too much to do. I’m so overwhelmed that I don’t know where to start. If this sounds like you, I beg you to make a list.
The majority of the time this list won’t seem so bad once you’ve got it out of the jumbled mess in your mind and written onto paper.
If it’s long then that’s okay too. Just work through each thing one at a time (in priority order) giving your full focus to that task only. You’ll whizz through it before you know it.
2. Take 5
YouTube videos have been my saviour, in particular, this last year. If my nerves heighten I stick on a vlog or a makeup tutorial and I’ll more than likely calm down.
Whatever gets your heartbeat back to a normal pace, do it! Even if you think you’re too busy, taking time to chill will allow you to better tackle whatever you were doing before.
If you are in a situation where you can’t slow down and you need to get things done then save the worry for later. Try your best to focus on simply tackling the situation. Tell yourself that you’ll give yourself a window of time (say 10 mins) later on in the day to address all the worry and stress.
You’ll often find that when you get through the ordeal and reach that worry time, you actually don’t need or want to use it.
4. Simply let it go
If you’re stressing about a situation think about whether your stress is going to change it. Most definitely it won’t. So, in the words of Elsa, let it go…
For example, worrying about what someone might think of you isn’t going to actually change their opinion. This is tricky to do, I have definitely spent far too much time worrying about how others think I look. However, always think back to this thought and over time you’ll find yourself automatically not attaching importance to things out of your control.
Ways to deal with the weight of the day:
If you’re exhausted from a stressful day, resist the temptation to crawl into your bed. Get outside in the fresh out. Connect with nature and truly appreciate the world around you.
Feeling more at one with the outside world will start to make you realise how serious life is not. It definitely helps with re-evaluating stress. Trust me, I go on a right old tangent if we start talking about how everything in life is made up, I won’t go there…
Nourish your body, mind and soul
Stress is a drain on the body and mind. Make sure to give yourself some TLC, especially after a particularly brutal day of worry.
Feed yourself plenty of healthy, wholesome foods and make sure to drink lots of water. Take time for calming activities, whatever it might be for you. This could be reading (one of my fave ways), yoga, colouring, anything to look after your mind.
This isn’t to say that you should use your friends and family as a therapist because this doesn’t usually end well and you’ll only end up stressing out your loved ones. However, a short explanation about how you’re feeling will help those around you know what you’re going through and know how best to support you.
Long-term stress management:
Learn to say no
Serial people pleasers, this one is for you! You can’t always please everyone. If you try you’ll only end up unhappy. Say no to things you don’t want to go to or if you just don’t have the time. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t support or help anyone ever, just look after you too!
Start your day
I have found that they way I start my day has a big impact on the rest of it. If I’m rushing, it sets me off on the wrong foot. Try and give yourself plenty of time in the morning, take things slowly and you’ll feel much calmer and happier for it.
Do something in the morning that you love and you’ll feel accomplished before midday!
Leading on from that last point, routine is super important for us adults (not just kids). I’m not saying you should plan everything down to the minute, but instead, have a rough idea of how your days look.
Even if it means planning the night before, you’ll feel more on top of things and you’ll be less likely to get stressed.
The headspace app taught me a lot about mindfulness and meditation. Whilst I’m currently not practising, it helped me a lot in the throes of my anxiety. Learning to let go of your thoughts really is a great stress-busting practice.
I’m not an expert, but I am a normal person that goes through everyday stress, as well as being someone who has experienced anxiety. These tips combined have made a huge impact in my life and I hope that they will help you in some way and you will know how to manage worry when you get caught up in the stresses of life.
Remember, practise over time is the key. As cliché as it sounds, time definitely heals, so be patient and strong, I believe in you!
What are your tips for dealing with stress/worry/anxiety? I’d love to know! Tell me down in the comments below.