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How to Keep Calm and Carry On During Stressful Times

How to Keep Calm and Carry On During Stressful Times

We’ve all come across stressful moments in our lives. It affects our productivity and influences our choices. Learning to manage during stressful times is vital for health and lifestyle. Here are some ways to keep calm and carry on when you’re experiencing stress.

Keep a journal

Keeping a journal works as a way to vent without involving another person. Writing out your thoughts is a physical way of letting your emotions out. It’s tangible and writing can help channel out negative feelings.

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Exercise

Leaving the house is difficult when you feel stressed out. I’ve had my fair share of days where I curl up into my bed and waste my day away. This left me feeling stuck and vulnerable. I started slowly by taking walks to my mail box then tried to routinely go for walks. This helps me move around and get out of my house without having to go too far and join a gym. Other forms of exercise also help to reduce stress.

Keep busy

Keeping busy helps you focus on tasks on hand rather than letting your mind wander to “what-if” scenarios. Free time leads to a vicious cycle of feeling sorry for yourself and leaves your mind to constantly think of your problems.

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Assess your problems

In most cases, the majority of our problems are all in our head. Over-thinking leads to imagining problems that are as problematic as they seem. Ask yourself, “is this really an issue?” I’ve had countless moments in life when I thought I was stuck for good. I look back now and realize how silly I was for overreacting to my problems. Take time out to assess your problems before turning them into long-term issues.

Drink water and eat healthily

Stress-eating is one of the worst issues during hard times. I’m guilty of it myself. I can go through leftover cold pizza, ramen noodles, soda, and coffee within the same three-hour period. It’s horrifying and while it feels great at the moment, I feel even worse than I did before once the day has ended. Treat yourself once in awhile but don’t indulge in the dreadful world of binge-eating.

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Listen to music

Music is a gateway to a different world. Listening to music is one of my favorite things to do during stressful times as it takes my mind off of the things bothering me. I either listen to happy music to get me through the day or have a solid cry session listening to sad music. I use Spotify to listen to my music; it recommends other songs and offers mood-based playlists, as well.

Cry it out

Speaking of crying it out, it is a great way to relieve stress. It works as an emotional detox. I tend to let things build up until I suddenly break down and cry a good, ugly cry. I feel better immediately afterward.

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Vent to a friend

Vent to someone if you have a friend you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with. Sometimes, it’s not even advice we need but someone to listen. Venting your emotions is a great way to let out all of the anger, hurt, pain, or depression you’ve been letting simmer inside.

Watch something funny

I love to watch stand-up comedy when I feel sad. It’s my go-to feel-good remedy. Netflix offers a variety of options, including comedians like Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, or Louis C.K. If you’re not into stand-up comedy, try watching other shows (I recommend The Office or Parks and Rec) or watch funny dog or cat videos on YouTube. Whatever it is, laugh away your problems until you feel better.

Just breathe

The most important thing to do during stressful periods of life is to breathe. Try breathing exercises. I personally have invested in an air purifier to help me breathe better at home. It clears out the dust and allergens and improves the air circulation in my room. The pink noise also helps me sleep better. When I feel anxious, I can’t take deep breaths properly and this leads to more stress and anxiety, so this solution helps a lot.

Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

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Fatima Puri

Journalist

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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