In my previous post about my first impressions of living in London, I mentioned that I’ve been finding life here pretty stressful. City life isn’t exactly chilled-out and it can get a bit overwhelming at times. But after 4 months of living here, I’ve developed a few habits that have helped me with managing and reducing stress. So I thought I’d share these with you today!
I have struggled with stress in the past, at Uni for example when I was juggling part-time jobs and coursework or when I was doing my dissertation (my word, that was a stress). I normally react to stress physically before anything else – I suffer from stress-induced scalp psoriasis and also IBS, which make things even more complicated when I’m feeling overwhelmed!
However, while I have had issues with stress in the past, since moving to London I’ve found that it has got a lot worse. First of all there is the stress of commuting every morning and the general business. But then there is the stress associated with my current situation – balancing full-time work with blogging/YouTube/everything else, staying afloat financially and all the while trying to maintain some form of a social life.
So I’ve been changing some aspects of my life to help manage and reduce this stress, because if I didn’t do something I think I would have a breakdown! But in all seriousness, I think it’s important to take the time to think about our wellbeing and I hope that these little tips might help some of you with reducing stress too.
Reading during my commute
Ok, I know this is something that most people do while commuting but hear me out! After having my phone stolen a few months ago, I’ve become much more careful with using my phone in public. I was a bit paranoid about it, so when I got a new phone I created a little rule for myself to keep my phone (zipped away) in my bag on the tube and just read on the commute instead.
While this habit was born out of paranoia, it has actually changed my life. I’m not even being dramatic! The distraction of a good book really helps me to switch off and ignore the stressful surroundings of the tube. It also means that I can fit in up to 2 hours of reading a day, which is something I’ve never been able to do before. Reading enriches your mind and your life in general – so being able to do so much of it has just done wonders for me.
I have to say though, that I’m still quite strict about this rule. I carry my book in my hand to the station and keep it out at all times, so that even if I have to cram myself into a busy carriage I already have it out and don’t need to struggle to get it out of my bag. It can be tempting to take out my phone and have a scroll of Instagram – but I have to tell myself that it will be much better for me to just keep reading.
Remembering that we always have a choice
This is where I’m going to get a bit deep. I recently did a wellbeing class at work (how very new-age, eh?) and something that the instructor said that really stayed with me was: we always have a choice.
When we are stressed out, whether it’s because of work or personal life or whatever, we tend to just get overwhelmed by the situation and let it get to us. The solutions to alleviate that stress are normally not what we think of immediately. But the thing is – we always have choices. Sometimes it can seem like there isn’t a choice, that we have to do things that will cause us stress, and to a certain extent that is true. But what we can do is think about how we can improve the situation.
For example – I was experiencing a lot of stress on weekends (which is supposed to be time off!) because I was trying to cram as much blogging work as possible into 2 days. Saturdays and Sundays comprised of continuous blog/Instagram/YouTube shooting and writing posts. I was basically trying to do the work of a full-time blogger over 2 days, which just wasn’t realistic. I was so tired and stressed that by the time I had to actually go to my ‘real’ job, I was feeling so burned out.
So I made a choice. I decided to cut back on what I was doing blog-wise, because writing 3 posts a week, filming 2 videos a week and posting 7+ photos on Instagram a week just isn’t realistic for me at the moment. I recognised that for my own wellbeing, I had to cut back. It means I’ve had to probably sacrifice growth on my channels and some potential revenue, but mental health is always more important.
Trying harder with health & fitness
Something I’ve been trying to work on recently is my commitment to health and fitness. Personally, I find that doing regular work-outs and eating well helps a lot with my stress levels. Exercising is one of the only times when I can just totally zone out and not think about anything else, so it’s one of the best stress-busters.
As for food – I’m not gonna lie, I do not have the best diet. I don’t eat really badly, but I definitely don’t eat super healthy either! But recently I’ve been making more of an effort to eat healthier breakfasts in the morning (as mentioned in my November Goals post) and it’s really helped to boost my mood in the mornings. Also – I’ve found that not getting on the tube while hungry makes it a lot less stressful!
Talking about it
I know this might seem obvious to some people, but as someone who tends to bottle up how I’m feeling it can be quite difficult. If you are feeling stressed, talking about it with people you love and trust really does help. I don’t mean ranting about how you’ve had a shit day or how everything is going wrong (I am very guilty of doing this), but talking calmly with someone about what is actually making you stressed.
We all know that stress can bring out the worst in people – it’s easier to snap when you’re feeling stressed out and it’s normally the people you love the most that bear the brunt of it. My boyfriend and mum I’m sure can testify to that! But I’ve been making more of an effort to open up when I’m feeling stressed for one so that those around me know what’s going on (and that I’m not just being a bitch for no reason!) but also because talking about it and getting some perspective always helps.
So those were 4 ways that I am managing and reducing stress. I really hope that this will be helpful for some of you – I know it’s helped me to have a few prompts, even if they are really simple. Also – let me know if you have any ways of reducing stress, as I’d love to hear how other people deal with it!