While life can be full of excitement, greatness and beauty, no-one is a stranger to stress. Unfortunately stressful and upsetting times in life are inevitable, as much as they are bloody annoying. They are, however, bearable if one focuses on staying sane and healthy. Of course problems on a larger scale such as mental illnesses and bereavement may need external help compared to smaller scale problems, but no matter the scale there are a few basics that are universal in at least assisting the process of feeling better. So, here are my five top tips for how to keep sane and healthy through stressful times; now, as a quick disclaimer, I am not a doctor, I am merely a 20 year old man, who has used these tips to help my own problems in the past.
- Accept It
Admittedly this is the most cliche of all coping tips but the ‘first step’ as so many people call it, is accepting that you’re struggling with something, or that your stress is getting too much; whatever it may be, it’s important to accept it. When I used to read posts like these, I would ignorantly and confusedly ask “Why? Why is accepting it so important?”. So here’s my answer, denying something is wrong, denying you have a problem, denying there is anything you can do to help it only worsens the problem. If you accept the problem, you’re opening your mind up to solutions to that problem. However if you deny it, you trick your mind into believing there is no solution, because the problem doesn’t exist which of course means the problem escalates further.
2. Exercise regularly and eat better
This one sounds like a strange one to anyone that doesn’t enjoy exercise, or for that matter doesn’t understand how exercise can change how they feel but it is surprisingly important and beneficial to getting better. After all your body and mind are as much connected in health as they are in biology; so a healthy body equals a healthy mind. Regular exercise gives you added adrenaline; the feeling you get from an intense gym session, or the feeling you have knowing you’ve broken your record at running is addictive, and exciting. By challenging yourself you begin to feel proud of what you’re doing, and if you lose more weight, or gain strength your body naturally loses the stress of extra weight, or a lack of muscle. Likewise eating less fast food, and improving general food in take makes the body feel lighter, and stronger which contributes to the improving happiness of oneself. Obviously if your body is reacting well to the exercise and improved diet, then you’ll also begin to see the results, and you’ll begin to realise things about yourself you hadn’t before. Similarly if you’re focusing on exercise and healthy food you’re distracting your brain from negativity.
Probably one of the most neglected essential parts of the day sleep is very underrated. An example of this would be exam stress, people often believe that sleep isn’t as important as revising more, but the truth is it’s more beneficial to rest your body and mind and revise less than it is to revise constantly everyday. During exam season it can be difficult to not just want to cut out sleep all together so you can learn more, but it’s better to sleep at an earlier time and wake up slightly later, so that when you do revise you can revise refreshed and be more productive. For when depression, bereavement, anxiety etc is keeping you awake, and forcing you to stay up when trying to aid your return to a better routine, it’s best to swap a laptop/tablet/phone screen for a book. If you are already struggling to sleep bright lights hurting your eyes wont do any good to your cause, but if you read something at night, not only do you cut out the light, but you can still do something before sleeping rather than just laying there hoping you’ll fall into a dream. Sleep. Remember it. It’s important.
Very simply one of the best ways to get better is to surround yourself with your best friends, nine times out of ten they will realise you’re struggling and will do their best to make things easier for you and to distract you as best they can. On top of this you’re around people instead of alone, with merely your pensive thoughts to talk to. Socialising also is not limited to your best friends; go meet new people (safely of course). Meeting new people, discovering new things, surrounding yourself with people that do, say, think different things to you, will open your mind to the world, and to your problems. A small word from them could change your entire outlook.
5. Creative Projection
Not only is Creative Projection the final tip on this list, but it is also the broadest, and in my opinion one of the best. Problems, melancholy and stress are naturally inspiring and evocative; so project it into a hobby. Play tennis? Turn your upset into fuel to win. Write? Project your sadness into a story or a song or a poem; passion and emotion can be bring out some of the most astounding pieces of work. Play football? Cricket? Sing? Dance? Blog? Vlog? Morris Dance? Anything? Even if you have no hobbies, find one that suits your fancy and project your difficulties into that hobby… obviously don’t break anything, just enjoy it.
Those are my top 5 tips, so I guess its simply time for me to give a few last words; If you allow yourself the ability to get better and try new things then you’ll be unstoppable and you can get past the rut you’re in. Recycle the negatives. Take control. Stay in control.