I am a list girl. I like making lists and having action plans that I can call on when my mind stalls in indecision. I am working on a list of stress management options.
– tea: the process of making a pot of tea is a ritual that is soothing. Get the teapot, rinse it out, select the tea of choice, put the tea leaves in the infuser, boil the kettle, light the tea light candle that sits under the teapot, pour the water over the leaves and watch the tea infusing. Even at work, without the glass teapot, I still have two or three different kinds of loose leaf tea. And I think I might get a teapot just for work because it will help me manage stress during the day. And then there is the drinking of the tea! Making tea gives me a chance to take a break when I stop and take time for the whole process.
– exercise: exercise that is physically draining can get me quickly to a place where my conscious mind steps back and my unconscious mind takes over, it is all about one foot in front of another, breathing, checking the path ahead, breathing and expending the excess energy. At the moment I use power walking to get me to this place, I think jogging and running will also do it. And walking/jogging outside in the fresh air with the sun is an important factor for me, too. But regualar exercise has also helped me…
– journaling: when I am working through an issue, it helps me to write about it. I can vent my frustration, disappointment, anger in a safe place. Sometimes what I write is private, sometimes I make it available to friends or publically, depending on the situation that I am working through.
– talking: for the same reasons as journaling, talking about what is going on helps me manage stress. But I need to pick my person to talk to. And I usually don’t start talking until I have high stress levels or I have already put some thought into what is going on.
– relaxing baths: for the same reason as tea and exercise, taking a bath is about taking time out from what ever else is going on.
– crocheting: I like to crochet, it gives me things to do with my hands (which is not eating) and I can make something at the same time. And it is an activity which allows my conscious mind to step back and the routine take over.
– change of activity: at work if there is something getting to me about a particular activity/task, one way to manage is to put is aside and focus on something else. That means I can do little bits of the stressful task but keep my stress levels from not getting too high.
At work I have the following options: tea, change of activity/task and exercise (during my lunch break). I try to take a good lunch break every day and 3 of my 4 lunch breaks I go walking. This helps with the ongoing stressful environment. When I need to manage the stress of an immediate situation, I will go walking on my own and really push myself hard to help clear my head.
Hmmm… there are 3 different strategies I use: process, time out and general ongoing maintenance. That is really interesting – I hadn’t realised it till I started writing. For flare ups I need to take a break from it and allow the energy to dissipate. When I am living with a stressful ongoing situation/environment and my stress baseline is raised above normal I need to manage the underlying stress levels by processing the issue with journaling and talking. And then there is the general ongoing maintenance of healthy heating, getting enough sleep and regular exercise which helps me keep my stress baseline low.
I like this. I can use this! I have ways of managing different kinds of stress. It gives me options. I have some ideas for flare ups which require immediate action. I have some ideas for situational or ongoing stress which require processing. I will keep thinking about other ways I can manage my stress. And the only place food features is in the day to day and that is about healthy eating.