Lifestyle and Literature: Let’s Talk Stress Maintenance

“There’ve been a lot of things that have been on my mind this past week. Whether that’d be the copious amount of stress I just can’t seem to get a handle on, or how hard I’ve been on myself to finish this novel and keep up with an incredibly gruelling schedule. While, it may have been a somewhat manageable week, I certainly feel as though there must be a better way to go about it, so I don’t spend my Sundays absolutely dreading the start of the week ahead. I always tell myself, that when I want to accomplish something, the effort is what matters. It’s about fighting off the urge to just dream up all of those things you want to do, and start actively working towards completing the tasks that will get you there. Lately, I have been doing much better than I ever have before. I’ve been working harder, I’ve been doing more than I can say I have in 2017 in 2018 thus far, and I still have so many plans for the future. Why then, have I allowed myself to stress out so much, stress about each and every little thing that may pose some kind of challenge – (I am really thinking about removing the word “stress” from my vocabulary all together). Nothing is easy, nothing amounts to immediate success, whether that’d be finally finishing up that book, getting through your weekly academic readings, or just tackling life itself. You’ve got to push through if you want to see change.”

Stress Maintenance and the Balance That Works For Me

I was never much into learning how to calm my stress levels as I was trying to completely suppress it until it goes away – it usually doesn’t. I had to start picking up on a variety of different behavioural patterns that indicated I needed to change something if I planned on adding more to my workload – both creatively and academically. Taking time to myself simply wasn’t cutting it anymore, I had to get in there and completely rid myself of those stressful thoughts and feelings to really maximize how much work I was getting done on any given day. When it comes to getting work done, I do a much better job in the morning. I used to try to tell myself that I am an evening person, and that I do my best work in the evening – but the truth is, just because I like to stay up a bit later at night to relax and partake in leisurely activities like reading or watching television does not mean that I am actively better working at night. I had to really take into consideration when I felt the most productive, and I had to start acting on it. Granted, every day isn’t going to be the same, but I’ve made the conscience effort to try to get more done in the mornings, directly after my first morning class, so I can really wind down in the evenings the way I want to. When the University stressors start up again, I know that I have to make time to really relax, so that I don’t overwhelm myself trying to be creative in one breath, and get good grades in another. – I can do both of these things effectively if I just take it one step at a time. Now, as cliché as that may sound, it does help to acknowledge it. 

I’ve been taking into consideration the times in which I am not productive at all. This is usually the time I should be asleep, but sadly, I cannot remember the last time I’ve actually taken an early night. I’ve been actively trying to go to bed a bit earlier every night, just so I don’t feel the need to nap too long during the day time – thus resulting in more time to get down to work.

When it comes to actually pushing past the will to stay in bed the entirety of my Sunday, it may take a little longer than say, a weekday, and that is entirely okay. I give myself the time to laze around – when I know I don’t have anything too pressing to attend to, and it really does make all of the difference in the upcoming week. The more relaxed I feel, the better quality of work I can produce. Not only do I really maximize my work times, but I also really try to maximize my down times as well. I don’t just roll around in bed (as often) aimlessly, hoping I’ll get up at some point. I’m watching something, reading something, and more recently I’ve been really into utilizing the Headspace app for guided meditation. The more I do it, the less stressed I feel, and the less stressed I feel, the more fulfilled I can allow myself to be when I get a good amount of work done. At first, having tried guided meditation in the past, I didn’t think I’d be able to keep up with it, but so far I haven’t missed a day. It has really helped me to take a few minutes, center myself, and continue to do things one step at a time. 

Finding the stress maintenance methods that work for you will elevate your down time, allowing you to come out of it refreshed, ready to tackle the workload, noticing that instead of worrying about how many things you need to accomplish on any given day, you’ll be working through each task one at a time. Crossing each to-do off, and closing that planner at the end of the day feeling fulfilled – I know I will be.

I hope you all have an incredible week and thank you for taking the time to give this a read!

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