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There comes a time in our lives when it feels like the weight of the world lies right on our shoulders. I am no stranger to the stress and anxiety that a busy, yet goal-oriented lifestyle, can bring. Additionally, with added responsibility, whether it be personal, educational or business, comes a lot of added tension and pressure.
However, it is normal to find ourselves overwhelmed and tired through the course of our lives. The important thing is to find a balance. My biggest struggle has been allowing myself to find stability amongst all the things going on in my life. I was a full-time student, an NCAA DI athlete, a part-time employee, a girlfriend, a friend, and a mother to my beautiful little Dachshund puppy. Too often it seemed like I was being pulled in a million directions, and unfortunately, my only way of coping with it was by shutting down.
It took me a while to understand that I was not alone in this, and like many other women and men my age, there were many healthy ways of coping with anything and everything that I had going on.
Here are some of the ways I learned to cope with my stress and anxiety:
- Exercise: Nothing helps me more than getting a good sweat on and working out any built up stress or frustration. However, I've never really been a fan of walking into a crowded gym and coming up with my own workout routines. Because of this, I began researching alternatives which would allow me to get the appropriate physical activity my body required, but could also allow me to "burn some fuel." Thankfully I was introduced to Title Boxing Gym, a gym that focuses on group boxing and kickboxing classes. This is by far the best workout I have ever come across, working your ENTIRE BODY in an hour. The results I began seeing in weeks and am now seeing months after are priceless.
- Eating Right (Nutrition): I really underestimated just how much of an impact eating right could have on my lifestyle. I've never really been the healthiest eater, since a very young age I struggled to include fruits and vegetables into my diet. Nonetheless, my metabolism took care of my body so I didn't really think changing my eating habits was necessary. However, I realized that my increasing tiredness had a lot to do with the fact that I wasn't feeding my body the right kind of "fuel". By changing what I was putting into my body, incorporating more greens and natural foods, excluding highly processed meals and taking in the right vitamins and minerals, I could see a major change in my energy and mood. I encourage you all to experiment with different dietary combinations. Remember, eating right does not mean getting rid of all of your favorite foods, it just means finding stability and moderating the things that don't entirely benefit you as they should.
- Therapy/Meditation: There are many ways you can approach this habit. If you are comfortable enough to let others in and speak on the things that are causing you to feel overwhelmed, then therapy could be the right approach for you. I was very skeptical of this step, as I was never really the type of person to openly speak to strangers about the things that were troubling me. However, I was amazed by how much it helped me to find someone whom I could openly pour my worries, concerns, and thoughts out to. Now, if therapy isn't the right path for you, then meditation could certainly be a good alternative. I have to say, I underestimated meditating a lot, mainly because I just didn't entirely understand what it took to "meditate". Nevertheless, I gave it a shot, bought myself an essential oils diffuser, played some soothing background music, and essentially meditated for approximately 30 minutes a day. This has proven to be the breath of fresh air that I so desperately needed in my days.
- Spending time with friends and family: This is probably the easiest habit, but possibly one whose importance we constantly overlook. Allowing yourself time to unwind with your closest friends is very important in giving yourself a "break" from your hectic lifestyle. Whether it be meeting for brunch, watching a movie, chit chatting over a glass of wine or any other activity, spending time with your loved ones is sure to get you feeling good. We all need time with those closest to us, and this is a great way to both connect and give yourself a bit of downtime/fun.
- Nature! Spend some time outdoors: This one could easily be combined with any of the habits above. Spending time outdoors is by far one of the most important habits we could adopt. There is nothing better than allowing yourself to soak up some sun, breathe in some pure fresh air, and explore the wonders the world has to offer. Whether it be hiking, spending time at the beach, going on bike rides, or simply reading a good book in your backyard/front porch, make sure you're spending a considerable amount of time outdoors. There is no better environment to clear your head in.
It is hard to describe how immensely the above habits have helped me and allowed me to take a huge weight off of my shoulders. I now feel like I can enjoy life more freely, and that I am making my time on this earth count. Although I didn't decrease my responsibilities, and in some cases, I might have taken on even more. I am now more aware of how to handle "it" all. I urge you to all try some or all of the above habits! I'd love to hear if and how these habits have changed you, just as they have surely changed me.