“De-Stress Manual”

Written by: R. Theodora Appleton

First published by About Our Town Community News (print.) September 2015.

Imagine that you’re one of those plastic cereal box toys. There are thousands of Cocoa Pebbles surrounding you, but you’re a solid mass so they can’t get through to you. This is my stressor analogy. In life, there are hundreds of possible stressors at any given moment. It is your job to let the Cocoa Pebbles slide off of you; in other words, as busy people we need to learn the best mechanisms to keep stressors at bay.

Stress is a term that we are introduced to in middle school health class (as if we haven’t dealt with stress before the 6th grade!) High school health continues on with teaching about the woes of stress and peer pressure. So we finally get to college and they still try to help us manage stress and teach us about how to deal with it. Unlike the instruction before, at college they provide yoga classes, integrated info sessions, and even therapy!

In celebration of September and the beginning of a new season, I would like to share some ways to deal with stress and stressful situations. Some of these tactics I have used myself, some may work for you and others may not. This is one of the beauties of individuality.

The first step to de-stressing begins with detecting the stressor. This may be a challenge, especially if you feel stressed and can’t pinpoint the cause. Also, I encourage you to consider what type of personality you have. Are you a “works better under pressure” person or “I need to finish projects with an ample amount of time” person? Knowing a simple personality trait like this can save you from oodles of stress in the future.

The way that you deal with stress will heavily rely on your whereabouts when the stress creeps in. If you are in public during a stressful situation, you will find that trying out a couple of the de-stressing tactics may not be socially acceptable or comfortable for you.

At Home

-Take a shower and clear your mind

-Exercise

-Take a nap

-Weather permitting, sit outside and appreciate nature

-Stretch your body out, do yoga

-Practice deep breathing patterns

-Blast your favorite music and dance (really, dance with enthusiasm)

-Engage in an act of art (sing, paint, draw, write, play an instrument)

-Talk to someone*

Public

-Headphones in, music on, podcast on, or comedy station on

-Play a game

-Seek a place find where you can be alone

-Take a walk

-Talk to someone*

-Daydream

-Practice deep breathing patterns
I hope you get to use some of these tactics to your advantage. One thought that helps me beat my stresses of the day is thinking, “I will look back on this and it will be my past, not my present.” Take advantage of our brain capacity to understand time and how it can work in favor for us. Happy stress free September!

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