How to Overcome Stress By Embracing It

For a long time I’ve prided myself on my emotional stability. When people ask me to describe myself in x number of words, I usually throw in “easy-going”. It’s hard to make me angry (but please don’t try, haha), and I find it pretty easy to let things go.

The emotion that I’ve always wanted to control the most was stress. My weekly planning sessions, detailed to-do lists, daily habits, and self-imposed time limits are all tools that I use to keep a strong grip on life and to achieve as much peace as possible. You see, I don’t just want to manage stress; I want to have so much control that I can avoid it in the first place.

Sometimes, however, the stress bubbles up and I realize that maybe I haven’t been avoiding it so much as suppressing it. A particular day from junior year comes to mind. It is a Tuesday afternoon. I’ve been helping to plan a huge volunteering event for nine months and it is only two days away. I’ve never felt more anxious. That entire day I simply couldn’t get myself to calm down. After school and and a planning meeting, I was having a quick snack and hanging out with my family when I just burst into tears. My parents were taken aback, and so was I. (They made me some calming tea and made me watch some TV before I went back to work, love them)

That definitely wasn’t the first or the last time that I’ve felt that heart-racing, drowning in piles of work feeling. I came to view it as something unavoidable. Those moments sucked, but with all of the stresses of daily life, they’re bound to happen, right?

One day, however, I stumbled upon a revolutionary thought that shook up the way that I viewed stress, work, and life. What if stress… wasn’t bad.

Okay, okay, hear me out. Don’t click away from my blog just yet.

I did some thinking and noticed that I wasn’t stressed in the quiet periods of my life. I was stressed only when I was conquering big, important projects that always left me a better person—more confident and more skilled. It was always worth it. So what if we acknowledged stress for what it really was - a sign that we are challenging ourselves and doing big things with our life?

Instead of focusing on pushing it away, what if we stepped back, acknowledged how it made our body feel, and allowed it to exist as we continued on with our efforts?

What if instead of condemning stress and doing everything in our power to rid our lives of the negative feelings we associate with it, we put on our scientist goggles and looked it at it from a different perspective? What if we recognized stress as the physiological changes that are working to prepare you for the challenges you are facing?

Let me clarify - chronic stress is not good for you. You should not be feeling constantly overwhelmed, because that is actually very harmful to your health. But if you can learn how to view the stressful periods of your life in a more positive light, you can actually reduce your overall stress.

Try this

It wouldn’t be a Bliss Bean blog post if I didn’t give you some practical steps to follow, so here ya go. When you’re feeling stressed, here’s a practice you can try:

  1. Set a timer to meditate (or no timer is fine, too).

  2. Sit somewhere comfortable and peaceful.

  3. Begin by taking deep breaths and focusing on your breath.

  4. Then do a body scan to see where you can feel the stress. Don’t try to change it, just observe it. Work as slowly as you can.

  5. Continue to breathe deeply into the uncomfortable feelings and let your thoughts float through your head without paying particular attention to any of them.

Here’s a challenge

This week, take note of when you feel stressed (try using your phone, like a notes app, or a mood tracking app to make it easier). At the end of the week, take a look at what achievements your stress helped you to accomplish. How did viewing stress in a positive way help you to manage it more effectively?

Before I finish this post, an important reminder:

Remember to ask for help if you need it, and talk to your physician or other qualified health provider if you need help managing your stress/depression/anxiety. Take care of yourself.

I also wanted to announce that I am having a BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY to celebrate the fact that I am turning 18 on Friday! I partnered up with some of my favorite brands and threw in a couple of goodies that I bought myself in order to provide you with a package of my most favorite snacks and ingredients to use in healthy cooking.

All you have to do to enter is head to the Instagram post below and follow the steps before Friday, December 21st at 5PM CST! (all of the rules and details are in the caption)

Good luck!

What is something that stress has helped you to accomplish recently?

Lots of love!
Beatrice x

The 5 Things You Should Do to Reset When You're Feeling Stuck

Have you ever felt like you desperately just needed a reset button? Like when something in your day goes wrong, or you’ve been unproductive, and your schedule is thrown off. All you want is a second chance to do it right and to get things done.

For me, I always get the urge to just go to bed. I’m a total morning person and mornings reset me. But what if it’s noon? Or if there’s still a lot you need to get done? Going to bed isn’t an option and you need something that will bring you out of your funk. So in this post, I want to share with you a few things that you can do when you need a RESET.

Oh and, psst, here are the rest of the posts from the Bliss Bean March self care series! 

13 Ways to Show Yourself Love (Self Care Ideas) 
1: How I Deal with Perfectionism  + 28-day Self Care Challenge
2: 50 MORE Self Care Ideas for Total Wellness  
3: 23 Resources (Books, Websites, Videos & more) to Continue your Self Care Revolution
4: The Cost of Perfectionism - My Journey pt. 1 (through 10th grade)
5: The Cost of Perfectionism - My Journey pt. 2 (junior year + changes)
6: you're reading it!

1. Talk to someone

I’m putting this first because I think that going out into the world widens your perspective. When we’re working hard on homework, our jobs, blogging, etc. (the grind never stops) our perspective shrinks. For hours we’ve been looking at the same room, same computer, doing the same things. Our problems feel magnified because they are all we see. If we take the time to talk to people, we realize that, yes, the world is still turning even though to us it feels like the day is irreversibly ruined!

When I need to talk to someone, I usually just go downstairs to talk to my family. If you live alone, it can be a bit harder. You could go on a walk. I’m not saying you need to go up to everyone you meet on your walk and become best buddies with them, but just seeing other people will help. The idea is the same. You see that life goes on, and you can go on, too!

Harder: Go out and talk to a family member or friend face-to-face.
Medium: Call up a friend and have a quick conversation to catch up.
Easier: Go outside for a quick walk.

2. Fresh air

I think we all intuitively know that being outside invigorates us. So, you probably don’t need me to bust out any science but HERE IS IT ANYWAYS: According to a 2010 study in the Environmental Science & Technology journal, it only takes 5 minutes of being outside to get a mood-boosting effect. Alright, are you convinced? 

Harder: Go outside for a quick walk or a jog. Preferably, don’t listen to anything and allow your mind a little bit of quiet space.
Medium: Step outside for a few minutes.
Easier: Open a window wherever you are working. Even if it’s cold. You can close it after a minute, but the cold will invigorate you!

My Perfectionism Story (School Years) Date (YYYYMMDD) (5 of 5).jpg

3. Exercise

This morning I was at Turbo Kick. It was omgmylegsburn HARD. Near the end, we were doing this move called “fire throws” (which is hard to describe but you sort of go side to side, throwing your arms toward one side and bringing the opposite leg up). Basically, it’s super cathartic. The teacher yelled at us (in the most encouraging way) to throw away whatever was bothering us. I immediately thought of the unproductive day I’d had. Her words struck a chord, and I threw away my negative thoughts with all of my strength.

And you don’t need to physically act out throwing away your bad mood in order to get a benefit from exercise (if you feel silly doing that), because all exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you feel goooood. Plus, it gives your mind a chance to focus on something not work-related!

Harder: Go to the gym or find a home workout you can do. If you’re having trouble finding the motivation, go to a group class or invite a friend to exercise with you.
Medium: Do the 7-minute workout.
Easier: Quick! Do 15 jumping jacks, 10 pushups, 15 squats, and 5 burpees. How do you feel?
Also easier: Do a headstand. You definitely have to activate your core, so it’s physically challenging, but there’s also just something about getting upside down that is so refreshing. I do it whenever I take a break from homework. It’s not weird, I promise!!

An actual entry from my journal and partly the inspiration for this post :)

An actual entry from my journal and partly the inspiration for this post :)

4. Journal

Sometimes when you’re feeling stuck you just need to have a good talk with yourself. And while you could just sit down and talk to yourself (which is actually beneficial) it can help to have it down in writing. It forces you to slow down in your thinking and dump all of your thoughts out in a tangible way. So get out your journal and just start writing. Need a journaling prompt? HERE’S ONE: “Man, today I feeI like sh*t...” :)

I usually like to list out how I’m feeling and what is bothering me. Then I make a written game plan for what I’m going to do next, and give myself a pep talk. Honestly, never underestimate the power of giving yourself a pep talk. 

Easier: There is no "easier". Just do it. Seriously.

5. Recognize when it’s time to throw in the towel

Sometimes you try it all but you just feel spent. Mentally, physically, or even both. In that case, the best thing to do is to just give yourself permission to relax. And I totally realize how hard that is, I do. It’s hard to tell if you’re really too tired to keep going, or if you could crank out another to-do if you just “got yourself together”. 

If you’re having trouble letting go, try doing it with intention. Don’t just plop down in front of the TV mindlessly but instead make a decision about what you’re going to do to relax, why you’re going to do it, and if you’ve got a busy day ahead of you and really feel like you need to, the amount of time that you will spend relaxing. 

The process of resetting is really personal. Things that one person finds relaxing can make another person grumpy. Like baths. I don’t know why, I've tried bath bombs, bubbles, books, music, I just can't "bathe". So that's why I tried to include only very open-ended tips on here, but what do I know? Maybe you absolutely hate the outdoors and you can’t stand the smell of fresh air. Please, if that is the case for you, don’t listen to tip #2. You do you.

So as you’re journaling, try and make note of what works for you and what doesn’t. Did you go do cartwheels in your yard and now you feel amazing? Well, what are you doing sitting around here for?? Go do more cartwheels in your yard!

But in all seriousness, it’s important to have a plan. Because while this all may seem easy right now, the times when you need a reset are often the times when it’s most difficult to take the time to actually do one. I would suggest writing these steps on a notecard or something, and pinning them to your wall (and by that I mean your real, physical wall and not your Pinterest board). 

And remember - we ALL (literally all of us, please e-mail me if you are an exception because I would love to learn from you) feel stuck sometimes. The most important thing to remember? Maybe the thing I should have put as the #1 tip if it weren’t so gosh darn simple? Remember that IT IS OKAY.

It’s okay.

What do you do when you feel stuck?

Happy Sunday x