3 Ways to Address your Stress | Stress Awareness Month
April is Stress Awareness Month
With all of my #RealTalk about mental health and my dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression, it only makes sense to talk about this with you! Enter Shemiah Derrick, MA, who reached out via Instagram. She’s a therapist in the Chicago area and she’s basically amazing. So when she reached out about working together to spread our respective messages about mental health, of course I jumped right on board! I’m honored to introduce you to Shemiah Derrick, MA, and her amazing tips on identifying and addressing stress.
Every single human experiences stress.
Even the MVPs whose Instagram feed is lit all the time, whose skin looks amazing, whose outfits are always on point and they eat and drink the most delicious things and capture it in the perfect lighting in their selfie. They get stressed too – trust me.
Stress just looks different for everyone. Some are naturally optimistic and high performing so to others they don’t “look” stressed. Because stress can look so different from person to person, there isn’t a one size solves everything solutions. But there are some simple steps we can take to address our own stress.
- Name the feeling. – Sometimes you feel a little “off” or may be anxious but you can’t pinpoint how you feel. You may even know 100% that you are stressed – cool! Name the feeling. Literally say it out loud: “I am stressed/anxious/nervous/afraid.” All of these are variations of the feeling we know as stress. Owning it and saying it gives you a starting place and gets the thoughts out of your head.
- Find the source and take action. – Now that you know what is happening, you can find out what’s causing it. Ask yourself “What would make me feel better?” The answer to that question is usually directly related to the source of your stress. If you need a nap, it probably means you’re tired and not feeling your best so it’s hard to perform as well as you’d like. If you feel stressed in the morning on your way to work, there might be a person who you need to address some things with, a project that you may have to prioritize differently or ask for help with…or dust off the resume and look for an opportunity that serves you better. If you’re feeling financial strain, you may need to get a side hustle or redo your budget. I know – not exciting – but the ongoing stress about money isn’t either. You don’t have to feel stuck.
- Forgive yourself. – Wait, what? For what? Stress usually stems from a feeling that you are not in control or can’t gain control. Not true. You always have a choice. Forgive yourself even when you’ve made a mistake or didn’t handle something on time or as you intended. You’re human and there is nothing wrong with not being 100%. If you can’t follow your preference or vision, do your best and go with the next best thing.
Stress will come and go but it isn’t good when it goes on for too long.
Take note of what your stress feels like and have a plan for how to address it. We hear about “self care” all the time because it is SUPER important! Yoga, meditation and deep breathing are amazing. Maybe running or working out is more your thing. Or taking a break from the chaos of work to spend time with a friend or your partner gives you life. Whatever it is, do it early and often, close your eyes, take a deep breath, step back and handle it. You got this.
I’ve been applying these steps for addressing stress over the last week or so and they’ve been so so so helpful. I hope you’ll enjoy Derrick’s wisdom and bring some of it into your own life, too! Have any questions for her? Leave them in the comments below or reach her via Instagram @shemiahderrick
What do you do to deal with stress? What are your favorite methods of self care? Let me know below.