So your crush is seeing someone from the next town over, your bestie turns out to have more faces than a trick quarter, and algebra is not at all as advertised. And parents? Please. There are so many things to be legitimately stressed out about that we’re breaking out in a cold sweat just making up a list of them.
Before you add stress to your list of things to be stressed about, here are a few tried and true ways to manage the pressure, DIY-style—because for the love of pancakes, you’ve got to get it together. And while there are plenty of “people” who would be only too happy to “help,” maybe you just want to do it “on your own.”
Talking to a stranger in a strange place IS relaxing, don’t get me wrong—it’s kind of nice, after all, to unload on someone who isn’t allowed to not listen. But since 4.5 out of 5 friends think you’re the best listener they know, DIY by calling in some favors and talking it out to those who know your spectacular array of crap backwards and forwards. Remember that your friends won’t have all the answers, but they will be able to help you think through your options or listen to your donut-laden weeping. Isn’t that what friends are for?
Studies indicate that spending time with animals lowers stress. (This includes the strategically placed fish at the dentist, who are actually there strictly to convince you against all good sense that you should go in to a confined space with a fully armed hygienist.) If you have a dog and/or a guinea pig (or a cat that doesn’t want to eat your eyeballs), petting them, playing with them, and observing their darling antics will soothe you down a few notches. Don’t have a pet? Offer to walk a neighbor’s dog a couple of days a week (making cash money relieves stress, too). Don’t walk? No neighbors? Probably substituting videos of animals on YouTube won’t hurt.
Meditation, yes! Also, chances are you’re not getting nearly enough sleep given your current state. Meditation, napping sitting up—tomato, tomato. It’s all good in our book.
Country music might do the trick because (1) it’s soothing and twangy, (2) everything is worse for the people in a country song than it is for you, and (3) it’s what’s playing and you can’t get away from it. If you have a major game, match, or meet coming up, on the other hand, you might want something intense to pump you up because (1) Intense music can really pump you up. Bottom line: think about what’s swirling around your headspace during critical high-pressure moments—you’d be surprised how well you can manage your brain’s frantic jigs by changing the soundtrack.
Wait for it—people actually pay people to make art with them to work out their ish. Skip the middleman and head to the art store for some glitter and industrial-strength glue, or some beads, or some of those fun-smelling markers. Get a sketchbook-style journal and doodle out your heart (and brain) out, paint your nails crazy clever once a week, or just glue sequins to assorted items for a sparkles distraction. Whatever your medium or mode of expression, crafting and creating is all kinds of soothing.
Will you try any of these tricks next time you're freaking out? Do you have any foolproof ways to beat anxiety? PLEASE, DO SHARE.