There’s only 24 hours in a day. Believe me, I know. I can be busy and make myself the most jam packed schedule there is. How about you? Can you be busy AF too? If you’re nodding your head, this blog post is for you.
I’m writing this blog post with a sheet mask on my face, the sun beaming in from my windows, and the one and only Nina Simone playing in the background. This is one of my many ways of destressing. I love face masks, I love to write, I love the sun, and I love Nina. But let’s talk about some general steps in destressing when you're busy AF
Recognize Your Stress - First and foremost, it’s important that you recognize stress when it arises. Your body has its own way of telling you that it’s stressed. When you feel it in your shoulders, acknowledge it. When you feel it with headaches, acknowledge it. When you feel it in your hands, acknowledge it.
I remember when I would not simply acknowledge that I was stressed. My stress shows up in my shoulders and in my upper back. Years ago, I would keep going through the stress and not pay attention to it until it became a real necessity. Once I could barely move my shoulders or stretch my back, I would begin to slow down or take it easy somehow.
Today, I recognize my stress when it arises. As soon as my shoulders start reaching toward my ears and my upper back is hunching forward, I know something is up. I no longer ignore it. I no longer push it aside. I’m no longer too busy to recognize my stress.
We all have different ways of stress showing up in our bodies. Whether it’s a headache, backache, or toothache, it’s important in the destress process to first recognize where that stress comes up. Next, it’s pertinent to discover what our hobbies and passions are that will combat that stress.
Discover your Destress Activities - You have those things. Those things that you love to do when your brain is jelly. Those things that you love to come to when you’re mentally exhausted. Those things that you appreciate when you need to destress. What are your things?
Mine took a while to discover. It took until my hospitalization for major depression disorder in 2014 to find out what I needed. Now I know them and do them as often as I can financially, physically, and emotionally.
My destress activities include the following: talk-therapy, yoga (as a student), writing on this blog, face masking, lifting weights, diffusing essential oils, lighting my salt lamp, reading an inspirational book, talking to ladies in my Self Soul Sport community, and stir frying vegetables in my kitchen. They took a while to discover, especially my love for having a therapist. But they’re now activities that I commit to.
This second step is all about our discovery. It’ll take some time before we find our go-to activities for destressing. It can mean that we’ll need to try something new or commit to something we need. It’s up to us to find and identify our destress activities. Then, it’s up to us to schedule them.
Create a Destress Routine - Okay, what are those activities that destress you? Write them down or make a mental note of them. Then you create a routine around them. Yup, that’s the third step in your destressing journey.
Once I discovered what made me less stressed, I wouldn’t schedule them. I would do them sporadically, without any sort of rhyme or reason. That soon became a problem because I wasn’t balancing out my stress and destress. So I decided to start scheduling time to destress.
Today, my calendar is full of destress activities (almost daily!). I schedule a yoga, Pilates, or barre class on Mondays. I do a mask or listen to music on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays are my weight lifting, heart bumping days. Saturdays are also my “love days" (date myself or dates with friends). Sundays are my soul days, masking, writing to you, and scheduling my week. I intentionally left out Fridays because those are my days where I work the hardest with either clients or brands. But notice how I’ve still created a routine.
When we create a routine, it allows us to commit. In order to destress, we need to schedule it or it won’t get done. We’ll come up with better things to do or more stressful activities to add to our schedule. But let’s be honest, sometimes it’s hard to even stick to that routine.
Stick to that Routine (no matter what) - You’ve created your routine and set your days/times to destress. Now what happens if you get an invite to that event? Now what happens if you get a text for that party? Now what happens if you get that desire to schedule something else? Let’s talk about this, and as always, I’m the guinea pig.
I’ve created my routine and it’s something I’m not moveable on. Literally. No one can schedule with me on nights before I wake up to teach yoga at 4am (Tuesdays to Thursdays). No one can see me on a Friday unless you’re paying for my business somehow. No one can invite me to another workout class on a Monday because I’m not going. That’s it.
That said, I’ve had to use wisdom sometimes. If a huge brand wants to work with me, believe me, I will realign my schedule. Or if a huge family event occurs, I will be flexible. However, it takes a lot to get to that decision. Unfortunately, it does mean that I have to miss out on things, like spending time with niece or seeing friends more than once a month. I say this to say: it’s all a matter in sticking to the routine.
We’ve got routines for a reason. Our destress routine is just as important as washing our asses and brushing our teeth. If we’re stressed, we’re rendered useless for any of the other routines anyway. But let’s get to the finisher. The big last step.
Get Rid of the Stress Culprit/s - I left this last on purpose. This is the hardest step. This is probably the hardest part of the destress process because it means you might have to let some shit go. You might have to say "buh-bye" to that person that stresses you the fuck out. You might have to say “see yah” to that career that gives you no life. You might have to say “adios” to that monthly event that you do because you were told it’s somehow important.
In the first step, I talked about recognizing stress. Well, I recognized them through my body and noticing patterns after my days. I noticed it stresses me out to be alone for long periods of time. I’m the classic extrovert. I realized not moving my body at least five times a week made me tense. I also recognized that I strongly wanted to work for myself.
So there it goes. I got rid of all of those stressors. I schedule time around or with or people. I move my body almost every single day. And now, I work for myself. I came to the culprits of my stress by recognizing my body after them, then I slow began to get rid of them or implement the opposite of them.
So how do we get rid of our stress culprit/s? We just do. We plan our exit strategy. Whether that’s an email, whether that’s a conversation, whether that’s a whole entire life adjustment, we do that shit. We get rid of it. While we can be as profound as we want about getting rid of stress, there’s nothing to it but to do it. If we need help, we can seek guidance through therapy (I do this) or a coach (I do this too and will offer sessions soon!).
Okay, it’s up to you to destress! It’s entirely up to you. I’ve laid out these steps because they’ve personally helped me. I wouldn’t steer you wrong. I think we know each other by now, right?! I’m your cheerleader! If you want to destress, it’s important that you recognize how stress shows up for you, discover the activities that you love, plan those activities, and stick to doing them.
Most importantly, get rid of what’s stressing you! It could take a day, a week, or maybe years, but know that when you let it go, that’s when the best remedy to distressing.
How do you destress? Are there any activities that you’re going to dedicate time to after reading? Share some below!