Wednesday, March 30, 2016

How to unwind and de-stress and why it's important.

We all have those overwhelming moments where we feel an abundance of stress, accumulating inside us to the point of explosion. We may snap at anyone and everyone, feel flustered, maybe even have an un-welcomed headache to top it all off. Don't worry, everyone has their moments. Stress can be a silent killer in many different forms. It can lead to forgetfulness (due to constantly being flustered), heart problems (you heart rate goes up when you're upset), and high blood pressure. Nobody needs those. How you choose to deal with stress, is key to having your inner peace return quickly. As a single mom, whose also an extreme introvert, with severe anxiety and frequent panic attacks in social settings (along with mild depression), let me just say that I have learned a few tricks on how to create a serene state of mind even in the most stressful of situations. 

My most stressful moments are when I'm preparing to deal with a group of people, whether it be in a mall, grocery store, park, work, or friendly gathering. I force myself to go out and experience these harsh realities, because otherwise I'd be a hermit wrapped in a blanket burrito, only ever opening for my son to join my fortress of "no one", and what kid wants to live that kind of life? In the beginning I try to talk to myself, reminding myself of the positives and how this is never as bad as I make it to be. For example, I'm not going to a massive judgment frenzy at the Trader Joe's, where I'll be ridiculed, laughed at, and mocked. I'm simply just going grocery shopping. A man by the name of Sean Stephenson wrote an e-book called "How to stay positive when life gets crazy". This very inspiring man read a small excerpt from his book, where he goes on to explain about how him and a friend has gone grocery shopping. At the store, when Sean's friend had reached for a box from the frozen food aisle, all the boxes had tumbled down. Sean's friend has imploded and on the car ride home, Sean asked why his friend had reacted the way he did. Not in a ridiculing way, but in a way to understand. When Sean's friend answered, "If the workers had done their job right, that wouldn't of happened", Sean offered another way of viewing the scenario. Instead of seeing it as the boxes falling, because a worker did their job poorly, what if you just saw it as the boxes falling. The entire point is that we make each situation as meaningful as we choose. If something stressful or negative happens to you, it's only as bad as you make it. Try to remind yourself that the situation just simply is and their is no underlying cause. Trust me, it makes for a less anxious time while trying to pick out papaya. 

After I've pushed myself for the day and mingled amongst the "muggles" and "padawans", I find myself still a bit on edge. I do my best to try and complete some sort of task that will simply let my mind escape, allowing it to relax and let the earlier events be surpassed by what I'm doing at that moment. My number one way is something artisitc. Now, some people may not be an fan of arts and crafts, but that's ok. The point is to de-stress in a way that takes your entire thought process to focus on. Video games, reading, taking a silent (or music filled) bubble bath, exercise, or watching TV/YouTube/Netflix. I myself do all of these from time to time, along with my artistic wind down. As long as you have time for yourself to really get enjoy something fully, you'll be able to survive another night with your brain. 

Since I was a little girl, I always loved music. At my abuelita's house, I would create my own "songs" on the piano and learn ACTUAL songs to play. The melodies and rhythms would soothe my soul and to this day I play to find peace. You may not see this as "artistic", but in reality all music is an art of itself. To create any type of beat takes creativity, which is where art streams from. Another favorite way of mine to include music into my wind down sessions, is by listening to two of my absolute favorite records, Frank Sinatra and Christmas hymns and carols. (I have quite a few favorites, but these two in particular are good for my wind down, as Guns N' Roses isn't exactly calming for me. But hey, maybe it will help you.) Frank's soothing voice takes me to a time where I feel I would've thrived. I'm an eclectic human being with many sides to her, and one of my sides is an old soul. I feel alive whenever I hear swing music, I can never remember what I was upset for in the first place. Easy going, smooth lyrics, and a passion heard through every tune. Thank you Frank! My Christmas hymns and carols are a favorite of mine (really it's ANY Christmas son, hymn, or carol), because who can be mad when Christmas music is playing? I mean really, try single Jingle Bells with a pissed off attitude. You just sound silly. Thinking of all the beautiful decorations, the sweet smell of a Douglas Fir filling the house, lights glowing all night through, and beautiful miracles being granted everyday. If you can't tell, Christmas is a HUGE love of mine. Not for the presents, but because it's a time (like any time really) for giving. It's a time to show people all around you, even those you don't know, that they are worth it. That they are listened to, cared about, and loved. Any music can just help to let out all the stress. Maybe you want loud music to just scream along with, or pop music to dance your heart out, or maybe you just want some classical melodies to slow your heart rate and relax. Regardless your choice, stress be gone!

My second de-stresser(s) are definitely drawing, playing with clay and painting. Artsy stuff. I remember always trying to exude my creativity everywhere, even as a child. I loved the idea of creating something from my imagination and showcasing it for the world to see. While some may not understand the significance (mostly as I got older), others found it interesting. Causing inquisitive minds to think is always fun, but when it's just for me I tend to draw or paint things that I feel express peace, tranquility, and a feeling that I wish to experience. I know, I'm getting a little too deep, but the point is drawing is an excellent time to get your mind off of the stressful moments in life. You could draw all your favorite superheros, characters from a movie, or maybe even a really silly picture with your kids. If you throw yourself into it, you wont have time to worry. You could even start a journal filled with drawings and write around each drawing to let out all you're feeling. I carry mine with me everywhere I go and it's definitely comforting to know I have easy access to my personal de-stresser. 

If you've read my article on adult coloring book, then you'll already know that I am an avid color-er now. If you haven't, you can check out that post HERE. Coloring in general is a lot like painting or drawing, except the lines have already been created for you. The reason I admire adult coloring books, is because they have a few that are quite time consuming and intricate, allowing my mind to be fully focused on the task at hand. With the tiny lines, beautiful drawings, and endless possibilities, how can you NOT want to color?! They've even talked about how adult coloring books have helped people with dementia, cancer patients, and a those with other ailments, which you can read about in my "adult coloring" post as well.

Stress and anxiety can be a pain in the bundt cakes and can ruin an entire week if you let it. The good news is it doesn't have to. I've dealt with massive panic attacks in public before and had to whip out my coloring book, iPod, or just start drawing in my journal. I know what it's like to have so much built up anxiety, crave to do something productive. Then you find yourself with 22 missed phone calls about someone else's "personal emergency" that they can't deal with alone, your child falls and hurts their knee, your boss can't find a particular file and is pissed, you're receiving endless text messages about you not answering, and you feel like every single person in the universe is staring at you and your crying child with thee most judgmental looks possible, all while you yourself have to pee and haven't eaten, so you're shaking from too much coffee. Breathe. No one is staring at you and even if they are, they truly don't matter. Start humming a song to yourself, comfort your crying child, whip out the secret Trader Joe's lollipop you have stashed in your purse for occasions just like this, head to the bathroom, grab a banana, explain to your boss that the file is his top drawer, ignore the text messages, and call your friend to explain how she herself needs to breathe. Then simply tell your friend to leave you a voicemail, because all-in-all, she just wants to say whats on her mind. Draw in your journal, go for an ice-cream run with your kiddo, and remember. You freakin' rock. 

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