Two years ago, I had a discussion with a friend concerning how stressed I was at the time. He looked at me, smiled and said: “You don’t look stressed one bit. Besides, what is stressing you out? You’re too young to say you’re stressed.” I was upset for even blurting out my pain and attempting to confide in him and that taught me three things.
- You can’t confide in everyone.
- Not everyone will relate to your story/situation.
- Looks truly can be very deceptive.
Looking back at the time, I was 22, a fresh graduate, working four different jobs with tight schedules I had to navigate every single day. I was a content writer and digital marketer, a facilitator, an usher and a baby sitter. Bills had to be paid and sitting around doing nothing wasn’t going to make that possible in any way. So, I did the needful.
Fast forward to two years later, I still have different stressors, but have somehow been able to deal with them. How? Sometimes, different strategies help to tackle same problems. What is stress? What are stressors? How can stress be dealt with?
From a dictionary definition, stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension, resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Stressors are simply things that cause stress. These stressors can stem from traumatic events, life demands, medical emergencies, relationship conflicts, hectic schedules, job demands, job loss, job hunting, automobile issues, bills, loneliness, school work, hunger, family problems and expectations, daily inconveniences, personal safety, relocation, house hunting, self-esteem, and the list is endless. Also, stressors have different durations, intensity, predictability and controllability. It may be temporal, something that can be handled effortlessly, maybe a one-off and can be controlled, but other times, the reverse might just be the case.
Naturally, stress causes strain and tension and it can negatively affect ones health, mood, productivity, esteem, relationships and the general quality of life of an individual. You can check up how stress can affect any of the above stated areas of your life and you’ll be shocked to know that even the slightest headache is caused by a stressor.
Personally, I try as much as I can to deal with the everyday stress I go through from work, relationships, health and just every stressor including the news headline. How? I make conscious efforts- which in itself is stressful- to know my triggers. Why? Knowing the stressors in your life and the things that trigger them will help you deal with stress better. Here’s a list of ways I deal with stress:
- I understand that I can’t control everything, but I can control how I react to everything. With everything, I mean a neighbor’s loud and disturbing knock for help or loud generator, a lousy and abusive taxi driver, a disorganized house mate, an insensitive response from a friend, an annoying and humiliating boss, terrible network reception, an impromptu rainfall and a lot more. Some people may never understand your situation at the time, and some things may never change, but being able to control your reaction to that stressor is what saves you from letting stress get the best of you.
- I disconnect from work, things, people and situations at every chance I get. Like, stay off social media, turn off the news and listen to music instead, see a movie after a long day, read a novel or some book away from a self-help subject, journal, take a walk, take a long shower, visit a friend, turn off my mobile phone and stay away from calls and messages for a while, try out a new skill or hobby, or just do anything that will help me disconnect from stressors.
- I get enough sleep at every opportunity I get.
- I say “No” without feeling guilty.
- I manage my time to do what I need to do and try as much as possible to do something that makes me happy in-between or at the end of a long day.
- I make out time for fun and relaxation alone or with friends.
- I talk to someone I know I can confide in.
These are ways I have been able to deal with stress, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. However, making conscious efforts to deal with a problem is the only way you tackle it. You can’t avoid stress or try to cope with it. Instead, it’s best you deal with it knowing that it’s the only way out. How do you deal with stress?