We’ve just been through an extremely stressful few months (and it looks like it may continue for a while). I’m sure most people can relate. I’m terrible when it comes to managing stress. I became burned out, overwhelmed, and emotional. I had pretty much no motivation to do anything, which is also why it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve been working to make changes in my life to help manage stress. Here are a few things that have helped.
1. Simplify my life
I’ve been spending a lot of time at home. Less distractions have given me more free time. I’ve spent lots of time watching Netflix. But I’ve also been working on creative projects. Being productive helps me feel better. It’s also given me more opportunities for much-needed quiet time (since I’m living with a stir-crazy extrovert).
2. Limit social media
I like to stay on top of what’s going on in the world but I found that I was getting overwhelmed with negative news. Now I only check the news once a day and limit my time on social media. I’ll also connect with friends and close family when I need a positive boost.
3. Take time for passions
I have a big list of creative projects I want to work on. Having more free time has given me the chance to start on a few of them. It’s been so much fun and has brought some extra joy into my life.
4. Take care of myself
I’ve been trying to take better care of myself. I’ve been working on getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, eating healthy, and cutting out processed foods. I’ve also been trying to go for more walks outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and working out 2-3 times a week. These small steps have helped me feel a lot better. I’m also taking time to recharge as I need.
5. Create a quiet oasis
My room is my escape but it was getting a bit cluttered and busy. So I removed all the clutter, did a deep clean, and organized whatever was left 🙂 I also added some greenery. It’s become the perfect little oasis to recharge and relax. There is a sense of peace as soon as I walk in.
These are a few things that have helped me. How have you been coping? Anything that has helped you over the last few months?
I recently wrote about my busy weekend and my struggles before and during. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. One of my biggest problems was that I didn’t prepare for the weekend like an introvert. I was so focused on finishing all the tasks that I neglected to take care of myself. I assumed I’d have enough energy. Even though I hadn’t taken steps to recharge along the way. I wanted to share a few tips I’ll be using to avoid this problem in the future.
1. Schedule quiet time.
Plan for quiet time both before and after the event. Choose activities that are relaxing and rejuvenating. Write it in the calendar. Then follow through. If you can’t take a large chunk of time, take advantage of small moments of quiet. Some time is always better than none.
2. Embrace the unexpected.
As an introvert, I’m a planner. There’s nothing more satisfying than when a plan works out perfectly. But life is unpredictable and messy. I need to be okay with this. Having a flexible mindset doesn’t make the problems go away. But accepting that things can go wrong helps me to react more positively to changes and difficulties.
3. Mentally prepare.
I know that by going to a social event, I’ll be interacting with people. It will be draining. I try to remind myself that this is a perfectly normal feeling. I’m not weird or strange. I may not experience social events like an extrovert but I can certainly enjoy it my own way.
4. Dress for success.
When I wear something that makes me feel confident, that feeling extends to my interactions with others. I also try to wear something that’s fairly comfortable. When I start getting burned out, my physical sensations are heightened and wearing chafing or tight clothing makes me feel worse.
5. Plan your exit (in advance).
Before you even arrive at the event, set up a rough timeline. Decide what time you’re going to leave and give yourself permission to do so. If the time arrives and you want to stay longer, that’s great. But keep checking in with yourself. Try to leave before burnout sets in. It’s a lot easier to recharge a partially-filled battery than an empty one. Don’t feel guilty for leaving early. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do.
Do you have any other tips?
This past couple of weeks has been insane. I’ve been in preparation mode for a number of events, activities, and projects. With everything culminating this past weekend. As the deadline approached, I spent every spare moment finishing projects, organizing people, and working out last-minute details. Everything went well and it was a fun weekend. But I failed to get the necessary solitude during crunch time and it made an impact.
As a result, I was really struggling with burnout during the weekend, and especially on Sunday. My roommate and I had social activities on both Friday and Saturday. We then attended a local convention Sunday morning and afternoon. After that, we went out for bowling and dinner with friends. By the end of the night, I was highly irritable, emotional, and incapable of communicating coherently. I sat there miserably while the conversation flowed over me. It’s been a long time since I’ve been that burned out.
It’s Friday now and I’m still in recovery mode. Fortunately, this week has been a lot kinder. I went to dance class on Wednesday which was amazing. Both workouts and dance are great stress-relief outlets for me. I also spent all of Thursday evening relaxing quietly in my room which helped a lot.
I failed to plan for quiet time to recharge as I went through those two weeks. I thought I’d be okay if I just kept pushing myself. But I can’t survive on a filled-up social calendar with no time to recharge. Spring and summer are already looking pretty busy. So I need to be more proactive so I don’t end up burned out again. Lesson learned for sure.
Do you have any plans this weekend?
It’s been about a year since I first stepped into the dance studio. I was an awkward beginner with little dance experience. Since then I’ve developed into a slightly less awkward dancer with slightly more experience. It’s been a journey full of sweat, hard work, and sore muscles. But there have been so many positive things too. I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned from taking ballroom and latin dance classes.
1. Embrace the process
Learning anything new is hard. You’re put through situations that aren’t mentally or physically comfortable. But don’t fight it. When you accept the discomfort it doesn’t necessarily make it easier. But you can see how each step contributes to making you better. It’s all leading to self-improvement.
2. Making mistakes is okay (and normal)
With dance, you’re learning to move your body in completely foreign ways. You will eventually mess up your footwork or step on some toes. Mistakes are a normal part of any learning process. So try not to get too frustrated. The only difference between you now, and what you can become, is time and experience.
3. The value of discipline
It’s not easy to show up each week and put in the work. It takes sacrifice and dedication. You might not feel like going. I usually don’t, even though I love to dance. This creates positive habits and contributes to building the discipline needed to achieve your goals.
4. Increased social skills
Partner dance provides an excellent opportunity for social interaction. Firstly, dancing is a great icebreaker. Secondly, both of you are interested in dance, so you can skip the small talk and jump straight into an animated conversation about your favourite dance style. This is especially great for an introvert who loathes small talk.
5. More confidence
I used to walk with a slouch, trying to take up as little space as possible. But over the past year, I’ve noticed that I’ve straightened up, and not just when I dance. I feel surer of myself and am more likely to contribute to group conversations. And I’m excited for the continued growth.
6. How to push out of the comfort zone
Taking my first step into the dance studio was nerve-wracking. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know if I’d have a partner. I was afraid that I’d mess up and look dumb. But we’re capable of so much more than we think. Taking that first step, regardless of how hard it was, was totally worth it. I’ve made new friends and learned a lot. The positive feedback has encouraged me to push myself even more.
7. The importance of self-care
Dancing uses a lot of muscles you don’t normally use. As a result, you end up with tight and sore muscles after most sessions. To avoid injury, you need to take care of yourself through foam rolling, gentle stretching, hot baths, massage, etc. It’s equally important to make sure you’re well-rested and have quiet time before and after dance class to prep and unwind.
8. How to be vulnerable
Dance encourages you to express yourself through movements and styling. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable to “let go”. As a reserved person, it took a long time before I felt comfortable enough to try latin dance. And even longer before I felt comfortable using arm styling and hip action. Embracing discomfort and expressing yourself honestly helps build connections and confidence.
What are some things you’ve learned through a hobby or sport?