Stress Awareness Month 2021: How do YOU deal with stress? — R Voice

Stress Awareness Month 2021: How do YOU deal with stress?

Andrea Hayward
Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 122 admin

Few of us are experts on managing stress but we all have our own way of dealing with things or situations that we find stressful. And this is exactly what I'd like to talk about for Stress Awareness Month 2021.

What are some of the things you do to deal with stress or alternatively, to de-stress?

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Answers

  • Mdumiseni Mazula
    Mdumiseni Mazula Member Posts: 7

    Well good morning,

    first off all if you are suffering from stress it's dangerous for your Brain body which means it's not healthy, that's why you must consult a doctor or go to a nearest pharmacy

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 122 admin

    Yes @Mdumiseni Mazula if the stress becomes chronic and difficult to manage by ourselves, then we should definitely consult a doctor. But what if the stress is not chronic and something you might be able to deal with by yourself at home? In this case, is there anything specific you usually do to destress or feel better?

    Personally, I like to get some distance from the thing or situation that's causing me stress. Going out for a walk, listening to some music, doing something mechanical like household chores, sleeping, and spending time with my cat also help me to destress. 😊

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 117 ✭✭✭✭

    @Andrea Hayward - Thanks for starting this discussion. I think it depends on the stress level. And if it is constructive or destructive stress. How much of control does one have as an individual over the source of stress and stress management.

    If it is mild and/or constructive and I have control over how I respond to the stress - I usually try to put things in perspective, give it some space and time, take a break - do something nice - rejuvenate with self-care - regroup and come back to the task at hand.

    Things I do to destress are really wide - depends on the specific circumstance. I try to listen to what my body/mind wants in the specific circumstance. Could be yoga, running, swimming, breathing techniques, hiking/travel, movies/documentaries, just chilling on the couch, sleeping (with or without medication 😁), saying hi to doggos belonging to strangers (🤣), chilling out with friends/social circles...writing, hanging out on RVoice, reading books, learning something new, music - listening/singing.....

    On the other end of the spectrum - if the stress is destructive and changing course of events is out of individual control (this happens in very complex situations with very high stakes, or in abusive situations....) - I think it is harder to manage just by ourselves.

    The best is to fall back on a support net (ergo, important to HAVE a support net), get professional help (therapy, medication, etc.), ramp up self-care to infinity, find directions for recourse and reporting (in case of abuse/harrassment) and worst case, find strategies to escape the situation with minimal damage to oneself - mind, body and spirit.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 122 admin

    @Raj sundaram thank you for your detailed response. I agree that how tend to deal with stress depends on the intensity and seriousness of the situation. I also love what you said about trying to listen to what your body/mind wants in a specific circumstance. I think this is a very effective way to destress without confining yourself to a specific set of activities that might not always work.

    P.S. The fact that you said hanging out on R Voice is one of the many things you do to destress is making me very emotional. It's just the kind of warm fuzzy feeling I needed on a Friday afternoon. So thank you 😘

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 122 admin

    @Roberto Spiezio thank you for sharing. 😊 I too try and get in as much exercise as possible, even if it's just a 20-minute walk. It does wonders to calm me down and help me destress.

    "Committing to trivial things that have nothing to do with academia" - I'm so glad someone brought this up. About a year before the pandemic changed our lives, I often felt like I was caught in a work-home-work loop. I felt as though I was either working or travelling to and from work. I would shrug away other activities that I could've been doing saying I didn't have the time. And although this was very true for me at the time, I learned overtime that things can be different if I tried to change them. I've now grown to manage my time better and am able to work as well as do other things completely unrelated to work that make me feel happy and peaceful. Thank you for bringing this perspective into the conversation. 🙂

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 32 ✭✭✭

    hi @Andrea Hayward , thank you for mention me to join this discussion.

    Destressing tips are very well listed by others above. I also do some of the tips, while some of them are new for me, such as the travel diaries of @Asli Telli. I will have a try. Here, I want to share the destressing action I do that is not included yet in the discussion.

    I usually get some distance from the stress source as you do. And then, I try to listen to my mind/soul as @Raj sundaram does. The specific thing I do for listening to my mind/soul is by talking to myself. I do a conversation to myself.

    I start by giving my empathy by saying to myself: "ow, you're stressful right now. I know. Come...sit down here". And then, I humbly talk about my feelings and the stress sources....I complain precisely 😁, "it's so stressful!!!!! why he doesn't understand me!!! why.....". The conversation is followed by tears, depending on the stress levels. The last, I ask myself what will I do...(1) feel better already and get back to work, (2) need other ears to hear my complains, (3) take longer time for giving the distance, (4) reach out others to help me finding solutions, such as through RV 😙, etc. I repeat the self-conversation every time during the hard time.

    I find this technique helping me a lot to understand my mind/soul in the real time. As consequence, I think I can manage my stress, at least as the first-aid. When I pass the stress, I come back to my self-conversation to appreciate myself.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 122 admin

    @Asli Telli well said! I fully understand where you're coming from when you say you've been yearning long café chats. Because of the how poor the situation has become in India, I haven't stepped into a café or even a restaurant for that matter, in over a year and I really miss it. I miss the company of good friends and being able to share laughs and stories at "our spot."

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 122 admin

    @Yufita Chinta you never cease to amaze me with your thoughts! ☺️ Thank you so much for adding this perspective to the conversation. I agree with you -- self-conversation, gently asking yourself what's wrong as you would a friend, and treating yourself with compassion and empathy during stressful times can work wonders. I have to admit that I haven't been doing this enough lately, but I'm surely going to practice this more actively now. Thank you for the reminder! 😘

  • Isurika Sevwandi
    Isurika Sevwandi Member Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    "The specific thing I do for listening to my mind/soul is by talking to myself. I do a conversation to myself" @Yufita Chinta stimulated me to continue supporting this discussion while I came to R voice after about a month of hard work with my undergraduate students on their research work and presentations.

    Well, self-talk has been the amazing stress releasing pill for me for a long time. When ever I get stressed up, I believe that I have my mother who is just like a friend to me who always embrace me and my ideas with no judgement (which is essential for a stressed person I guess). A person to hear when we recall our bleak memories is more precious than anything when we are deeply stressed up and find no way to go. Even though talking with my mother gives me such relaxing atmosphere, sometimes I feel that self-talk is my savvier for the reason that I can break my problems into teeny tiny pieces which gives me enough space to address each and every of them so that eventually I can understand there is nothing to ge stressed eventually and I have just mixed up everything for no reason and being emotional sometimes only hurt me.

    This perspective has always given me adequate strength to get back to work after a really stressful day or period of time giving me a ray of hope again reminding me why I started something. Understanding that we get stressed out mostly because we doing too much and sometimes expecting to much helped me to expect less from others directly but doing my best feeling that I deserve much though I get it or not. Expectations make us misery and sad most of the times but giving our best shot having the confidence to receive both stones and roses give much strength; specially for a sensitive girl like me who was grown up amidst much rewards from my family being the only child. I firmly believe that listening to ones' own voice is prominent to realize and then release stress; which most of good listeners often neglect to to. I do not find any other method working better than self talk because practicing self-talk is not only a temporary solution for today; but will be good practice to manage stress levels in the long run.

    Much thanks to Andrea Hayward for starting on this and nominating me to share my ideas. Totally agree with you on cats and pets overall. just a glimpse at my cat gives me much pure pleasure and afresh mindset whenever I feel depressed. Music too helps me sometimes specially if it is classical music at rainy evenings.

  • Mohamed Samunn
    Mohamed Samunn Member Posts: 6 ✭✭✭

    A good topic for discussion. I personally think that getting stressed and finding ways to de-stress is more or less a skill that every individual should have. Or it is more or less an executive functioning skill that everyone should develop.

    I do get stressed due to various factors. And half wain the process I get the alarm from my inner system that I am stressed. Then I will find ways to get myself distressed. I way a few ways to bring me back to my normalcy. First, I will come out of the situation which stresses me. Then, watching films, playing computer games, visiting friends, going on short trips, eating at restaurants, etc, etc, will help me to de-stress myself.

    I know if I allow my stress levels to build up I know where I will end up. So I manage my stress.

  • Hollie McDonnell
    Hollie McDonnell Member Posts: 6
    edited April 28

    I think the main way I manage to de-stress is to actively set aside and decide what time I'm setting aside to spend away from my work and research. I plan to do a hobby that I love; walking, gardening, watercolour painting, etc. and stick to this. I am very strict about allowing myself enjoyment and staying away from any sense of guilt at 'ignoring my work'.

    I think this is one of the biggest things that can really impact your stress levels and your work. There are 24 hours in the day. The least you can do is set aside half of one of those hours for yourself to do something you enjoy, guilt-free. I know we cannot simply hide under a rock and avoid stress - and not all stress is bad stress. But it's important to not ignore it and to take care of yourself before you face burnout or overwhelming feelings of inadequacy. I think the worry about taking time off that we all face is a result of our ambitions and our need to pursue our work and research to the highest of standards. We are lucky, in a way, to be this motivated and ambitious, but it really is all about looking after yourself.

    I have a buddy system with one of my friends who is in academics, though not a similar field. As soon as either one of us is overly stressed, we organise a facetime/zoom chat to talk it out with one another and spend some time catching up on life. I'm aware a lot of my hobbies are introverted and include spending time alone, so if you are an extrovert, this is a great alternative to allowing yourself to leave your work for a little while and to enjoy some time off.

    Relax - your work will be there when you get back.

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 32 ✭✭✭

    @Andrea Hayward , thank you so much for your compliment. I have to control my tap of self-proud, so that not turning to become a supercilious ☺️

    And thank you so much to @Isurika Sevwandi. You well described about the self-conversation / self-talk I cannot explain in words. I absolutely agree with your conclusion that "practicing self-talk is not only a temporary solution for today; but will be good practice to manage stress levels in the long run".

    Hi @Hollie McDonnell, I love your idea to do a hobby for destressing without leaving a guilt at work, because having no guilt is also one of actions on taking care of ourselves. It sounds that I make it rounded: stress - destress - guilt - self care 😅

  • Jayashree Rajagopalan
    Jayashree Rajagopalan Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 65 admin

    @Raj sundaram - I liked it when you said that you do what your body/mind demand of you in order to destress. And I think this is something we may forget - I've had a couple of conversations with a friend who believes that there's only one thing she can do when she is stressed, and that's all she does. I've noticed that it doesn't always help her. I've tried speaking with her to talk about she should try to listen to herself or her body to find out what she may need to do to tackle the stress. Also yayyyy you come here to de-stress. Good to hear that you find this community one way for you to reconnect. 😀

  • Jayashree Rajagopalan
    Jayashree Rajagopalan Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 65 admin

    @Yufita Chinta - This is such a simple yet amazing strategy! Thank you for sharing it. I will definitely try it out next time. Like many others, I also talk to myself, but talking to myself in this way especially when I am extremely anxious, stressed, or agitated might help my situation a lot. Thank you!

  • Jayashree Rajagopalan
    Jayashree Rajagopalan Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 65 admin

    @Asli Telli you hit my sore spot when you spoke about memories of travels or cafes. There's so much about the freedom of mobility that I miss and not being able to do all that certainly adds to my stress levels. I think I'll follow your lead of a travel diary and get my partner to do this too - we're each other's favorite travel buddies and have many many fond memories of backpacking trips and journeys with no itinerary.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 122 admin

    @Isurika Sevwandi I know you've had a busy schedule and haven't had much time to visit the community for a while. We've surely missed you (I know I have ☺️) and I was so glad to see your name pop-up in my notifications!

    I love that you've highlighted the importance of having someone we can talk to when we're stressed. Someone close to us like a family member or a dear friend who offers us unconditional support, listens with an open mind, and does not rush to point fingers or pass judgements. I agree with you - It's very important to have someone like this in our lives and the ones who do are incredibly fortunate. Like you, I too confide in my Mum and turn to her when I'm feeling overly stressed and feel like I can't bear to handle all of it by myself. 🙂

    I also like all that you've added to @Yufita Chinta's thoughts on self-talk. I found it very interesting that you mentioned using self-talk to dissect your problems into tinier pieces, figure out why something is bothering you or what you can do to fix it, and then deal with each tiny portion individually rather than be overwhelmed by everything that's stressing you out at once.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 122 admin

    A simple yet very profound statement by @Mohamed Samunn that we should all try and keep at the back of our minds - "If I allow my stress levels to build up I know where I will end up. So I manage my stress." It's so easy to get lost in the everyday hustle-bustle and our to-do lists, and sometimes we forget our limits and can't see beyond the work at hand. At times like these, this is definitely going to serve as a gentle reminder for me to take breaks, pace myself, evaluate how I'm feeling or whether anything is stressing me out, and take better care of myself. Thank you so much for bringing this into the discussion Samunn! 🙂

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 117 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 28

    Amazing to have so many different but awesome perspectives on stress/destressing! Wow! @Andrea Hayward , @Yufita Chinta , @Roberto Spiezio , @Isurika Sevwandi , @Jayashree R , @Hollie McDonnell , @Mohamed Samunn , @Asli Telli and @Mdumiseni Mazula 🌞

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 117 ✭✭✭✭

    @Jayashree R - your friend is really lucky to have such an observant friend like you to watch out for her. Hope she soon diversifies... 😊

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 122 admin

    @Hollie McDonnell I agree with everything you've said! It sometimes pains me that we have to be reminded to make time for ourselves in a 24-hour day. But the guilt around not being productive is so firmly embedded in most of our minds, that conversations like these are more important than ever now! Thank you ☺️

    P.S. Usually, I prefer being left alone with my thoughts when I'm stressed. But I'm very intrigued by the buddy system concept you mentioned. I'm going to try it out 😃

  • Soumi Paul
    Soumi Paul Member Posts: 64 ✭✭✭

    Discussing issues with like-minded positive people help. Besides, I use art therapy to heal myself.

  • Lidia Lins
    Lidia Lins Member Posts: 35 ✭✭✭

    For me the first thing is to recognize I am stressed, like @Yufita Chinta mentioned.

    After I take time to recognize it, I allow it to be there, I observe it, because the stress is information about ourselves and that we maybe need to change something in our actions or in our routine. I mostly do that by sitting still, or meditating.

    Trying to understand what's going on by the symptoms help me to put things into perspective, maybe I just exagerated or these thoughts are results of my mind fabricating them, which most of the time is the case. After putting the thoughts into perspective I most of the times know what to do, which can be:

    • Meditating
    • looking for help
    • Doing yoga, or moving my body in some way
    • Calling friends
    • going for a massage, etc.
  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 16 ✭✭✭

    I would love to say that I have solved all my stress problems and can deal with them efficiently. I wish! But, I have started to understand what my triggers for stress are, I think that for me was the first step. I tend to feel stressed when I feel out of control, maybe because I'm trying to fit too much in or when I don't know how to do something that I need to. For me lists, breaking my tasks into bite-size chunks so that I can address them bit by bit. Having someone to be your sounding board can be helpful too. My husband draws the short straw many times for that...even though he's not academic and can't help, talking out loud at him can help me figure my way through a lot of issues and if not, at least helps me to work out exactly what I'm struggling with. Sometimes when I keep it in my head I'm actually worrying about something that isn't what I don't know/struggling with but something else most often solvable!

  • Soumi Paul
    Soumi Paul Member Posts: 64 ✭✭✭

    Truly, understanding what triggers is the first step. I can really relate to what you are feeling. I am also at my beginning step. Hope to cope well. I pray the best for you too. 🙂

  • Dahlia T
    Dahlia T Member Posts: 47 ✭✭✭

    @Andrea Hayward, generally when it comes to stress, especially 'toxic stress' and adverse situations, I am very much a work in progress. For the most part, I try (emphasis on TRY he he he ) not to procrastinate when I have to do something, otherwise 'last minute' is a brutal experience for me. When I am feeling overwhelmed, I try to listen to some 'feel good' music, make myself a nice cup of tea, go for a walk if the weather is good, or curl up under a blanket and try to let it pass. These days, I am also trying to make sure I get enough sleep and to go to bed at the same time...and to reach out to someone.

    I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 

  • Isurika Sevwandi
    Isurika Sevwandi Member Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    Andrea Hayward it was indeed a pleasure to know that you missed me... At least I've got a constant companion and long distance buddy awaiting to receive notifications from me. Feel so blessed! and it made my day... loads of love and virtual hugs❤️

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 122 admin

    @Lidia Lins thank you for sharing this with us! I found it very interesting that you said "the stress is information about ourselves and that we maybe need to change something in our actions or in our routine." I really appreciate your ability to sit still and look inwards when you're stressed, and this is mainly because I tend to get very restless and fidgety when I'm stressed (at least this has been the pattern over the past couple of months). But seeing how this helps you put things in perspective is making me want to try it as well. 🙂

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