Whether it’s down to exam season coming up, restrictions easing (it can be both a mix of excitement and nervousness for many), worries about your next step after school, home life, or all of the above, we’ve been having a moment. It’s been quite a stressful time recently.
If you’re feeling stressed out over something, it can be easy to let it snowball. A lot of things can add to our frustrations, even if it’s something simple that tips us over the edge. Like realising there’s no milk when you go to make a cup of tea – there’s nothing worse.
But if you’re able to stay calm during stressful situations, just like sitting your exams, things won’t feel as if they’re snowballing all of a sudden. This is exactly why being able to create a calmer mentality will always be helpful to you, both now and in the future.
Here are some simple ways to deal with any stresses you may have, and create that calmer mentality.
Write it down
You won’t be able to do this in every situation, but it’s one that can really help. Especially if you don’t feel like you want to talk about things, but you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressing, writing out your feelings can really help.
Think of it like word vomit on paper: Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, neatness, anything. Just get it all out of your head and it’ll feel like even a small weight off your shoulders. Every little helps.
Challenge your thoughts
Usually, if we’re feeling super stressed, we jump to the worst-case scenario. Which then, usually, makes us feel even more stressed. It’s easy to find yourself in a ‘what if’ cycle, jumping to the worst conclusions and feeling even worse.
So if you find yourself jumping to what-ifs and the worst-case scenario, take a minute and literally challenge your thoughts. Ask yourself if what you’re thinking is actually likely to happen, is it a rational thought, have you gone through something similar already? Asking yourself these questions will slowly change your mindset, calming your thoughts when you realise it’s not as bad as it may seem.
Listen to music
This may seem like a pretty obvious one, but playing songs that always put you in a good mood can really lift your spirits when things feel like they’re getting too much. Put in your earphones, turn up the volume and throw on your faves.
Make a playlist to have ready to go when you need it, everything from Lizzo to The Greatest Showman. Have it there ready and waiting for you whenever it’s time to listen.
Get some air
Another one that you won’t be able to do every single time, but really helps when you can. If you’re stuck in the same room, like many of us have been for so long over the past year, removing yourself from the situation can really help.
Particularly if you’re feeling tense, staying in the same room can increase that. So taking five minutes to yourself, stepping outside for some fresh air can interrupt your stressed thoughts and help calm yourself.
I can put my hands up and say that whenever someone told me exercising helped with stress or put yourself in a better mood, I did a bit of an eye roll. But now I realise (and more so, can admit) that exercising really does help with all of the above.
Not only does it help to take care of yourself mentally, but physically too. So whether you enjoy dancing, camogie, running, horse riding – whatever it may be, take some time for it even if you’re feeling too busy. You’ll feel so much for it, each and every time.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or particularly anxious, meditation is for you. While it can be difficult to get into by yourself, there are plenty of apps out there to help.
The Head Plan app, which is a free app that focuses on all things positive, has a free 30-day meditation programme on their app. Each one is around five minutes long, so it’s perfect to start off with and get you on the right path.