There’s a lot to be said about gratitude journals. They are effective and work for different people in different ways. I find that when I am extremely anxious and need to wind down before I step foot outside my workplace, writing down a few things I am grateful for can shift my focus a bit. I look at those things and I tell myself that life could be a lot worse. I mean everyone has something that they can be thankful for in one way or another. However, what do you do when gratitude journals don’t do it anymore? What do you do when your stress level is beyond the point where a gratitude journal even scratches the surface on your anxiety and stress?
I find myself asking these very questions everyday because realistically, we lose control of our stress level sometimes. I find myself looking for other things to take my mind off work, all the work I do, all the work I need to do, being at work, working, and did I mention work? How do we take back control over our lives in ways other than writing down a couple things we are grateful for here and there?
Here are 5 things you can try other than writing in a gratitude journal to take the edge off the anxiety and stress. No guarantees, but it never hurts to try something new.
- Do Yoga
My go-to stress and anxiety buster is yoga. When I’m at the end of my rope with the muscle tension caused by daily stress, I run to the nearest yoga class and force myself onto the mat. It isn’t something I do regularly out of a lack of convenience and desire to commit to a membership. However, I recently discovered a cheap online yoga membership and am eager to see how that works out for me. Yoga melts the tension away and allows me to actually wind down and relax after a hard, long workday.
2. Read a Self-Help Book
I will say it is hard to sit down and read a book with a super busy schedule. However, nightly reading can take the edge off and give you something else to think about and reflect on during stressful times. I particularly love self help books because they relax you while simultaneously making you at least think about improving yourself.
I write posts for a blog so I mean…
Even if you think no one else will read what you write, just write something. I literally brain dump into the notes app on my iPhone some nights because there are so many thoughts I have to just evict from my mind. If you aren’t a writer, type. No one ever has to see it. Just stop letting negative thoughts, anxiety, and stress make a comfortable living space out of your brain.
4. Beautify yo’ self
Do your nails, hair, face mask. Doing some sort of self care, even if it is just one thing, can work wonders on your confidence and distract you from the stress. Making yourself look better makes you feel better. We don’t always have the time or money for a full makeover, but doing something, anything can make a small difference. Just try it and you will understand. I bought a gel polish kit and whenever Im feeling meh, I give myself a gel manicure that lasts for two weeks. I decompress and I enjoy my cute nails, making the investment totally worth it.
5. Meet up with friends or potential friends
I just moved to the Austin area about a year ago and for the longest time, I would make excuses about not having friends. I would barely leave the house unless it was for work or shopping. Recently, I went to my first happy hour with people I met on the Meetup app and it was like a whole new world opened up to me. There are so many apps, venues, and organizations that allow you to meet like-minded people who also don’t have a ton of local friends. I can’t use the “I don’t have friends” excuse much longer because it’s been a year since I’ve been in the area. Go out, live a little and don’t be afraid of being social. Having friends and a social life can really take a small bite out of the everyday stress bubble we allow ourselves to live in.