Life has felt stressful lately. I can’t pinpoint one thing that’s at the root of the stress– there’s no major project at work, no big crisis that’s happened in the past few months– but everyday ends with me feeling like there hasn’t been enough hours in the day, like I haven’t gotten everything done, and a little like I’m treading water in the game of life. It kinda sucks. Not to say that my life isn’t fun because it is– I went to Sonoma this weekend, I went camping last weekend, I had a fun Mother’s Day, I get puppy playtime pretty often, and I usually manage to still get 8 hours of sleep.
But still, balancing everything has felt difficult lately. I thrive on routines and my life has seemed anything but a routine lately.
Anyway, I don’t mean to complain– Stress happens to all of us. And when it does, we have to let go of some things so that we can fit it all in while staying sane.
When I get stressed, here are a few simple things that help make my day-to-day easier:
1) Frozen Veggies & Grocery Shopping– There have been some weeks lately when I don’t have time to grocery shop until many days after my fridge is empty. So….after learning the lesson the hard way and coming home to empty fridge and a “whatever I can scrounge up” dinner (usually an egg and pasta- yuck), I started stocking up on massive amounts of frozen veggies and healthy proteins so I make sure that I have something nutritious in the fridge at all times and never run out.
The last time I went shopping, I spent pretty much the entire time in the frozen aisle. I like fresh produce MUCH better, but since I’m not home much (aka, at all) these days, it doesn’t make sense to buy too much.
2) Healthy Lunch Even if It’s More Expensive– I’m a firm believer in brown-bagging lunch. It’s cheaper and it’s healthier. BUTTTT, since I don’t always sleep at home and haven’t been able to grocery shop, it’s really hard for me to figure out lunch every morning. Sometimes I rely on frozen veggies and simple things like hardboiled eggs, but what I find easier is to let myself buy a healthy lunch. I don’t beat myself up about the extra money (though not having enough money saved is causing me stress– I just have to make up for it somewhere else) and just stop at Whole Foods to get something healthy (kale salad usually) from their salad bar.
It works. And getting in those veggies (instead of just grabbing a granola bar and a cup of coffee or something at the office) helps me function better.
3) Workout in the Morning. There was a while (a long while) recently when I just wasn’t exercising. There didn’t seem to be enough time in the morning or the evening and I was just too tired from driving, would spend the morning doing errands or cleaning instead, or had too many evening plans to make it to the gym or out for a run. I’ve recommitted to morning exercising though. It sets me up for success and gives me more energy throughout the rest of a busy day. Plus, I’m less stressed without the guilt-ridden “I still need to go to the gym” thoughts running through my head all day long.
4) Spend Time in Nature- Even if it’s just a few minutes, getting out of the indoors and away from the buzz of SF traffic and people really helps me de-stress. I need to take more hikes on the weekends.
5) I started setting healthy intentions/goals every morning. I look at my day and see how I can actually make it healthy. Yesterday I made myself go to yoga. Today, I promised that I would take a 45 minute walk at lunchtime.
6) And lastly…..acceptance. This is just a phase, things will get better and I just have to accept it a little bit and make the best of it.
Finally realizing that life isn’t going to get any less stressful in the near future has made me take a step back and look at my life through a new lens. I’m still figuring this out and trying to build a routine that I can feel in control and happy with…..but generally, allowing myself to buy lunch out, stocking up on frozen groceries (the healthy kind, not the tv dinner kind), make exercise a bigger priority, and setting healthy everyday goals are ways I’m hoping to manage this stress a bit.
Life isn’t perfect and it’s tougher at sometimes more than others. But hopefully if I put in some hard work, I can reep some benefits
So, that’s that.
–How do you handle day-to-day stress?