3 Ways to Manage Stress and Bring Back the Sunshine During Dark Times

(This piece was written for the Kin+Dignity blog. Major shout-out to them for allowing me to share my words and this amazing layout! Enjoy!)

3 Ways to Manage Stress and Bring Back the Sunshine During Dark Times

When I sat down to write this article, I fought exaggerated thoughts and senseless doodles before I even began to outline what I wanted to write. Fast forward to ten minutes later and I still cease to have a full sentence written.

As I flipped through my mental Rolodex of topics to write about, I started feeling hopeless. Nothing was good enough. “I’ve already written about this, that topic didn’t age well, I don’t want to ruffle feathers with this one, etc.” Like an epiphany in the dead of night it came to me — Stress management.

When I realized that I couldn’t be creative due to the stressful thoughts taking up space in my head, I just had to laugh. In the past, I’ve touched on how stress can turn your brain into mush and create a mental and physical domino effect. Since then, I’ve learned more ways to cope outside of controlled substances and screaming into the pillow.

The current pandemic is a dark time for the world, and it may feel difficult to stay positive. There are plenty of ways to manage your stress and bring the sunshine back into your life. Being that I am not a licensed mental health professional, please keep in mind that these solutions are personal suggestions. Please reach out to a licensed mental health professional should you feel the need to. 

There’s power in thinking positively.

Photo by   Retha Ferguson
Photo by Retha Ferguson

To say that this is easier said than done is an extreme understatement. Resetting your mind to ALWAYS think the best takes a lot of practice, but it’s not unrealistic. I have found that the best way for me to manifest positive thoughts is to start with being present.

Take a deep breath and take in the environment. Give your mind a clean swipe, think positively about what you can do in that moment to make it work for you, and just DO IT. Don’t think, JUST DO. By proactively taking charge of that one positive thought, you invoke more positive actions and thoughts. Also, a good prayer reigns supreme!

When you feed your body good, your soul heals too.

Photo by   Retha Ferguson
Photo by Retha Ferguson

Believe me, when I say, I’m taking my own advice here. Curling up on the couch with a big bag of chips and a video game is my jam! Ten pounds and a dad gut later, I’m left with regrets and more hunger. Junk food is the devil in all its forms.

Fresh fruits and vegetables should be a staple in every diet. Lean meats, less fatty foods, and healthy snacks like nuts, boiled eggs, or popcorn (my favorite) can be filling and comforting. Your body will totally thank you.

Get your blood flowing.

Photo by   nappy   from   Pexels
Photo by nappy from Pexels

Far be it from me to tell the next person to get some exercise. My workout routine mainly consists of a series of stretches followed by lifting food to my face. Whether you’re pumping iron, doing yoga, or going for a relaxing self-isolated run; it’s imperative that you stay active and keep your mind at ease. Healthy food and exercise go hand in hand!

These three tips have really helped me thus far. I hope they will help you effectively manage your stress as well without relying on alcohol, drugs, or other compulsive behaviors to de-stress. Your peace starts with, is maintained by, and ends with YOU.  

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