Good day! This week I will be focusing on stress management and how it affects your mental health.

No matter who you are, everyone will experience stress in their lives. It is important to notice when you are feeling stressed and learn to develop techniques to manage this stress. Much like last week, stress management can fit into self-care and also can look different for different people.

One of the ways that helped me manage my stress effectively was to plan leisure time just like I would work, exercise or any other meeting. Allotting time for yourself that way will help you to feel more at ease and ensure that you can unwind.

Stress can show itself in different ways and will affect people differently. This also means that different people will manage their stress differently, and this is where it ties in with self-care. My love for makeup and costuming has allowed me to spend hours creating different costumes, teaching myself prosthetics, wigs, sewing and stage makeup.

If I had a particularly stressful day I would like to work on some form of makeup or costuming when I got home because it was something I loved to do and held my concentration. I also would watch endless videos on YouTube to learn new techniques. While I was being productive and “working” on something, it was also a stress relief for me. Whether is the gym, or shopping, gardening or makeup and costuming, finding an activity that really relaxes you and helps you to brush off a hard day is essential. Not going to bed upset and holding onto that bad energy makes a real difference.

Managing stress can be a difficult thing to do when you are feeling depressed or anxious because you may be dealing with your stress in an unhealthy way. And during these times, it is even easier to adapt some of these unhealthy habits. When I was very stressed and anxious, I would start smoking again. Sometimes I would be drinking too much alcohol and not eating healthy at all.

When I felt really anxious, I might just eat junk food, stay inside glued to the TV and only go outside for a smoke. Of course, this cycle was not going to help and I needed to make changes. If you don’t learn to manage your stress, it may eventually have an effect on your body. Headaches, pain, fatigue and trouble sleeping are all signs of stress.

Figuring baby steps of what your stress relief and self-care looks like is important. It would be impossible to change everything overnight. I’ve read that habits are broken and developed over 21 days. If you can test yourself to not eat junk, or not to smoke and find a better alternative for 21 days, I think you break the bad habit. It also gives you a sense of achievement to have that deadline. Anyone who has quit smoking knows how good it feels to say “I’ve gone x amount of days without a cigarette.”

Start with a simple meditation, maybe find a healthier snack and figure out what you enjoy to do in your spare time and it will make navigating the stress and mental health issues that much easier.

Thanks for tuning in this week and hope to see you all again next week!