Stressin’ Out

No doubt about it: stress sucks.

It’s not bad in small quantities. Roller coasters stress your body; athletes play despite the pressure to win; some writers need an imminent deadline to produce work (I couldn’t possibly be describing myself 😉 ). But in large quantities, when lots of problems and deadlines and responsibilities pile onto each other, stress hurts — and it’s unhealthy, too.

It’s easy to say “Deal with it.” It’s harder to say how.

Stressed Eggs

Photo Credit: Flickr user Bernard Goldbach

Google It

It’s our back-up plan for everything: don’t know something? Google it. A quick search of “how to de-stress” offers thousands of options, ranging from taking a nap or running a 5k to watching TV or reading a book.

But Google doesn’t know me. It doesn’t know what helps or triggers me, what brings a smile to my face or depresses me. Google’s job is to filter articles based on my search terms, likely from high-traffic websites. That’s great, but what if the most popular suggestions don’t work for me?

Technology is amazing, but no matter how well I word it, Google can’t say, “The best way for Natalie Schriefer to de-stress is THIS.” It doesn’t know. I’m searching for answers that Google doesn’t have.

So now what?

Listen to Yourself

If you’re looking for an easy, one-size-fits-all answer, this probably sounds a bit like a cop-out, but the truth is, what works for me may not work for you. I like writing fiction and running. Both of these are great for me when I get overwhelmed. But maybe my best friend hates physical activity — if he reads articles about how running is the answer, and he forces himself to run to feel better, he’ll end up even more stressed.


Same concept. Photo credit:

Instead of asking Google how to de-stress, we need to ask ourselves. When do we feel happiest? What helps us calm down? How do we refresh ourselves? There are no set answers. Whatever you enjoy doing is how you should de-stress, whether you prefer an afternoon bath or a few rounds of Call of Duty: Zombies.

Your de-stress answers may be different depending on the day (I ran a 5k yesterday, so today I’ll write instead), but even more importantly, they may change over time — a few years ago, I liked writing responses to journal prompts when stressed, but I don’t enjoy that now. We need to check in with ourselves as we grow and change on our individual journeys — and that’s not something that Google can tell us or predict.


Coming up soon is a guest post from Just a Girl and a Bike about her journey to meaningful living — don’t miss it! Follow via Facebook or WordPress to stay up-to-date on all of the exciting things happening here at “But Why?”.  Thanks for reading! 🙂

136 thoughts on “Stressin’ Out

  1. A great post and very true, Googling has become quite a problem for the masses as many people don’t tend to look within themselves for answers to personal dilemmas, stresses or problems; introspection is something that each and every human being should employ regularly.


  2. Nice post. A great reminder that at times of stress we do need to listen to what our bodies are telling us. A lot of time we forget that and it is the most effective relief! I usually draw or take a nice long bath, always a great cure.


  3. This resonates with me. As a college student, the academics stress people out all the time. I have positively dealt with stress a couple of times. Sometimes, an assignment intimidates me like an annoying paper or something like that. I destress by either coloring or reading or blogging or anything outside of the academics. Weekly, there is a student-led worship service I go to and every once in a while therapy dogs visit the students and those two things help destress me. Even being out in nature helps me.


  4. I agree with this post so much. Love the idea of just telling everyone that no there isn’t one set method that works for you, you have to find out on your on. But I sorta felt like it ended abruptly, it seemed like you were leading up to a specific story about a time when you were stressed out and how you dealt with it. If so, do include it, it’ll definitely improve the post by playing another emotional chord and backing it up with experience. Great post otherwise! 😀


  5. I really love this post! It’s insightful – at first, I wondered if it would be one of those “if you’re stressed do this” posts, but it isn’t! I love how you’ve said that different things work for different people, and that you’ve acknowledge that what works for you doesn’t work for other people around you. 🙂


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  7. Good post.

    Most of us underestimate sleep, recovery, meditation (or writing, as you mention). Physical exercise is also underestimated

    Recognizing you have stress is a great first step!


  8. ‘Stress’ seems to be covering every part of the globe! De-stressing is definitely different for different individuals – I like to catch up with my friends as a de-stresser, while some might prefer to exercise…


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  10. This post speaks to me (Being a person who is stressed out on a daily basis)

    Also loved the pictures you used for this. All in all, no need to revise. Simple great! ✔✔


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  12. Great post, Natalie. I completely agree that we need a tool box of de-stressers. It helps to know what you need and even what situations are going to stress us out. Thanks for sharing!


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