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.
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.
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! 🙂