how “should” stress ruins relaxing (and what to do about it)

Ever try to relax and then tell yourself all the things you should be doing instead? I should be studying. I should be doing my laundry. I should be out with friends. This definitely ruins relaxing and I’ve seen it spike during the pandemic when we don’t have clear boundaries between all of our activities. Today’s pep talk, I share a quick tip for get out of the “shoulds” when it comes to downtime.

more mentoring: 

stack stress support

productivity pep talk

blursday remedy

ritualizing your routine 

stack stress support

Stack stress is a term I’ve made up to describe what happens when you have a lot going on at once, put caring yourself allll the way at the bottom of your list, then one tiiiiny thing tips everything over. Sound familiar? I bet it does for many! If you’ve ever cried over feeling overwhelmed this is the episode for you. In today’s pep talk, I share 3 things you can do when you feel the pressure of stack stress.

mentioned links: 

an easy exercise for shifting stress

all the stress

an easy exercise for shifting stress 

dr. habib sadeghi’s purge emotional writing

Over the summer, I started having sleep issues. I’d fall asleep fine, but wake up in the middle of the night worried. Forget about being able to go back to bed. I knew I needed to do some waking hours work to process feelings and that’s how I found Dr. Sedeghi’s technique in his book The Clarity Cleanse.

Even though there’s Thanksgiving break coming up, it’s still stress season with finals and end of the year projects looming on top of an already wacky year. This practice, called purge emotional writing, helps you move out of worry and overwhelm and into calm and clarity. Bonus: it only takes 12 minutes.

Instructions:

  1. Grab a pen and paper 
  2. Set a timer for 12 minutes 
  3. Write anything and everything. Dr. Sedeghi says to write about anything that’s “disturbing your peace.” I just write whatever’s in my head. 
  4. After 12 minutes, stop writing, and do not go back and read what you wrote.  
  5. Burn the paper in a safe outdoor space like a driveway or patio. If you’re a college student or live in an apartment, do not burn your paper! Rip up your writing into a teeny, tiny pieces and throw it away outside not in the house. 

A huge part of this exercise is that you do not go back and read what you wrote. You are not trying to ruminate or get into a loop thought. It’s about getting stress out.

Some extra major mentor tips!

  • Do this exercise at the same time everyday. I do it right when I wake up. If you wanted to use it before you go to bed that would be good too. 
  • A timer tip: I play meditation music, ambient sounds, or piano music when I write and set my timer to “stop playing” to signal the end. After 12 minutes instead of a jarring ring or beep, the music just stops playing to let me know it’s time to move on. 
  • After 12 minutes stop writing. You’ve done it. You’ve completed what you need to complete; then immediately burn or throw out the paper. I LOVE this part. I can say whatever I want and burning it really lets it go for me.  It truly gives me freedom to say whatever it is that I need to say. 
  • **extra credit** I think it would be a really great idea to do a meditation after the writing exercise like this grounding practice or an acceptance meditation.

This ritual is PERFECT during finals or if you’re swamped at work. You just kind of spew out all the things you have to get done. Anything weighing heavy on your heart you just let out on the paper. I’ve been doing it every morning and can attest to it’s magic. 

 

the antidote for overwhelm

self-care tips for students and recent grads

When you first go away to college, and also this happens in your early 20’s, sometimes you’re painted a picture that these years are going to be the best time of your lives, but, like most situations that involve a lot of growth, it honestly has a lot of ups and downs. One minute you absolutely love it and the next minute you can’t believe you’re squeezed into a shoebox-sized room with a stranger you don’t know as a roommate. 

A few years ago, I mentored several girls at different schools who were pre-med at the time. They were totally stressed out by the workload. I thought it was synchronistic to see students dealing with the same issue at once. It made me pay more attention. I remember I was always asking them what they had been doing to have a little fun and the answer was always nothing. When we’re really busy, stressed, or anxious the idea of indulging in something fun can seem unproductive and undeserved, but usually it’s exactly what you need. When I feel my world getting really heavy, I ask myself:

What sounds fun?

I don’t ask it in a sarcastic way where I’m like a vacation sounds fun or a million dollars. I’m really asking, what can I do to take care of myself in this moment? What would be something that could add levity to what I have going on? The goal is to try to get to your know your inner needs! 

Almost always when I ask myself that question, it’s usually something really small that I can do to add some relaxation, levity, or joy to whatever it is I’m spinning through at the time.  Some of the things that come up for me when I ask myself what sounds fun is to: 

  • go for a walk
  • call a friend 
  • move my body
  • grab a coffee 

It’s never something that’s over complicated or too crazy, but here’s where the mentoring comes in: you have to ask yourself the question then ACTUALLY go do the thing. It’s easy to get stuck in whatever’s going on and don’t do the thing that will make us feel better. If what sounds fun is a mentoring session (and trust me they are fun!!),  you have to put in the time to actually schedule and go to a session. If what sounds fun is stretching your body then you need to actually get on your yoga mat. You deserve to treat yourself well. You deserve to have fun. We’re here on this planet to be of service and purposeful and you can’t do that if you’re not allowing yourself the joy of being alive. Even if you’re going through a time, you are totally worthy and deserving of moments of joy throughout your day. Fun is a form of self-care. What sounds fun is a way to take care of your inner self. Secret bonus, joy makes  tackle your to-do list or get through anything hard a lot easier.

The Subtle Ways to be Sweetly Seen

✨Tried to write a blog, but came out easier as a video! What I’ve been working on lately with my students (and myself): The Subtle Ways to be Sweetly Seen✨

 

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I am in Awe & Why you Should be Too

I heard from a lot of girls that they had the back-to-school scaries and I felt it too. Getting into the swing of things can be difficult after break (and now a snow day).

So I decided to make a list of all the resources I had for girls to help make their transition easier, but it turned into a moment where I began to reflect on what I have created. It reminded me of when I used to choreograph for dance. I would hear music and be able to see how I wanted everyone to move in my mind. After months of practice, it was complete on stage. What was once in my head, had become something greater than myself with the help of others. It conjured awe and that’s what looking at my mentoring practice feels like for me. I am in awe. 

Last spring while I finished up school, I started to babysit a precocious two year old. I would try (and fail) to define awe. When we would look at the clear New York City skyline from Hoboken, I’d try to convey awe in terms of wonder. One night we chased a big full moon. Awe in terms of vastness. How I wouldn’t see him for a week and by the next time I was over, he’d have all these new words in his vocabulary. Awe from being amazed. This is what I feel when I look at the girls I’ve mentored. The feeling of being blown away, largely thanks to all of you.

I encourage everyone to seek out moments of wonder, not only because it feels good, but studies have even found, “connections between the experience of awe and enhanced critical and creative thinking faculties, improved health, a sense of embeddedness into collective folds and an increase in pro-social behaviours such as kindness, self-sacrifice, co-operation and resource-sharing,” (Psychology Today). 

Thank you for all the awe and wishing you a 2018 full of wonder.