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  • Writer's picturelilydaveyattlee

How are you managing your stress?

Have you noticed that after a hard day or maybe even a good day but with lots of heightened emotion you find yourself drinking alcohol to relax or eating something sweet?

These are what I call outside-in approaches to stress management.

You’re using a chemical (alcohol, sugar) to try and change your feelings or manage your emotions.

Now, don’t get me wrong particularly in the case of alcohol it does help you relax-or more accurately numb. But for me if you’re putting something into your body that we know does harm, shouldn’t we being doing it in a way that instead enhances an already positive situation (eg a glass of wine with a nice meal, an icecream at the beach, a hot chocolate after a cold swim or surf) rather than using these thing to try and change how we feel.

Let’s be honest now when has any of these chemical stess relievers actually had a lasting effect on making you feel less stressed?

Alcohol and high sugar diets are known to have a detrimental affect on mental heatlth (I am a sufferer from extreme hangxiety the morning after even just a couple of drinks so can all too clearly relate to this.)

What we have to remember about these outside-in approaches, while they may feel in control now, if (when) life throws you something that puts you into extreme stress, you are likely to lean harder on your current stress management practices. Which means if you’re currently comfort eating or comfort drinking that may begin to look less controlled and start to have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing.

Instead I encourage you to find sustainable ways to unwind after a hard day. Start building practices that fill your wellbeing cup*, this could range from meditation, a post work walk to shake off the day, a five minute dance party, a cold shower, a scream into a pillow. For me there are things I need to do on the daily to keep that wellbeing cup topped up (drink enough water, move my body, eat nourishing foods regularly). Then there are the things I save for extreme emotion days, like a cold shower, watching something guaranteed to make me cry (ever reliant on Shonda Rhimes for the tear fests. If you know you know), driving my car with the music high and scream singing along, usually to our Lady and Saviour Taylor Swift. She has a song for every emotion. But that’s just me.

Maybe you have a few go tos already. Maybe you need to test a few out and see what works for you. You can build this up slowly. Perhaps you could start with doing something intentional at the end of the work day before you have your post work glass of wine/ sweet treat/ sharing bag of crisps.

Think you can't spare this time? Go and check how long you've spent on socials using that clever thing phones do to keep you accountable/ make you feel guilty about your screen time. I promise you have time. Remember setting aside even 15 minutes can begin to have a really positive effect on building your mental resilience.

Love this idea, but don't know where to start? Help is at hand. Join my community- the Wild and One Collective- online or in person (see my community page) or book some one to one sessions with me. Take the first step to becoming the best version of yourself, for yourself.

*see my last blog

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