You can ask anyone. I am probably the worst person when it comes to handling stress. I ignore it and let it pile up until I break down sobbing because just how much I’m stressed is overwhelming, let alone everything that’s adding to the stress.
I’m really bad when it comes to stress. And you might be also. According to the American Psychological Association, stress in adults has risen significantly since 2014, and especially in women and millennials. So, if you’re like me, a millennial woman, you’re likely to have some of the highest stress levels.
This makes dealing with stress difficult. But the first step in lowering those levels is figuring out why you’re stressed. Here are some of the biggest reasons, aside from what the America Psychological Association says:
1. You haven’t taken time for yourself.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or an extrovert. Every single person needs some time alone, at least to gather their thoughts. Even better would be to take that time for yourself to relax. Take a walk in nature, sit and read a book, create a woodworking project, take a bubble bath. Do something that you enjoy, alone. It’ll help you relax and you can gather your thoughts in that time. Set aside a certain amount of time, at least once a week, hopefully more often.
2. There isn’t enough time in the day.
Too many people do this. I also do this. It’s difficult to find the time for everything that I want to do and I imagine that it’s that way for many, many other people, too. Every single person has the same 24 hours in a day that everyone else does. So if you find yourself asking how others manage to get so much done in a day, remember that. Every person has the same 24 hours a day. I keep two different schedules: a bullet journal, just to get what’s in my head down on paper, and an actual daily schedule, so I can schedule it all throughout the day. Find a solution that works for you and try to stick to it! It’ll help you get more done. Just don’t forget to schedule that you-time!
3. There isn’t an animal companion in your life.
This one is a bit more tricky. Not everyone can have an animal companion. Whether you live in dorms or in a rental that doesn’t allow animals or can’t afford one or are allergic, there are plenty of barriers that can come with this one. However, according to the Harvard Health Blog, studies show that animals help raise oxytocin and lower blood pressure, resulting in less stress. I know after a long day, I can’t wait to get home and cuddle with my dogs. Even with science aside, it’s hard to feel stressed when I’m able to see the goofiest smiles on their faces, so happy to see me. There are ways around it though! If you’re allergic, consider an animal without fur, such as birds or fish or reptiles, those are all good alternatives! If it’s any of the other reasons, consider volunteering at an animal shelter. You and the animals benefit!
4. Nature Deficit Disorder is causing you to be stressed.
Nature Deficit Disorder is a controversial topic. I believe that nature is important for every person. Some people don’t. Even if it’s a walk in a city park, take the time to notice the flowers blooming, the grass growing, the birds singing. It’s amazing how refreshed I feel after spending some time in nature. I’m fortunate to live close enough to the Rocky Mountains so that if I need to get away for a bit, I can. Others aren’t as fortunate, but every single city has some green space.
5. Your lifestyle doesn’t mesh with your personality type.
I’m a big advocate for the Myers Briggs personality indicator test. Pushing your boundaries can yield some surprising results and can bring a lot of happiness to your life. But, if you push them too much, it could cause too much stress. Finding the balance between what you’re comfortable with and what is too much pushing is key in lowering stress.