My Stress Relief Test
Which Technique is the best?
Blogger, Craig dedicated a week to trying out different stress relief techniques.
Alright so recently I've been getting a lot more work, both from my job and from university. Maybe you don't have a job alongside your degree, but either way I'm sure you can relate to feeling a bit stressed due to your crazy schedule!
In order to try and manage my stress, I looked a little into some stress relief techniques. I tried out five techniques, giving 1 week to each technique which included;
• Stress journal
• Making a checklist
• Taking up a new hobby
Week 1- Exercise
For the first technique, I looked into exercises that I could fit into a manageable period of time. I decided to go with jogging in the end, after finding a pretty entertaining article here; http://angryjogger.com/category/running-to-beat-anxiety-and-stress. At first I found it quite hard to schedule, given that I'm most certainly not a morning person! But after I managed to schedule running into my routine, it felt quite good! It was a little hard at first, but as my fitness increased over that first week, my stress started to decrease and I felt even more energetic and focused!
"Meditation isn't just for new age yoga mums or Taoist monks, trust me."
Week 2- Meditation
Meditation isn't just for new age yoga mums or Taoist monks, trust me. Many people practice some form of meditation, including me. I adapted my meditation into 2 20-minute sessions a day (you could also try just 1 20-minute if you're strapped for time). There are some great guides online, especially on YouTube, if you search for stress relief meditation audio guides. If you decide to try just the one session, i'd suggest doing it in the morning so you can start your day feeling relaxed.
Week 3- Stress Journal
This one was pretty interesting to me, because i'm not the kind of person that likes to write down the things i'm feeling. But actually I found it to be really helpful; when you write down everything that's stressing you out, and you see it all on a single page (or multiple pages if you're that stressed!) you start to realise how manageable it actually is!
I found that physically writing into a small book at sorts to be the best technique, because you're less tempted to just look for cat videos on YouTube and more inclined to stick it out. I found that as the week progressed, I focused more on dealing with my stressors directly and towards the end of the week, my list was significantly smaller.
"I can just tick them off and have some guilty free Netflix time!"
Week 4- Checklist
So this one is quite similar to the stress journal, but instead of writing a list of everything that is stressing you out, you write a list of everything you want to achieve for that day! Keeping small milestone checkpoints like this will make you feel more motivated and like you've achieved more.
For me, I get stressed out when I feel like i've got a lot of things to do. The first thing to start with is working out exactly I need to get done and then I can just tick them off and have some guilty free Netflix time!
"I picked up a new language and tried to teach myself the Russian alphabet. Whilst it was harder than expected."
Week 5- New Hobby
This one is also similar to jogging or even meditation, but less direct. Picking up something like a new language, or an instrument, will help focus your mind by allowing you to enjoy something whilst also being productive. I picked up a new language and tried to teach myself the Russian alphabet. Whilst it was harder than expected, it was very engaging and it allowed me to use some of my research skills from university to further my understanding.
Overall, my verdict would have to be; all of the techniques are extremely useful, but it's all about finding the best technique that you'll actually want to continue doing. For this reason, I would have to say that keeping a stress journal helped me the most. I can't say that there was a 'least effective' method, as all of them helped. It's just about finding the best technique that suits you.
Feel free to test of these techniques, or even set up your own 5 week challenge with other techniques and let me know what works best for you!