“Stress doesn’t have a face.”
Those five words smacked me upside the head in the packed lobby of The Handle Bar in Harvard Square.
I, along with 30 other women, had taken the time out of our weekend to #PressPause with the Wellness Collective & The Handle Bar – for a 35 minute spin class with Sarah Maguire and a discussion about self-care practices and practical tips to boost your mental health. The Wellness Collective Co-Founders, Ana Alarcón and Kerri Axelrod, moderated the conversation, as The Handle Bar owner and founder of Handle with Care, Jessica Fracalossi, and holistic mental health counselor, Rachel Duda, spoke with us about mental health and the importance of checking in with yourself.
The holiday season is such a busy time. The act of GIVING is so ingrained in the season, that often times we forget that we can’t just continuously give – gifts, time, or energy. At some point, we run dry and we need to take the time for ourselves to RECEIVE the love and energy that we are giving.
So, here are my five takeaways from #PressPause. This is not an extensive list, and if you ever feel like you are TOO overwhelmed, remember to ask for help – from family, friends or a medical professional. No one can help unless you ask.
“Stress Doesn’t Have a Face”
We’re starting right here.
Everyone experiences stress.
Stress doesn’t care if you are a hot shot, or a nobody. Stress could care less if you have a date, or are exhausted.
Understanding that everyone gets stressed is the first part. Realizing that you can help relieve that stress is the next hurdle.
So, how do you combat stress? Well, the answer is different for everyone. For me, my biggest stress reliever is a good workout. Being able to take out my stress by lifting heavy, rowing hard, going to a yoga class or spinning, has been a MIND saver. Seriously – I don’t think I could have gotten through this year without my workouts. And yes, I have been known to shed a therapeutic tear or two during some yoga classes and spin classes.
Other things I’ve done to help battle the stress have been journaling (obvi I like to write) and coloring (those adult coloring books are no joke). The key here is to find something you enjoy and that helps you manage YOUR stress.
Admit to yourself when enough is enough
This is probably the most difficult thing that was spoken about on Sunday. You can have all the tools at your disposal. You can have the most supportive tribe.
But if you can’t admit that you need help/a break – then nothing will change.
It’s so ingrained into us that “YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL – YOU JUST HAVE TO WORK HARD FOR IT”. But… just like I mentioned at the top, you can have it all, but eventually you’re going to either burn out or run into a wall.
Practice standing firm on your limits. Practice admitting to yourself that you need a moment to breath. Practice admitting to yourself when enough is enough. And most importantly – practice admitting that you might need a helping hand.
Just. Say. No
This is something I need to get better at. I’m guilty of saying “YES” to almost every opportunity that comes by.
Want to speak at this event? OF COURSE.
Can you get this done by tomorrow? IF YOU NEED IT, YOU GOT IT.
Can you travel to XYZ for a meeting? I’ll BE THERE.
Anyone else feel me?
The holiday season, “Yes” overload can easily happen. Feeling like you SHOULD go to an event/party can make us feel exhausted. So, one of the things that was talked about was just practicing saying “No” to things that don’t make you go “HECK YES.”
If something doesn’t excite every fiber of your being, and will cause you more stress, then try saying no. Take the time for yourself, and energize yourself for the exciting opportunities that may arise.
Be mindful of where you spend your time
Mindfulness is a buzzword that you might see popping up. When our minds are going a mile a minute, it can be hard to really focus on how you are spending your time, and if you are being TRULY present.
I have a bajillion tabs open on my computer virtually all the time. I have NO clue on how many times I will mindlessly open up Instagram and just scroll. Literally, big thumb swoop, scroll – passing photos, captions, friends, strangers. Just mindlessly passing the 60 seconds away, before I click out and head to another app and do the same thing.
Sounds exhausting right? Turns out, it is.
So, this holiday season, I’m going to try to be a little bit more mindful every time I do something. The panel spoke about doing every action with a purpose and a goal – “what is it that you are going to get out of this”. So, whether it’s opening Instagram to see how many likes a post got, or to see what a friend is up to, my social media habit will get a slight revamp this holiday season. I’ll report back on how it goes.
Which leads me into…
Unfollow Social Media Account That Cause You Stress
We live in a tricky time – social media is a BIG part of what I do. From curating posts, working with influencers and brand, to sharing part of our daily lives, social media is part of our every day lives.
However, there is a dark side to social media that people don’t always talk about.
The comparison. The competition. The stress of “keeping up”.
So, all the panelists said the same simple thing: “Unfollow”
Unfollow the accounts that make you feel lesser than you. Unfollow the accounts that stress you the eff out. Unfollow those accounts that cause drama.
You’re in control of your feed, and you don’t need to CHOOSE to have that kinda stress pop up right now.
I started the unfollow game. It’s been pretty liberating to say the least.
Do you have any tips on how to practice #PressingPause? Leave a comment below and let’s share the mental wellness love together <3