If there’s one thing I cannot preach enough about, it’s having an outlet. This doesn’t even have to be a stress or an anger outlet but just one or maybe two activities where you can shut everything out for a moment and focus completely on that. Whether you dedicate 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days to this activity (although probably not a good idea to shut the world out for 5 days), I find there is nothing better for me in a moment of frustration or panic to spend some time on that outlet activity. Although I enjoy a number of activities in my free time i.e. reading, writing and definitely not arithmetic, the one specific activity that I reserve for the moments when I really need to shut the world out is making lists. Shopping lists, lists of favourite books, lists of plans of the future, lists to ground me or motivate me, lists about anything.
Essentially what I’m doing is wasting time. Yes, I probably could channel that energy into something more beneficially creative such as rereading some of my module texts, writing up lecture notes etc. but in that moment of negativity, if I focus my mind towards more things that I have to do, it ends up stressing me out more. And somehow making a silly little list really works. It just does. Usually after a few minutes of making lists about everything and nothing, I can just feel my stress slip away. I push the negative thoughts away for a short while and then I seem to be able to see the problems in a clearer light and it’s as if my brain has had a chance to properly think things through; to put my ultimately small stresses into perspective. So I encourage you all to find an outlet for yourself because it really does work. And hey, if it does work for you do put your time into something productive when you are worried or angry, go for it! But it’s also I feel like it’s fine if you just want to doodle for an hour to clear your head. When you are stressed, you aren’t going to be able to sort the problem out until you have overcome the initial panic and for me, my stupid pointless outlet speeds that process up. I forget about the past panic and it puts the future into a clearer light, it grounds me. So here are some examples of some outlets that you could try for yourself!
- Making lists (approved by this blog!)
- Singing familiar/ comforting songs
- Free writing – if you are unfamiliar with this technique, you simply write and keep writing without stopping for as long as you see fit. Your inner thoughts or complete nonsense – this tactic is a really great one for me as well.
- Painting or drawing or doodling.
- Create a really nice makeup look – basically just face doodling – some people have said this calms them but for me I just always get in a mini panic when I can’t do my eyeliner right i.e. every time.
- Bake or cook. – again good for some people, not for me; I can barely cook pasta.
Let me know what you guys do to chill out or de stress because who knows maybe I can discover an even better outlet than making lists (although I think I will always just frickin love making lists).