I’ve been through my fair share of stressful events and I’m sure y’all have too. Cheers to all the #girlbosses out there! I know it’s never easy and I know that sometimes there will be more bad days than good, but kudos for being you. I’ve previously done a blog post about “10 Ways to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress“, but I didn’t go into the details of keeping calm under pressure. What should you do when you feel boxed in? Or what if you suddenly have a ton of weight on your shoulders? Here are my 5 tips to keep calm under pressure, but FIRST… Let me get a bit personal about my life and daily stresses. I think it’s important for me to be honest and transparent to my readers. I put my life out there so that my readers can connect and relate with me. My goal is to let my readers know that they aren’t alone and that it’s ok not to be ok!
So here’s a quick backstory about me. I’ve been under a lot of pressure this year. I’m a full-time student with a part-time job working 25-40 hours a week. Sounds hefty already, right? But throw in training at the gym 5-6 times a week, prepping for my first bikini competition for four months, blogging, spending time with loved ones, and trying to make time for myself. Wait, did I even have time for myself?! When you want something so bad, you make it happen. So how did I make it happen?
1. Prioritize Your Needs > Wants
It’s like shopping: You don’t NEED that cute new shirt, but you WANT it. It’s so easy to get the two mixed up because sometimes there is a thin line between what you really need and want. I’m not talking just about the necessary needs for survival, but the needs to support your life and goals. What do you really need to excel and obtain that lifelong goal? What are the necessary steps to get there? I’ll use myself as an example:
My life has revolved heavily around fitness and digital marketing. Fitness is my life and it makes me who I am, whereas digital marketing is the career field I’m striving to be in within the next couple of years. Aside from having a roof over my head or paying my bills, I need to figure out what I need to stay aligned. My needs are things that I would not absolutely give up, like going to the gym, meal prepping, taking digital marketing courses, or creating projects for my portfolio. These things will benefit and help me become the person I want to be.
For my wants, these things include shopping or watching movies. I obviously love the two, but they won’t benefit me in the long run. Instead, they take time away from doing anything productive BUT that doesn’t mean to completely abandon your wants. Just make sure you keep your needs in check before you settle with your wants. I’m totally guilty of spending hours at the mall or binge-watching movies on Netflix even when I have a lot on my plate. In the moment it may feel great, but it will only stress you out even more. Prioritizing will help reduce your stress and keep you calm under pressure!
2. Keep Your Goals in Check
This brings me to my next point: Keep your goals in check. Remember why you’re busting your butt every single day. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed and I get upset about life. I ask myself, “why am I working so hard?” or “will this be worth it in the end?”. Even I have to step back and remind myself of my goals. I have to tell myself that everything will be worth it and that whatever I’m doing is only helping me. By having this positive mindset, it will allow you to relax and be at ease.
When I was on bikini prep, I was miserable probably 90% of the time. I remember laying in bed by late afternoon feeling absolutely drained and hungry. My body felt like it was burning in fire and my brain was drained… but it was MY CHOICE to compete in a bikini competition. I absolutely knew what I was getting myself into and NO ONE forced me to do it. I had to remind myself of my end goal, which was competition date.
P.S. Creating a vision board is also a great idea to keep your goals in check!
3. Remember That Pain is Temporary
I know sometimes you may feel like giving up and throwing it all away. Sometimes you just want to take the easy route, sit back, and watch things fall into place. I wish it was that easy, but no. You have to WORK for it, but remember that pain is temporary.
Remember I said how shitty I felt during my bikini competition prep? That pain was temporary. I didn’t feel weak and hungry all the time; I was just feeling emotional at the time. The pain will eventually go away and soon enough you’ll realize that it was all worth it.
Another great example is like midterm season. All your assignments seem to be due at once, you have back-to-back midterms, and for some reason, your manager suddenly schedules you for 30 hours a week. It happens, but many of us always seem to make it work. We end up finishing the assignments on time, we walk in and out of the exam room in one piece, and we manage to get through the week without calling in “sick” to work. For students, we go through this every single year from middle school to post-secondary and look, we’re still alive!
4. Find Your Stress Relief
How do you relieve your stress? Do you go to the gym to sweat it all out, take a few yoga classes to relax, meditate before you sleep each night, or take nice hot baths at night? Whatever is really good at relieving your stress, aim to do it a few times a week. Set at least an hour or two each week to rejuvenate your mind and soul. As much as we want to work nonstop like robots day and night, we need the rest.
Mental health is SO important and you can’t work nonstop until you experience a burnout. By implementing stress-relieving activities into your routine, you are giving yourself the rest and relaxation that your body and brain needs to push through.
5. Stay Healthy & Hydrated
Last but definitely not least, it’s so important to stay healthy and hydrated! Nothing feels worse than being lethargic at a time of high stress. Many (or all) of us are guilty of stress eating and usually, we turn to junk food. If you pull out a bag of carrots or an apple when you’re stress, then you’re a champ. But let’s be honest… That bag of Cheetos look much more appetizing and our diet is probably the last thing we are concerned about.
Fueling your body with nutritious foods will make you feel much more energized and drinking enough water will ensure that you’re fully hydrated. I don’t need to go into the details because we’ve been learning about the food pyramid since the fourth grade, but please do your body a favour and don’t eat like a total pig. Trust me, you’ll feel much better mentally and physically. Stress eating junk food will make you feel sluggish and tired, which will make it more difficult to be productive and calm when under pressure. Plus, gaining unnecessary weight probably isn’t something you’d want to deal with either.
I hope these tips help you in one way or another! I know how hard it can be to stay totally calm under pressure and it’s ok because it’s normal. Just don’t forget to take the steps to avoid making the situation worse than it really is. How many times do you hype yourself up for something, then end up saying “well, that wasn’t so bad”?. If it doesn’t kill you, it will only make you stronger (I’m so cheesy lol). Surround yourself with people and brands that embody the same mission and goals as you. Companies like Tommy John, who promote wellness, balance, support and comfort are great ways to align what’s important and deserves focus in your life. To learn more about Tommy John, be sure to check out their popular underwear selection here.
Now that you guys know what steps I take to stay calm under pressure, I’d love to know what your favourite tips and tricks are! Maybe you have a personal story you want to share? I’d love to know!