This has nothing to do with alternative things. Unless you count the occasional sense of nihilism and chaos that is stereotypical of the goth and Punk scene. Either way, I've been feeling a bit out of control of my life. Here's the things I did to make me self feel slightly better.
- Create a Budget:
I made a spreadsheet to help myself make sure I was saving the right amount to meet all the necessities and taxes.
Is money stressing you out? Even if it isn't the direct source of stress in your life right now, chances are it's something floating around in the back of your head. Money management is one extra source of stress regardless of your situation. If things seem spiralling out of control, then money is the first place to start to feel in control again. Maybe its social situations stressing you out, plans for your future, event planning ,trip planning ,work things going awry etc. The trick here is to use your budget as the pillar of solidity in your life. If you can get your budget and spending under control, then you will have one thing to fall back on as your “at least I'm doing okay here.” A balanced budget is solid proof that you will be okay, you will make ends meet, you will get through the year. It may also reveal some areas where you need to cut back. Can't afford that trip you're stressing about? Now you can plan exactly how to save to afford it. Apartment issues driving you crazy? The budget will help you estimate how much you can afford to pay to get out of the lease or how much to save in order to afford to relocate to a nicer place. Social life getting out of control? Use the budget to see how much you can really justify on spending on crazy outings and use this as a way to learn to say no when you financially can't take on more.
- Make a Schedule:
I make lists of to do's, but I started putting all events and deadlines into a digital calender that I can access anywhere. No more forgetting my paper agenda.
Time is another key factor in maintaining control over your life. Think of a schedule as a budget for your time. You only have so much time to give out, and you are allowed to be selective about what you spend it on and who you spend it with. Use your schedule to get on top of deadlines, plan events and dates well in advance, and quickly avoid time conflicts. Remember to schedule “you-time” – time at the desk to address important tasks, time to do your laundry, time to wash the floors and bathroom, time to do the dishes, time to exercise and time to eat. If you aren't taking care of core self care tasks and chores then it's very easy for your life to feel at crisis. Just like the money budget, the schedule can be a useful tool for learning to say no to people / activities when too many things are piling up.
- Do something to your appearance:
I got a hair cut, threw-out old ratty clothes that I had been holding onto, and got some soap that was better for my skin.
Your body is entirely your own. You can do what ever you wish to change your look. Try dying your hair a new color, try getting a hair cut, try a new make-up routine, try going make up free, try a new outfit. Go as bold or as temporary as you'd like. Even if it's just for a night, changing your appearance can be a way to reclaim control over a simple aspect of your life. Your outside appearance is entirely in your control, regardless of other events in your life.
- Evaluate your situation and current events. Take Action Now.
I learned everything I possibly could about the issue and started my own action plan to eliminate the problems.
Is there a specific event that triggered this feeling of being out of control? Or is it a stream of several different events causing you anguish? Lots of things can happen that will make your life feel absolutely wild. Lose your job, suffer through a break up, face a basement flood, face a bug infestation, face planning for a future that seems totally uncertain after graduation. Sometimes major events, (or even minor events) happen that are 100% out of your control. Evaluating how you got here is important, learning from past mistakes that may have contributed to the issue is incredibly important. But that point of reflection should occur once you've reached momentary stability. If the situation (or crisis) is getting out of control then at this point there is no use sitting around wallowing in all the things you wish you did differently to better prepare for the situation. Instead, take action. Look at the things you can do right now to fix the problem. Accept what is out of your control (you can't change how others feel, you can't stop the storm from damaging things, you can't stop bugs from hitching a ride on your neighbor's dog and making a home in your unit). Then plot a course of action that you can be in control of (apologize to those who need apologies and move on from the social dilemma; grab a mop and call a plumber; start cleaning and call an exterminator; start sending out resumes.) Take small steps, plot small wins, and remember that you will make it through the crisis to the other side.
Not okay yet, but I will be. And that's okay.
Once the crisis is stabilized, at least momentarily, reflect on the issue. What was the cause? Was there any thing you could have done to prevent it? What can you learn from the situation? Some times there is truly nothing you could have done; not without having some form of future sight. When you find there's nothing you could have done accept it. Give yourself permission to forgive yourself. Even if you could have prevented it, remember that we all make mistakes. And now, you might have an understanding of preventative measures to take avoid this problem in the future. Implement that plan. Preventative measures can also often be used to prevent a situation from growing even more severe than it already is.
So there's my rant / survival guide for general stress without many specifics at all. I hope some one else finds this useful.
Here's some music: