Learning to go with the flow

I’ve always been a stickler for the rules, someone who lives by a schedule, and someone who likes everything to go according to plan. Okay… that makes me seem a bit lame and scary, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like organization and precision.

I’ve never been one of those last minute people who are able to just go with the flow. I always feel as though there’s always something I should be doing or something I could be doing, that if I just stopped and didn’t work according to a plan, I would be missing out on something else. This is often annoying as it is frankly impossible to do EVERYTHING in life and to do it all to a high quality. While you’re too busy trying to be perfect you miss out on the small things in life that are quite special.

This is something that I vowed to change about myself last year. After finishing the last school year, I was sick and tired of always feeling like I had to stick to a schedule in order to get everything done. I wanted to take some time off, do whatever I felt like, while still being productive. I wanted to re-program my work-style into a more sustainable one – a schedule that didn’t stress me out as much, and one that was flexible based upon how I was feeling or if I wanted to do something special that day.

You see, with sticking to a schedule, I always felt like I was missing out on something. Maybe it was time I wanted to spend with my family or time I wanted to spend face timing a friend abroad, I always felt as though if I strayed from my planned out schedule I would not get everything done. Living like this was exhausting, not to mention draining. This is why I wanted to change it this year, and I have to say I am happy with the progress I’ve made.

I may not be in a perfect place yet, but I am still proud of how far I’ve come. I have more work than ever before to do this year, but strangely I don’t stick to a schedule as tightly as before. I realized that you’re never going to have everything finished, so you might as well integrate your work with something fun, and take yourself less seriously, otherwise, you’re never going to be able to let go.

Now, I can only speak from my own experience, and perhaps, this only applies to teenagers like myself, I’m not sure. But I know that constant worrying and stressing does nothing. It gets you nowhere, and you always feel like there is more to be done. Recently I’ve been trying to be more flexible with my work and take it wherever I need to go. Sometimes if I know I’ll be spending a lot of time in the car, I won’t let that stress me out, I’ll just make sure I have some work to do while I’m there. Or if my family decides that they want to go to the beach in an hour, I won’t say no just because I haven’t got it scheduled in my diary. I’ll assess my situation and take the time off and enjoy myself for a bit. Of course, this isn’t a rationale for slacking, but it’s a reminder that you need to take a breather once in a while and just go with the flow. Do something based upon how you’re feeling because after all a bit of spontaneity is good for us.

Next time you let your stress get the better of you, just remember that nothing will ever be 100% perfect, just put all of your efforts into it, and also take some time for yourself to do something you enjoy. What do you think about this? I would love to know, share your ideas in the comment section.

See you next week!

Little Miss Expat

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Stress: My Story + Dealing with it

Hi, Guys!

Today I am finally going to write a post that I have wanted to write for ages… my experience with stress, and dealing with it. I hope this is useful to you guys because I’m no expert on this, but I am simply a teen sharing her experiences and tips. This is will also be an ongoing series so I will write more posts about this as I find new things that help me, or I experience anything that I think you should hear about.

So stress. We all experience it, some more than others. And for me in the past year, it got to the point where my stress levels rose so high I had to start finding ways to deal with it. I don’t know if it’s that I’m a perfectionist, or maybe that I’m very sensitive, or even that I just worry about EVERYTHING, but I find that I stress over everything, and I stress a lot. My friends and family are always telling me that I need to calm down, but I find it hard to just switch off, as I feel like my brain is always one step ahead of me, telling me what I have to do next to get to where I want to be.

But too much stress isn’t good for you, and it can even be dangerous. It’s important to control it and learn what to do when you feel like this. For me, I’ve worked out some tips that help me a lot, and that I use all the time. So I thought that I would share them with you in case they help!

Meditation Apps – This is something that I have recently started using, as I felt like I needed to learn how to let my brain relax. I downloaded the free app ‘calm’, and I also downloaded ‘headspace’. I listened to a 12-minute session on ‘Calm’ called ‘7 Days of Calming Anxiety’ and it was really helpful. I saw the differences almost immediately, as it taught me some tricks to use throughout the day to ensure I stay calm. I haven’t used headspace yet, but I have heard some good reviews and look forward to trying it. I think that apps are a great way to learn about what you should be doing if you don’t know anyone who can help you, or if you just want to enjoy some relaxation at home.

Focusing on the moment – This is something that I learned by listening to the ‘7 Days of Calming Anxiety’ session. It means that by focusing on the moment you are currently in, you worry less about the future and don’t get as stressed about it. So something it taught me is that to ‘be in the moment’ you should focus on one sensation of your body. For example, if I’m feeling stressed I can take a deep breath and focus on what sounds I hear around me, or the feeling of my hands against the cool surface I’m leaning on. For me, thinking about these simple things allow me to slow down and focus on the moment a bit more.

‘Down Time’ – My downtime is something that I take very seriously. Every day after I come back from school, I make sure that I take some time to sit down, take a hot shower, organize what I’m going to do next, and eat something. This time allows me to calm down and re-arrange my thoughts before I start on my homework. I also do this before I go to sleep, I light a candle, wash my face, brush my teeth, and listen to some music. I think it’s important to take some time as your ‘down time’ as your life shouldn’t be ‘GO GO GO!’ all the time. You don’t have to necessarily do what I do, but just take some time out regularly to calm down and gather your thoughts.

Candles – So this isn’t a big one, but it is just something I have found that helps me create a relaxing, stress-free environment. Something about the aromatic smell and seeing the cozy yellow flicker allows me to relax better, I have no idea why, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Music – Music is also something that calms me, and lets me de-stress. Although, it has to be the right music. There’s no use listening to fast pop or rock music if you want to concentrate or relax. I usually listen to acoustic songs or slower pop songs, and there are plenty of playlists that I use on Spotify that have songs specifically for this. My favorite are ‘Revision Ballads’ and ‘Feeling Acoustically Good’.

Writing or saying thoughts aloud and going through them – This is something that I read about once and I decided to try. What you do is, write out a list of why you think you’re stressed or worried and go through the list and think about why you are actually worried about that, what is the worst thing that will happen? Is it really that bad? In reality, we always make things out worse in our heads than they actually are in real life. And by going through them properly you can swat away some of those anxieties.

Running – Now this might not be one that works for everyone because I know a lot of people don’t enjoy running. But I think that any kind of intense physical activity helps to relieve stress. Something to do with the release of endorphins that makes you happy and happiness makes you less worried. I mean I’m no scientist, but I know that exercising does work well to relieve stress for me.

Reading – As I mentioned before I find it hard to just switch off my brain, so I found an alternative. Personally, I love reading anyway, but reading allows me to focus on someone else’s story for a while and forget about my own. I’m sure other readers can relate to this? It’s easy to lose yourself in a book for a while and forget everything that’s going on. That’s why even on days when I’m really tired I still make sure I keep time to read before I go to sleep.

Woah, that was a long post!!!! But it is something that I have wanted to share with you guys for a while, as I know I’m not the only one that gets stressed and has to deal with it. At the end of the day, I still remember that I’m still a teenager and it’s normal for teens to feel this way. But if you have any other ways you deal with stress? A story you have to share? Or if you have tried any of my tips? Please let me know in the comments or contact me as I would love to hear from you guys (reading and replying to your comments always makes me so happy)!!!!

Have a stress-free day!

Little Miss Expat

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‘Calm’ Meditation App

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‘Calm’ Meditation App

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Writing down thoughts and going through them

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Reading

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Reading (one of my favorite books!)

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Candles & Creating a Stress-Free Environment

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More Candles…