“The cure for everything is saltwater- sweat, tears, or the sea” — Isak Dinesen
You know that feeling when stress is creeping up around the corner and you can feel it, ready to breathe down your neck, prepared to crush relaxing activities in your schedule? As much as you know it’s coming, you have little to defend yourself against being stressed out right?
Teachers, I know that this feeling starts to hit at the end of summer when you are ready to head back to school. Even if you’re not a teacher, I know this also hits at the end of a vacation when you’re dreading coming back to a mountain of emails at your office job.
Today’s quote is one I really love. I love the idea that the cure for everything is in nature, saltwater- sweat, tears, or the sea. To avoid that stressed out feeling, looking to nature for inspiration is a great step. I’ve broken this quote down into its three parts for today’s post, so we can talk about different methods or “cures” for stress.
Sweat as a Cure for That Stressed Out Feeling
Are you active during the week? Do you make time to exercise?
Lots of research like this article from Harvard shows being active keeps our brain ready to learn. A study from UBC even shows that doing some cardio can increase the size of the part of your brain that is involved in verbal memory and learning. Personally, I feel that working out is a priority. I love the post-run or post-workout feeling of exhilaration.
Now I know some might consider my obsession with scheduling training a little overboard, but it makes me happy. I weight/circuit train two hours a week, swim twice a week (usually a lesson), and do my best to run 3 times a week. This summer I’ve added in surf lessons, too, to mix it up and add a challenge. If you’re following my Insta, you’ve probably seen the pics.
Tears & Stress
So I have to admit that I definitely had tears of frustration this week. Unfortunately, this came from a teacher! That’s right – I signed up for private surf lessons and last class, the instructor nearly had me in tears.
Don’t get me wrong, I love working towards a goal and have the discipline for some pretty intense workouts. However, I believe teachers need to have patience and be ready to explain steps multiple times, even if they’ve done so the previous class. Also, in my view, a teacher’s role is to guide, give feedback, and be compassionate, especially when students struggle.
My surf instructor basically told me that “repeating over and over” was the only technique, and accused me of “arguing” when I asked for more feedback on technique. He was consistently much farther ahead in the ocean telling me to “Come on!”, while I was near the shore, struggling to get on the board as the waves splashed past me. When I complained I needed more instruction, he said he’d “already explained 50 times” and that “no one explains to a child how to walk; he repeats and falls and then learns”.
That is not a teaching style I work well with, so I was quite stressed!
So, I vented to my fellow teacher friends – and I have to say, having a support network is one of the best cures if you’re stressed out.
(Needless to say, I’ve ditched the private teacher and I’ll be starting group classes at a surf school this weekend).
Find that support network.
I believe we need to vent our frustrations, and not be afraid to feel our emotions. Of course, we need to also be ready to listen to others in our support network when they need to vent.
Whether we do this by WhatsApp, Skype or in person, I always manage to feel a little calmer and less stressed out when I feel someone understands how I feel.
The Sea, Nature & A Cure for Stress
A year ago, I wouldn’t swim anywhere in the sea I couldn’t touch – but I set a goal to change this. Since I live right on the Mediterranean, it seemed that it would be a missed opportunity to not take advantage of that!
Now (one year later) not only have I learned to swim better, but I’m even taking surfing lessons to try out a water sport. Whether it’s in the water, in the mountains, or in a park, I always feel that connecting to nature can help stress. Remember to turn off your phone while you do this – there is nothing more annoying than a mobile connection that distracts you when you are trying to disconnect!
If you’re feeling stressed out, I’d suggest trying these ideas because they always seem to help me a little:
Exercise – Head to the gym, go for a run, or try a brand new, fun sport you’ve never tried
Breathe – I struggle with this one, but I think we should try to take the time to take deep breaths
Cuddle A Puppy – This is one of my favourites! Find a puppy at the park, or at a shelter and spend some time with him or her, if you don’t have your own.
Take A Walk – Kind of a repeat – but a walk can clear your head!
Tell A Friend – Vent, vent, vent. Use those support networks!
Find a Way To Laugh – Even a quick Netflix comedy special can do the trick. Breathe, and laugh.
Well, that’s today’s post on stress management! What are your top stress prevention techniques? What do you do when you’re feeling stressed out? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Have a lovely and productive week!
P.S. The photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took in Blanes, Girona, Spain a couple years ago.
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