stressed older woman illustration

Our Girls Online Community members are telling us how stressed they’re feeling, which is no surprise. So today, I wrote a blog telling them a few stress-relievers that work for me.

The post is here on the GOC.  Comments there can be made by girl members. Everyone else–parents and girl allies–can comment right on this post.

2020 has been a very stressful year so far, to say the least. And now, with Nov. 3rd’s election happening soon, I’m full of intense feelings. I feel very hopeful, but I also feel worried about what might happen. 

If you’re like me, you’re probably having trouble concentrating on things, especially everyday routine things like school or work. And how about feeling tense? I know that’s happening when my shoulders and jaw feel tight. Maybe you’re having mood swings up and down, positive to negative? 

Even with all the uncertainty and big feelings, the best way to help ourselves is to take loving, good care right now. This list is some stuff I can do that is helping me through this stress. And it also helps me support my family and friends. I invite you to try some of them. And please respond to my post with things that are helping you soothe yourself and feel calmer. 

Taking slow, relaxed, deep breaths when my body feels tight or upset. Notice I say breaths—I mean more than one or two. Focusing on slow breathing for a few minutes frees my mind so it can slow down, too. Sometimes I need to do it again five minutes later, but it works then, too. 

Talking to family and/or friends about how I’m feeling. I try to remember to start by asking them, “Do  you have a few minutes to listen to how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking?” I ask this because I know that many of my friends and family members are very stressed, too. The question gives them a chance to pause (maybe even take a deep breath!) and helps them be ready to listen. 

If a friend or family member isn’t able to listen or doesn’t want to listen right then, I say “OK” and then ask another person I trust. If no one can listen when I ask, I can do some writing, or make some art or take a slow walk. 

Doing repetitive things with my hands is also very satisfying and calming for me. It could be knitting, playing an instrument or watering houseplants, or cooking, or even folding laundry. As long as I do it more slowly than usual, it helps to also slow my breathing and relax my muscles. 

I also ask other people how they are doing. And then I do my best to listen without interrupting and to understand what they mean. That can be hard for me because I like fixing problems and friendly debating of ideas. But I know I CAN listen well when I focus on it. 

Write a gratitude list. It’s amazing how that helps. It can be short or long. I try to find 3 things I can see around me and 3 things I can feel. Like, right now, I’m grateful for the blue sky, the electricity powering my computer, your computer/tablet/phone, and the GOC website that connects us even if we’ve never met. 

Write a poem, a short story, or a song about how I’m feeling or what I’m worried about. 

Draw, paint, or collage about my feelings and thoughts. And sometimes, I make an “opposite” piece of art about the opposite of what I am feeling or thinking about when I’m stressed. 

If you try any of my suggestions, it would be cool to hear how it works for you.

And would you share the things that help you and the kids you love in the comments? I want to try some of the things that help you!

Founder of New Moon Girls. We Help Girls Grow with Courage, Creativity, Compassion & Community. We amplify girls' opinions, activism, sisterhood, writing & art in both our magazine and online. We help girls, parents, teachers and allies fight sexism together in their communities. Ad-free...

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  1. i love to draw 😀 i have a whole notebook. i do have some tips! if you like to do cartoon s or simple drawings,there are alot of videos on youtube. hope it helped! -stella

  2. I enjoy drawing simple art on graph paper. I have a couple of graph paper notebooks that I dedicated to stress-relief, which I find myself returning to a lot.

  3. Get outside. Touch living things, like a tree. Sometimes I just lie right on the ground. Bury my noise in the fur of a (friendly) animal!

    1. This is a great reminder – just the feel and smell of the earth calms and revitalizes me. I depend on gardening to help shift my mood to more positive. Nancy