Get Well

How to Destress Every Aspect of Your Life —According to the Chillhouse Team

by Susie Benitez

If you know anything about The Chill Times, it’s that we’re not ones to shy away from any sort of conversation about self-care. In your home, in your office, and basically in every aspect of your life, it’s practically our mission working to destress you as best as we possibly can and have you living the at “peak chill,” aka the life you absolutely deserve.

In honor of National Stress Awareness Day today, we decided to ask some familiar faces about how they handle stress in every aspect of their lives — and we really do mean every aspect. So without further ado, here’s how Team Chill tackles every day stresses, in their own words.

Work

I’ve gotten really used to the fact that work never ends for me so it’s actually becoming less and less of a nuisance and more of a lifestyle. With that said, I love what I do but even I need a break from time to time. The best way I do this on a grander level is by traveling. I find that monthly escapes — even if just for one or two days — allow me to recharge and come back into the office with an extra pep to my step. As far as business owner stress — that shit chases you. There’s no country far enough away to remove that heavy feeling on your shoulders. This truly is something you overcome by just being kind to yourself on a daily basis and having shorter moments of “stress release.” Whether that’s SoulCycle, sex, wine, meditation, even yelling or crying, I shake stress off regularly by feeling it, addressing it, and moving on quickly.

-Cyndi, CEO of Chillhouse and EIC of The Chill Times

Relationships

It’s really easy to allow stress to seep into your relationships because you are maintaining a balance between individuals with different psyches, perspectives, feelings, backgrounds, etc. Some stress is definitely natural and comes with wanting to have relationships with people who will naturally be different than you. However, I’ve learned that the best way to eliminate unnecessary stress in my relationships is to start by looking inward. I check in with myself and reassess if the relationship, whether platonic or romantic, is allowing the best sides of myself to shine through. If I find myself sinking into bad habits, negative self-talk, or general unhappiness, I take that as a big sign to take a step away from the relationship and refocus on the ones that are bringing me growth and happiness. Put yourself first, y’all!

-Eryn, Digital Marketing Coordinator

photo cred: Victoria Morris

School

On top of my job as the E-Commerce coordinator for Chillhouse, I’m finishing my senior year at NYU and yes — it’s a lot to handle. I’ve always worked or interned throughout college, but I definitely prioritize this job more than I have with others in the past (no shade to my babysitting gig, I promise I love those kiddies!), so making sure that I plan out my responsibilities at the start of the week is huge for me. This semester is particularly stressful because most of my work is centered around group projects, so I have to factor in other people’s schedules on top of my own. Being honest and realistic about the time you have to meet for projects is super important (again, no shade here but… you know how it can be). I want to be sure that I’m pulling my weight when it comes to a group project, but I also don’t want to commit to something that I just can’t handle. Also, partnering with people who have different strengths has saved me. When working with friends, we tend to gravitate towards completing the same tasks, so diversifying our team has been great for getting tasks done on time (even the ones you find tedious).

I feel that the biggest thing with managing stress from both school and work is knowing that neither one is the end of the world. I make sure to get the urgent items done first for both school and work, but if I need to skip one small assignment or skim through a reading, I don’t beat myself up about it. I don’t know that professors or my parents would agree with this, but I don’t feel awful if I skip a class or two when I’m feeling especially drained. For me, it’s sometimes more productive to skip a lecture to work on another assignment or catch up on sleep so the rest of the week is easier. I’ve never been someone that can pull all-nighters (or focus on schoolwork past 10:30 to be completely honest), so if I manage my time correctly, I’m able to dedicate that time to myself every day.

-Allegra, E-Commerce Coordinator

Travel

Even though I am a fairly constant traveler, the stress begins in the planning stages (so before I even leave my house). I ask myself,  Do I speak the language? How do I get a visa? When should I arrive at the airport? I’ve missed five flights this year, so yeah, you could say I’m usually pretty stressed until we make it through airport security at least. So while travel can be so frustrating, I’ve gotten to go on trips and have adventures that I never thought I would have the chance to do, like Mexico, Venice, and Seoul to name a few.

My best tips are:

  1. Travel early in the day; late flights are more likely to be delayed.
  2. Bring a distraction, such as an interesting book or an iPad. I usually bring my laptop to play Sims. 🙂
  3. Before you zip up your luggage, double-check everything you’re bringing.
  4. Brainstorm with your travel partners. You don’t want to waste time being bored when you get there, unless that’s your jam.
  5. Bring as minimal “stuff” as possible, but as far as clothing, make sure it’s comfy.
  6. Stay hydrated!

-Ella, Graphic Designer

Photo cred: Victoria Morris

Commuting

Almost every time I tell someone about my commute to work they tell me I’m crazy… they’re not wrong, but commuting is something we all have to deal with, right? Luckily some people can just walk a block or two to work but hey, doing things the easy way just isn’t my style. For the past two years, my daily commute to the city from upstate NY includes a 15-minute car ride to the Metro North train station, followed by a 15-minute walk from my car to the train (since I can never find parking), a 90-minute train ride to Grand Central Station followed by two subway transfers to the Lower East Side. Tadaaaa — I’ve FINALLY arrived and I’m totally not stressed at all! 🙂

Anyone who commutes from Long Island or New Jersey, I know you feel my pain but at least we’re not alone (can we all start a commuter support group, please?). I used to be frantic, you know, like running out of my house, forgetting things, and missing my train? However, after doing this for a couple years, I’ve learned four rules that have truly helped me remain calmer.

Here are four things you can try if you don’t want your commute stressful AF:

  1. Prep everything the night before: Pack your work bag, pick out two outfit options, do your hair and make your coffee/breakfast all the night before to make the AM hustle a little less intense. This has cut about 30 minutes off of my morning, I swear.
  2. Do your makeup on the train! If you don’t have a steady hand or don’t feel like carrying your makeup bag, do the basic skin care prep at home and apply your mascara/eyeliner when you first arrive at work. If you’re someone who isn’t comfortable leaving the house with no makeup on, maybe try out a new look that’s less labor intensive.
  3. Bring a laptop, journal, book: ANYTHING to keep you occupied. Continuously scrolling through Instagram gives me anxiety, so finding something else to do for over an hour is a major key for me. At one point in time, I was literally crocheting scarves on the train.
  4. Check if there’s a mobile app for your form of commuting. If you live in New York, download the Passport ParkingMTA Train Time, and/or the eTix app. They have saved me so much time and paper. I can rush from my car to the train and pay my dues while I’m waiting on the platform. This also helps you map out what your commuting costs will be for the month.

If you try these tips and you’re still feeling stressed, just… move closer to your job and never leave, I guess!

(P.S. YES, the commute is worth it! Especially when you get home after a long day and you’re removed from the chaotic city life.)

-Sara, Partnerships Manager for The Chill Times

Money

Fresh out of college, managing my finances isn’t something that I’ve had to do completely on my own before. Paying bills and budgeting is brand new territory to me. Long gone are the days where housing was covered and opportunities for free food were practically endless, and while some of that’s totally okay (I don’t miss dorm life even a little bit, but free food on the other hand…), it comes with a very different set of financial rules for me now. My money can’t go to my four vices—magazines, concert tickets, handbags, and sneakers—nearly as often as it used to.

While I do stumble every now and then (it’s only been six months after all!), I find that the best advice I’ve learned so far is that apps are a great way to keep track of your finances. I actually spend a decent amount of time each week scrolling through my bank’s app on my phone (Bank of America, represent!) looking through my different accounts. I focus on the charges and check how much I’m spending each week and what I’m spending it on. There are quite a lot of budgeting tools within these apps, so I highly suggest downloading your bank’s app and becoming well acquainted with its saving, spending, and in some cases, its cash back features (my absolute favorite of them all).

Another great app for finances is Qapital. This app has quickly become my favorite mostly because it’s just so darn simple. Qapital makes saving incredibly easy and effortless through its passive-saving rules. There are a bunch of different rules you can put in place, but my personal favorite is the “Round-Up” rule, which basically means that Qapital will round up all the transactions on your card to the nearest $1 and save it for you. Now you don’t have to manually put aside money every week unless you want to! (There’s a rule for that too, though). Trust me, what feels like pennies on the dollar (which, literally, it is) adds up pretty quickly.

Now as much as I love these apps, I can’t ignore the fact that I’m an analog person at heart. So once a month, I write down the current state of my saving goals, and my budgets for each month/week on paper so I can see it clearly and return to it whenever I need to. I know there’s definitely an app for this, many I’m sure, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with putting pen to paper every now and then!

-Susie, Editorial and Social Intern for The Chill Times

Photo cred: Victoria Morris

Working Multiple Jobs

Working four jobs is definitely not a walk in the park. Different time schedules, staying on track with each client’s projects, waking up incredibly early (and getting home incredibly late)—these are all stressors that I’m feeling pretty much constantly. Living in a city as non-stop as NYC, while handling a chaotic schedule nearly every day, it can be hard to find a balance and not getting swallowed by stress. If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this particular time in my life, it’s that listening to your body is one of the best things you can possibly do. The moment you start feeling sick, feeling slower, or feeling like your head is pounding… stop. Take a second to breathe and figure out what your body needs (usually it’s some sleep or a day off!). It took me a while to understand that my mind and body comes first, so when I finally decided to listen, my stress levels went way down. I was thinking clearer, staying organized, and simply felt happier. The key is balance. You can still be a four-jobs-kind-of-hardworking boss-lady and still be able to take a day off or have a slow morning to allow your brain to rest. You got to feel 100 percent to give your 100 percent!

-Victoria, Production and Audience Development Intern

Moving

Moving is incredibly stressful, so I’m just going to keep this short and sweet. There are four things I’ve learned whilst moving around Brooklyn multiple times per year, just for fun:

  1. Pack slowly and graciously over the few weeks before your move. I usually start with the tiniest trinkets and then move to the larger items like books and clothing. If you make packing two to four items part of your daily ritual, it becomes mindless and simple, and when moving day finally comes… poof! You’re basically done!
  2. Throw everything else away. Okay, not everything (unless you want to, which is very chill and fine with me), but plan to get rid of at least 1/4 of your “stuff” before moving day. This is the best opportunity to purge and figure out exactly what to bring with you into your new home. 
  3. I love food. So sometimes I plan to host cute dinner parties with my friends the week before my move, and casually start packing around them in hopes that they’ll probably help, otherwise purge them, too.
  4. Drink CBD the night before your move and save some for a mid-day relaxer — I personally LOVE Sprig Soda.

Happy travels, friends!

-Anthoni, Senior Manager, Brand Partnerships & Events for Chillhouse

General Anxiety

As someone who has general anxiety, I tend to overthink and over examine a lot of information that’s around me. It can be exhausting constantly having to tell myself not to when it’s something that my brain tends to do naturally on its own. Hearing “just relax” or “don’t worry so much” from others doesn’t help me, and in fact, makes things worse, because I’m NOW over thinking about that. Phew, so BASICALLY what I’m trying to say is that I have a lot of tricks that help me chill the eff out and I hope it does with you. 

  1. Baths – I don’t know about you, but if you have a tub, put your body in it. Taking a bath after a really crummy day helps my brain relax in ways I never imagined. I normally dim or eliminate the lights entirely, add a few candles (hint, hint), sprinkle some Epsom salts, and fill up a glass with ice lemon water to help me feel like I am in a spa. During these 20-30 minutes, I’ll either meditate (which is also another great trick to helping me find balance with my thoughts) or read a book. I try not to look at my phone (even though it’s really hard not to bring it in with me) but I find that when I do, I tend to focus on what’s happening out in the world instead of trying to heal myself.
  2. Stay Away From Caffeine – Okay, I still have a really hard time with this one, but listen, I live in New York, and there is only so much I can do. I noticed that when I consume coffee 3-4 days in a row, my anxiety tends to shoot up immediately. So, for me personally, I tend to just stick to tea or give my body a break from caffeine in general and switch to water. I find that being mindful of what I put in my body really helps with my mental health. While I wouldn’t consider myself a health nut, I do try to eat leafy greens every now and then. So eat your vegetables and drink water, kids.
  3. Focus on Your Breath – When I’m in the middle of having racing thoughts, I stop whatever I’m doing and focus on my breath. I take in a 3-count inhale and let out a 3-count exhale. I do this a few times and then do a full body scan. Sometimes when you’re stressed, you don’t realize when your body tenses up and taking a moment to do a full body scan can allow you to find the areas that you need to relax and readjust.
  4. Be Aware of Your Triggers – While therapy has truly helped me in this department and I know that I am fortunate enough to have the ability and insurance to do this (please check out NYC NOW if you’re thinking of talking to someone), it has been incredibly helpful for my state of mind and mental health to be self-aware of what exactly triggers my anxiety. This might be different for each person, but you can begin a journal or note of what triggers you notice that alter your state of mind. From here you can begin to process ways to avoid or heal through these moments or bring them to your therapist so he/she can help you through this. Whatever you do during this time, don’t think that you’re weak or broken. Thank yourself for taking this step and remind yourself that healing is a process. Talking positively to yourself is a key way to love yourself. So do you, boo!

-Raven, Editorial Director of The Chill Times

The chillest of the chill have officially spoken.

Feature image via Vanessa Granda

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