How I Thrive On Stress (& Why Being Calm Is Overrated)

Tuesday, 24 September 2019


LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY - LAZY SUNDAYS ARE NOT MY THING

If watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend obsessively for years has taught me anything - it's that you should never run over your ex-boyfriends-new-girlfriends cat. Oh, and that life makes no narrative sense whatsoever. In books, movies and media there is a clear narrative that is carefully crafted for the characters, they start here end there and every decision they make, makes perfect sense. Real life is nothing like that - people are impulsive, strange and don't fit into one 'category'. So, I'm just letting you know that in a few days time when I get unnecessarily stressed about something fairly ridiculous, I might look back on this post and want to scream - but right now it makes sense to type out everything I'm about to. Apologies to my future, stressed self.


Arguably, being 'cool' has transformed from cigarettes and boy-racer cars to retreats in Bali and a plant-based diet. If you shop vintage, meditate twice a day, practice mindfulness always and preach the ways of veganism - you're seen to have it all. You are living that calm, serene life everyone else is dreaming of at three in the morning as they chug that last Red Bull so they can send a final email or finish an essay draft that's due in five hours.
But, I'm sorry to crush all the dreams of the yoga-pant-wearing people reading this - being calm is overrated. Calm can very quickly turn to boring, unmotivated Tuesday mornings where you sprawl out on your sofa and watch re-runs of Miranda. Calm can turn to the refusal to take out the bins because it might 'interrupt my zen.' I'm sorry, but your 'Zen' is just going to have to deal with the disruption of you taking the bins out. I think your Zen will cope.


I completely understand the worlds desperation for calm right now, it needs it in so many different ways in so many different places. But, in recent months I've noticed that stress (and a little chaos) isn't always a bad thing, it can be a strange, powerful thing that (handled carefully) can make a person more productive and motivated than their usual coffee-fuelled self.

I've said before in my blog about the immense pressure on people recently (especially women) to be in this state of blissful, mindful calm, where choices are deliberate and everything is so considered. But, being honest, although that mindset is lovely, it should be reserved for Christmas and other celebratory occasions where cake is served, because if everybody had this mindset everyday - nothing would get done. Nothing. It is practically impossible to be productive and achieve goals with a mindset of avocados and 'slowing down'. Peace means being content, and being content means you're not pushing forward, you're not working towards something new or aiming higher.


Consider this: in the last year I've written over seventy blog posts. For each one I've written first and second drafts, spent hours taking and editing photos, researching masses of topics, contacting brands and more. I've written over seventy-thousand words of a novel and thousands more for others. I did my fair share of shifts at a local cafe. I attended basketball games and concerts religiously. I met up with friends constantly. I cooked meals for my family and re-decorated our new house. I listened to thousands and thousands of minutes of music and podcasts. I got ill. I travelled to a bunch of new places. I went to Harry Potter World (finally). I gave advice (not all good, sorry) to friends and family. I read a stack of books. I went on holiday with my friends. I went to the beach on holiday with my friends. I got badly sunburnt on holiday with my friends. I watched endless hours of films and TV. I cried (correction: wept) at Toy Story 4 in cinemas. I watched Love Island with my Mum after revising for my GCSE exams. I did over twenty-five GCSE exams. I got mad at the state of the environment, I danced at festivals, I baked a cake or two.


I didn't do any of that by being calm and collected. No. I was completely disorganised, confused and especially messy. I had at least twenty tabs open on my computer, sixty different to-do lists floating around my room, messy hair and a bad back. I ruined my sleeping routine ten-times-over, I cried, I complained, I ignored text messages, I ranted at friends, I left a huge pile of clothes sitting on my desk chair for several months (it's still there).

I'm definitely not a calm, controlled being - in-fact most of the time I'm stressed. I'm constantly checking the time on my phone because there is always somewhere to be, I'm obsessively checking emails and to-do lists, I plan every bit of my life meticulously because if I didn't - all the balancing plates would smash and my feet would get cut on the shards. This might all sounds rather horrific and scary and 'why would you choose to live like that - are you insane?' (maybe, just a little bit). But I love living like this. I still flop on the sofa and watch First Dates with my Mum and a bag of M&M's, I still read books in an armchair on rainy days and sing to Ed Sheeran in the car with my sister. Those moments are great but that doesn't mean I don't love a high-pressured, highly-regimented situations where stuff is getting done.


Maybe I should be calmer. Maybe me and the calm yoga-pant-wearing woman reading this now are one and the same. We're both sitting on our unmade beds, staring at that giant pile of clothes on our desk chair seeing who will break first. We're both just trying to figure out how to leave. Because that's what we are all trying to figure out really, isn't it? That's why we love watching 'morning routine' videos on Youtube and why we're obsessed with self-help books. We're all just trying to figure out which is the best way to live our lives: thriving off of stress, or thriving off of calm. The funny thing is, nobody knows what's the best way for sure. Maybe in seventy years me and that almond-milk-drinking woman will look back and realise that we're both just as fabulously wrinkly and tired as one another.
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Yes, there are issues with my generation being far too obsessed with being busy and stressed. The world is finding itself with a young, successful and lonely generation of people addicted to their phones and stress itself, whilst being completely riddled with anxieties. However that's a conversation for another time. My point is, that stress isn't this huge scary thing - it can be motivating and bloody brilliant. What's your favourite way to 'wind down' after a long day? Do you enjoy high-pressure situations? x

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Womens Black Strap Back Satin Midi DressSlip dress - Black - | H&M GB 2

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Lots of love,
Grace
xox

53 comments:

  1. Interesting post. I think the thing with the push for calm is that obviously we're now aware of how bad that stress is/ can be for general health. I definitely thrive more when I'm busy, feel more productive when I have a larger to-do list etc. But at the same time, I am quite organised and although sometimes stressed, that's never that enjoyable. I don't think Bali and yoga are for me, but it doesn't sound like the worst way to live either x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. I completely agree Hun, thank you so so much for such a lovely comment, it's so kind of you!! x

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  2. I need to work on being calmer too...I think it's hard in this world of go, go, go! But it's the calm times that get us through all the craziness.
    XOOX
    Jodie

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  3. Usually I'm not the one who can sit forever still on my sofa. I do like to do stuff and I'm completely enjoying stressful moments when I get to enjoy the situation. When I got to run errands or do the houshold I need a five on a regular basis lol.

    xx Simone
    Little Glittery Box

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    1. Haha I completely get you Hun, thank you so much for a lovely comment! x

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  4. So you are my opposite, I am never stressed, or at least not that much, stressing out for me is a waste of time but maybe I should be less composed and give in a little bit!
    Don't Call Me Fashion Blogger
    Facebook
    Bloglovin'

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  5. It's all about your attitude and state of mind. I find that I am more productive when I am under pressure. Have a great week. xo
    http://fashiontalesblog.com

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  6. Stressed out later in life takes a toll so that's why I'm try to find more quiet time now. I felt the same way when I was your age and I see a lot of your points. Now, I pray and try to just sit with nature. It really helps me stay grounded. If I don't do this, I freak out on my kids sometimes. Lol!

    https://www.kathrineeldridge.com

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  7. I'm in love with the vibrant colors and how you lay out the photos, so gorgeous :)

    - Marina W
    http://www.waitmarinawho.com/2019/09/storyteller-by-nyhavn-copenhagen.html

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  8. You are absolutely right, nothing gets done if there's no stress involved. I guess balance is key, as long as we know how to chill too at the end of the busy times and workloads we should be ok. Very nice post you have here.

    www.busyandfab.com

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  9. I can't keep still.I'm the one always doing stuff :D

    Federica
    www.federicadinardo.com

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  10. Such a great post! Thanks for sharing!

    Carina | https://carinazz.blogspot.com/

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  11. Very interesting post to read! I agree that being too calm leads to complacency. I think the "zen" is finding a balance between calm and stress. Thank you for sharing, Grace Louise! :)

    http://lizzyslatest.com/

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  12. Very interesting post. I agree with you that all of us trying to figurate way how to be happy and satisfied. Like you I'm not calm person. I all the time need some action around me, and that mean stares. For me be calm is practicing calm in stresfull situation, not I'm siting at home practicing yoga and I'm calm.

    New Post - http://www.exclusivebeautydiary.com/2019/09/armaniprive-rose-alexandrie_25.html

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  13. Hey dear! Love your post and your blog, already follow you.
    I want invite you to visit and follow my blog back <3

    pimentamaisdoce.blogspot.pt

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  14. Great post.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  15. Stress doesn't have to be scary as long as we learn how to channel it properly.

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  16. I definitely wish I could be calmer and stress out less, but it's so hard sometimes!

    www.sundaydahlias.com

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  17. This is such an interesting post! "Life makes no narrative sense whatsoever" is so so true! I love your pics! Hope you are well x

    findyourownhope.com

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  18. I totally agree with you. I think stress can be a very powerful thing. I have to commit, I´ve never been bored in my adult life, I don´t know this feeling anyway. Thanks for this post, what a great one. Have a lovely weekend, love x S.Mirli
    https://www.mirlime.at

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  19. love the pics
    https://www.stylebasket.in

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  20. I love the atmospheric, warm imagery in this post babe. You've made some interesting points in this blog post too; I think sometimes we can definitely benefit from stepping out of our comfort zone!!

    aglassofice.com x

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  21. Such a different perspective on this topic! I know stress motivates me to work harder which is one great thing about it xx

    Beauty & Colour | Daily Harvest Review + Discount

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  22. This is an interesting way to look at it! For me, I don't like being overly busy. i find it easier to be in the moment and relax and walk around at toddler-speed when I don't have too much on, so I'm all for more zen and calm, haha! I think a balance is good! :)


    Hope that you are having a lovely weekend :) We were out at a birthday party today, beautiful weather for it!

    Away From Blue

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  23. what a cute post, love how detailed your description is. I also panic whenever there is deadline but I'm panicking quietly but my mind is full of anxiety hahaha. People have different way to cope up with things.

    Capturing Life Memoirs | Aimee

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  24. What a beautiful place! Wonderful photos!
    http://www.recklessdiary.ru

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  25. Totally agree with you, we all should try to be less stressed. It is definitely the evil of our times.
    xx Elisa
    www.francinesplaceblog.com | DIY & LIFESTYLE BLOG

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  26. Wonderful pictures and sharing what you do is so helpful!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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  27. Stress and anxiety are definitely a motivator for getting things done and accomplishing work, I guess its all about striving for balance!

    Jill
    https://jilliancecilia.com/

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  28. Thanks for sharing your thoughts love. Some will agree and some won't agree that they thrive on stress or that peace is boring. I'm thirty-nine years old and have had my share of experiences in life and would much rather have peace. Does peace last forever in this life, nope, but it is something that I strive to have more of. Stress can be too much to bare and hard on not just yourself, but others around you. I believe you thrive from being busy, which I can definitely attest you. Hope after writing this blog post it has helped you self reflect and understand yourself better. Love your photos too babe.

    XO,
    www.stylemefancy.com

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  29. I guess balance between calm and stress is necessary.
    Love your photos.
    Kisses!

    galerafashion.com

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  30. This is such a beautiful read. Indeed, balance is everything. Thanks for sharing dear!

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

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  31. I think it's great to be busy and all but you should also set some time for yourself and enjoy these great moments of doing nothing. Good to have both!

    www.fashionradi.com

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  32. Very interesting post, I usually have lots of stress situations at work and try not to let them get over me, but sometimes it's not easy...

    Kisses,

    https://www.theartofpaloma.com/

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  33. Great post! As I got older I learned that quiet moments and prayer help a lot to just calm yourself down! It's important to relax and just let you mind wander...Well written and I love your pics, dear!
    xoxo, Vanessa
    www.WhatWouldVWear.com

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  34. This is such an interesting post! I'm always stressed out and I find it impossible to just sit down and relax!
    Sometimes, I wish I could switch off -just for a few minutes, but I think part of it is just who you are (and trying to relax just makes me stressed!)
    Julia x
    https://www.thevelvetrunway.com/

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  35. Wow such an interesting read - I agree I find it impossible to relax too - so I guess we do need a bit of stress to keep things interesting !

    www.pink-purpledots.blogspot.com

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  36. Very thought provoking. I think for me it depends on the stress. I mean I suffered with anxiety and stress so badly that I was on my last nerve for years and in a really bad way, on the verge of a breakdown, so I think it does depend on the stress and the causes and whether it's productive or counter productive. You of course need some type of stress to get things done, like meeting deadlines and such, but I've responded a lot better to calmness and trying to stay chilled rather than getting in a flap about stuff lol. But you are right that zen does come with a slightly lazy air to it. I hope you're well and having a lovely October so far!

    Raindrops of Sapphire

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  37. I thrive a bit on stress too, but I do reach a point where I get overwhelmed and cease to be productive. It's a balance!

    District of Chic

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  38. Nice post dear! Have a great weekend! xx

    La ilusión de Nina - http://lailusiondenina.blogspot.com.es/

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  39. I like these photos, absolutely gorgeous!

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  40. Hahaha too funny this post reminds of that episode of SITC where Carrie runs in to old friend in LA who was a super uptight cranky New Yorker and is supposedly all calm but he does not eat all his food but just chews it and then spits it out. And then gets cranky. Pretty funny. But yes can't be in denial of the stress lol

    Allie of
    www.allienyc.com

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  41. Great post, I love your photos! :)...Would you like to follow each other? If yes, please follow me on my blog and I´ll follow you back :) - https://whatafancyworldbylaura.blogspot.com

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  42. Great post! Have a great week.
    xx- Nina
    http://www.stylingwithnina.com/2019/10/how-to-style-corduroy-skirt-for-fall.html

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  43. Great post. Thank you for sharing! :)New post  -  www.minniearts.com   

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  44. This was an interesting read! One thing I have to point out after reading this - at least you're being very productive! There are times when I get stressed and nervous, I literally do nothing. I am numb and it takes some time for me to calm down and group my racing thoughts together. It takes a lot of dedication to control your brain xx

    Naya
    www.nayatilly.com

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  45. This is so awesome! I love your thinking and tackling the stress.
    Nice Post! Have a great day!
    Allurerage
    Rampdiary

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  46. Estupendo post ! Siempre escribes con tanto cariño! Espero verte pronto por mi blog ! Me encanta saber tu opinión sobre mis entradas! Feliz noche! 💙💙💙

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  47. Ahh i love this post l!! This is so random but you've got such a lovely writing style i feel like you'd make the perfect magazine editor haha

    Lily Loves | https://www.lilyloves.net

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