Today we’ve been asked to write about stress, and more specifically, how we cope with or deal with stress when it comes along. As someone who has suffered from anxiety in the past, I have made it my business to know and understand a whole host of stress-relief techniques and coping mechanisms. I have a whole list of them, a wide variety of things that I know can help me combat that dreaded feeling.
One of my absolutely favourite ways to combat stress, apart from to not less stress occur in the first place of course, is to go and check the sea is still there.
It’s an old family joke – my Granddad, God bless him, would try and see the sea every day just to check it was still there. I remember this most when they lived in Budleigh Salterton, an absolutely gorgeous little seaside town in Devon, not far from Exmouth. The sea was a few minutes drive from their flat on Lansdowne Road (I could take you there, I remember it that well) – we would drive into and through the little town centre with shops on either side of the street, up and over the hill, and to the car park. We would then walk along the promenade for a short while before heading back to the car and going back to the flat again. It was a pebbly beach but it was, is, beautiful. There were always people – young and old – wandering along the concrete path, looking in the beach huts, paddling in the cold water, eating ice cream. If we were lucky then we might see an otter in the river water adjacent to the car park. We did the walk along that sea path in the middle of summer, when it was raining, on Christmas Day, whenever we visited my Nan and Granddad. I loved it.
I definitely caught the seaside bug from my Granddad. It could be the most beautiful unspoilt place or the cheesiest seaside resort, I don’t care. As long as the sea is still there. All I want is to see the sea, listen to the waves, and breath in the salty air as deep as I can get it. Perhaps the inevitable sea breeze physically blows that feeling stress gives you in the pit of your stomach away? Or maybe it’s the reminder of stress-free times as a child that helps me relax. Whatever it is, it works for me. The sea has such power, such grace. It reflects whatever is going on around it. It is beautiful to watch in the sunshine and in the rain, when it is still and when it is rough. I could spend hours just watching the waves. I wish I had the time – and I wish I could see it from my lounge window although then maybe it wouldn’t have such a great impact.
I would say that the windy view from the top of a very big hill that I’ve just walked up is equally as good a stress-reliever for me. But it’s not. Non-sea-view-views come in a very close second but to guarantee getting rid of whatever is bothering me, it has to be the sea.
I do my best to get to see the sea as often as possible, but still it is not enough. Time always gets in the way and let’s be honest it’s time (or lack of it) that causes most stress these days, isn’t it. I should make an effort to go and visit Budleigh Salterton next year – it’s a long drive from Lincolnshire but I’ve done sillier things in a weekend that it’s really only me stopping this road trip.
Does a good old fashioned sea view help you beat stress? I can recommend it.