STRESS – we have all felt it from time to time. STRESS – we have all heard others complain about it. STRESS – an all-encompassing descriptor of anything in life that causes us to want to run, hide, scream, or smack someone. STRESS – What do we do about it?????
I believe the place to begin is to define stress. Stress is usually used as a “bad” word, but not all stressors are bad. Sometimes the stress of a deadline at work or school is the precise motivation needed in order to complete a project. Sometimes stress pushes us to move out of our comfort zone (or, rather, sometimes moving out of our comfort zone, even in healthy ways, causes stress). Stress can also be frustrating, depressing and debilitating. Therefore, I think it is critical to make the distinction between healthy and unhealthy stress.
What is HEALTHY STRESS???
- Feeling pressure to meet a deadline at work or school.
- Wanting to be the best parent and evaluating your performance for improvement.
- Pushing yourself to achieve your highest potential.
- Arguing with your children when you apply a consequence for their bad choices.
What is UNHEALTHY STRESS???
- Overextending your obligations to the point that you are not able to properly care for yourself (i.e.: lost sleep).
- Constant bickering at home or work that goes unresolved over a period of time.
- Internalizing problems and not allowing yourself an outlet to express frustration, fear, anger and sadness.
- Constant worry about your child who has cycled out of control.
- Heart palpitations
- Lost sleep
- Heightened emotions
- Emotional lability
- Panic/ Anxiety
Naming our stressors is the first critical step in self-care. The next step is knowing what to do about them. First of all, I believe it is important that you determine whether your stressors are healthy or unhealthy. If they are healthy stressors, perhaps all you need to do is embrace them. If your stressors are not healthy for you, then you need to work to eliminate them or provide yourself with healthy outlets to release all of your emotions that end up stuffed inside of you as a result of the stress. These stuffed emotions are what cause the aforementioned symptoms. As the stuffed emotions can be released, the emotions should also subside.
Stress- Relieving Activities:
- Blowing bubbles
- Taking a bubble bath
- Drinking a hot cup of coffee.
- Coloring in a coloring book (even if you are 62!!!)
- Surfing the Internet
- Calling a friend
- Knitting or Sewing
- Playing a musical instrument
- Listening to music
- Taking a walk
- Running on the beach
- Petting an animal
- Eating ice cream
Next time you begin to feel the effects of stress in your life, slow down for a moment and see if you can take a breath and engage in a stress-relieving activity. Your life and your health are too valuable not to.
Today, 342 days ’til 40 I will remind myself that very little stress is worth the impact it has on my emotional and physical health. I will strive to appropriately reduce the stressors in my life so that the life I do live evolves into healthier tomorrows.
*** Addendum: So many of my readers gave more wonderful suggestions on how to cope with stress, that I wanted to include them in my posting – thank you to the following readers and their comments!!!
- Ritarivera wrote that blogging is a great stress relief (of course, why did I not write this????) – Richman22 agreed with her!
- Brittany recommended using yoga and cookies as stress relief (mmmm cookies!)
- Hricjd mentioned planting a garden as a way to relieve stress (yes, watching things grow – new life – is AMAZING for stress relief!)
- Forkmyfood talked about using the gym and sauna as stress relief (yes, after a good work out and sauna your body can be so physically relaxed!!!!)
Additionally, Tomrickhuss added a very important insight – he said that we ned to remember that pressure is better than stress and he reminded is that pressure turns coal into diamonds!
Great insight from you all!!! THANK YOU!!!!!