STRESSING!! (Demo)

There is nothing like being grown and feeling sick.  It brings back every helpless feeling you thought you out grew.  I’m having gastrointestinal issues coupled with moderate cephalgia.  Translation: my tummy hurts and I have a headache.   In the past, I have been hospitalized and rushed to the hospital because of these issues just so you know that I’m not being a complete baby about this.  So there.  The only medical diagnosis I’ve been given is that it’s probably stress related.  That sucks.  I am feeling a bit stressed.  That really sucks.
I went outside for air, thinking that would help.  Found a peaceful spot to sit and had the following interaction:
Dude Walking/Begging: Miss you got a light?
Me: No.
Dude Walking/Begging: I mean a Bud Light.
Me: *scowl*
Man Walking/Begging: (he-hea) God bless ya.
Stress BallSo much for my peace and solitude after that.  I get up to return inside and feel a twinge of pain coming from my sciatic nerve area.  NOW WHAT?!!! REALLY?!! I MEAN REALLY??!!!
I worked out Saturday; I worked out Monday.  I’m eating right (for the most part).  Why do I feel like I’m falling apart today?
Stress.
I have a family, a job, a blog, church commitments, aspirations, blog related projects, a home, a brain that is always moving faster than I can keep up with, and a bunch of stuff on my back burner that seem to be boiling over.  I have to get a grip on things and balance so that I don’t become unhealthy.  The American Psychological Association does a periodic study called Stress in America.  This excerpt really blared out at me, “The Emotional and Physical Toll of Stress: While awareness about the impact stress can have on emotional and physical health seems to be present, many Americans continue to report symptoms of stress.
• Americans report irritability or anger (42 percent);
fatigue (37 percent); lack of interest, motivation or energy (35 percent); headaches (32 percent); and upset stomachs (24 percent) due to stress.
A smaller percentage report having a change in appetite (17 percent) and sex drive (11 percent).
Today I am irritable, my stomach is messed up, I have a headache, I’ve had a piece of bread and seltzer water for breakfast and am not hungry at all, and if I could crawl up into a fetal position and sleep the rest of this WEEK away, I would.  What I am going to do is commit to working out again tomorrow.  I’m going out at lunch and buy some fancy bubble bath.  I’m going to ask my hubster to rub my feet after my bath and tonight for dinner, I’m eating something light and something good.  My time in the morning will include prayer and meditation, and I’m going to go back to my productivity list so I don’t feel overwhelmed. 
Krispy Kreme DonutsI don’t like feeling the way I do right now.  I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts (mmmm donuts, Krispy Kreme donuts, glazed…sorry got sidetracked) that I’m not alone in this.  The Stress in America report cites the following as stress causes: 
Significant sources of stress include money (75 percent),
work (70 percent), the economy (67 percent), relationships
(58 percent), family responsibilities (57 percent), family
health problems (53 percent), personal health concerns
(53 percent), job stability (49 percent), housing costs
(49 percent) and personal safety (32 percent).
That sounds like Prince George’s County doesn’t it?  We’re already the county with the highest obesity rate in the area.  It’s not a stretch to think we probably have the highest stress levels.
What are you going to do to get a handle on this?  Maybe me and my bubbling stomach and pounding head are alone in this fight but I think you’re out there, as stressed as me.  I’m throwing out the lifeline to this entire region today.  We’re stressed and we have to get better because of its impact on the physical and emotional well being.
The Mayo Clinic Recommends the following 10 things to tame stress.  I don’t endorse them all because I’m not into Yoga but the list is good.
Top 10 stress relievers
1. Get active
Virtually any form of exercise and physical activity can act as a stress reliever. Even if you’re not an athlete or you’re out of shape, exercise is still a good stress reliever. Physical activity pumps up your feel-good endorphins and refocuses your mind on your body’s movements, improving your mood and helping the day’s irritations fade away. Consider walking, jogging, gardening, house cleaning, biking, swimming, weightlifting or anything else that gets you active.
 Smiley Face
2. Meditate
During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. Meditation instills a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. Guided meditation, guided imagery, visualization and other forms of meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time, whether you’re out for a walk, riding the bus to work or waiting at the doctor’s office.
 
3. Laugh
A good sense of humor can’t cure all ailments, but it can help you feel better, even if you have to force a fake laugh through your grumpiness. When you start to laugh, it lightens your mental load and actually causes positive physical changes in your body. Laughter fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure, producing a good, relaxed feeling. So read some jokes, tell some jokes, watch a comedy or hang out with your funny friends.
 
4. Connect
When you’re stressed and irritable, your instinct may be to wrap yourself in a cocoon. Instead, reach out to family and friends and make social connections. Social contact is a good stress reliever because it can distract you, provide support, help you weather life’s up and downs, and make you feel good by doing good. So take a coffee break with a friend, email a relative, volunteer for a charitable group, or visit your place of worship.
 
5. Assert yourself
You might want to do it all, but you probably can’t, at least not without paying a price. Learn to say no to some tasks or to delegate them. Saying yes may seem like an easy way to keep the peace, prevent conflicts and get the job done right. But it may actually cause you internal conflict because your needs and those of your family come second, which can lead to stress, anger, resentment and even the desire to exact revenge. And that’s not very calm and peaceful.
 
6. Do yoga
With its series of postures and controlled-breathing exercises, yoga is a popular stress reliever. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety. Try yoga on your own or find a class — you can find classes in most communities. Hatha yoga, in particular, is a good stress reliever because of its slower pace and easier movements.
 
7. Sleep
Sleep PillowsStress often gives sleep the heave-ho. You have too much to do — and too much to think about — and your sleep suffers. But sleep is the time when your brain and body recharge. And the quality and amount of sleep you get affects your mood, energy level, concentration and overall functioning. If you have sleep troubles, make sure that you have a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine, listen to soothing music, put clocks away, and stick to a consistent schedule.
 
8. Journal
Writing out thoughts and feelings can be a good release for otherwise pent-up emotions. Don’t think about what to write — just let it happen. Write whatever comes to mind. No one else needs to read it, so don’t strive for perfection in grammar or spelling. Just let your thoughts flow on paper — or computer screen. Once you’re done, you can toss out what your wrote or save it to reflect on later.
 
9. Get musical
Listening to or playing music is a good stress reliever because it provides a mental distraction, reduces muscle tension and decreases stress hormones. Crank up the volume and let your mind be absorbed by the music. If music isn’t your thing, though, turn your attention to another hobby you enjoy, such as gardening, sewing, sketching — anything that requires you to focus on what you’re doing rather than what you think you should be doing.
 
10. Seek counsel
If new stressors are challenging your ability to cope or if self-care stress relievers just aren’t relieving your stress, you may need to look for reinforcements in the form of professional therapy or counseling. Therapy may be a good idea if stress leaves you feeling overwhelmed or trapped, if you worry excessively, or if you have trouble carrying out daily routines or meeting responsibilities at work, home or school. Professional counselors or therapists can help you identify sources of your stress and learn new coping tools.
 

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