When my days, or weeks, were packed full of choreography, teaching, writing, cooking, running the kids around and more, I used to panic.
Feeling like my pet rat running on his wheel getting nowhere fast!
Going from busy to crazy and then……. I’d start to stress.
I’d have all this stuff racing around in my head and couldn’t make any sense of it…
How it all fitted into my day and week..
What was the most important.. Why the Hell I was doing it and What would happened if it didn’t get done and more importantly.
How it fitted into What I wanted for my life…
The heads spins would continue, the stress would great and then.. boom!!!
I’d explode a flip out… (Not a pretty sight usually resulting in a lot of guilt and self-criticism)
So, trying to help, my hubby one-day very tentatively suggested I
‘get organised and make a plan’ to cope with my huge workload.
Honestly… The mention of a plan, brought the feeling of fear to me.. The vision of a highly organised power businesswoman with glasses and hair in a bun..
A leather satchel banging down the high street…
Something which, as your probably starting to discover, is not a fit for me at all.
actually used to freak me out…
Planning, organising, goals ahh!!!
What I discovered was that sometimes the cause of stress in life was actually due the fears I created in my head avoid something.
And that by taking some time to focus on what these fears are I could actually reduce my stress.
Stress in life is something that we all expect these days, but I admit that I would often use this to justify why I didn’t do the things I absolutely had to do. Maybe you’re the same.
Like meditating, healthy food prep, spending time with the kids, exercise and even looking after my own health.
“I can’t figure out healthy eating I get too stressed.. I can’t take time to meditate. I’m too stressed.. This upcoming fitness challenge is stressing me out. I don’t think I can do it.. I’m too stressed to read with kids tonight.. I think I’ll just watch Netflix”
While some stress, as in chronic stress, should be managed with your doctor as it can be detrimental to your health, there are many everyday situations that can be easily managed and dealt with, which may actually reduce your stress.
However, in order to manage stress, you first need to recognise the symptoms.
Your physical, mental or emotional signs of stress… As They Happen.
For example, you may find things like your shoulders tense up, maybe you get a headache all of a sudden, you get tired or maybe start to nervously eat…
Some of my signs are that my jaw tightens, my chin starts poking out (gorgeous picture I know) and then I start getting snappy with people.
I feel rushed for no apparent reason and I start forgetting important things. My mindfulness goes out the window, worrying about things days or even weeks away, and things just get worse.
If you watch your child, you may even notice some of these things in them when they are brewing up a big tantrum!
I know my boy certainly mirrors some of my ‘stress traits’.
COMMON SIGNALS OF POTENTIAL STRESS
There are many signs that signal stress in people.
Some examples of these include;
MENTAL; difficulty concentrating (brain fuzz), frequent worrying, poor memory retention, negative thinking, constant racing thoughts.
EMOTIONAL; short-tempered, irritable, moody, feeling isolated or alone, constant unhappiness or depression, constant nervousness, feeling overwhelmed.
PHYSICAL; constant fidgeting, speech malfunctions (jumbling words or mumbling), heartburn, lethargic or tired, nausea, tight tense muscles, inability to relax, cold sweats (hands or feet), or aches and pains (not training related!)
BEHAVIOURAL; eating too much or too little, sleeping too much or too little, procrastinating or neglecting your duties, over obsessing about everything, nail biting, pacing, being anti-social and snappy, and sometimes just completing avoiding people…
Becoming aware of these and learning your early signs is a great place to start. Once you know your signs you can then start to become aware of what the event or situations are in your life which trigger these responses.
You can then begin to focus on managing your response and therefore your stress levels.
This can help prevent you from falling back into those self-sabotaging habits which will ultimately inhibit your enjoyment of life, parenting and the development of the skills and choices you need to become the woman and mother you know you can be…
“Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our RESPONSE to what happens to us. And RESPONSE is something we can CHOOSE at any moment”
Here are a few ways to check in with yourself so that you can recognise when stress is starting to take a hold.
- Take short time-outs regularly to be more aware of yourself – Take time out to notice how you behave, what mood you are in (and why), what your body is doing, how you interact with people and what they say to you. If you have people asking if you are “All Right” a lot, maybe it’s time to check in with yourself in private and answer that exact question…
- Keep a journal or mood diary – Having a notebook or phone app close by and a time each day to jot down thoughts, feelings, symptoms and occurrences is a great thing to have as part of a regular routine. It’s also something you can review later. I like to reflect on my day in a journal each night, this can be quite enlightening and very helpful for releasing frustrations.
- Take note of how you react to various situations – What things make you react badly or out of character?
- Just Do something physical for you – The freedom from frustration of life sometimes is just one dance or fitness session away. Emotional stress is often stored physically in your body… So by cranking up your favourite playlist and letting rip with your own dance expression or exercise for half an hour you can turn that Emotion into Motion and sweat it out. You may not release it all, but it will change your State of mind. A dance out, or some other form of exertion, before journaling is a great combination to help you keep things in perspective.
When it comes to stressful situations or feelings it’s important to ask the reason why?
Just remember that how you feel is about you, your responses. No-one can make you feel in any particular way at any time.
So if your parent/friend/partner suggests you schedule your day to help reduce your stress and overwhelm and you feel angry at them because you hate being overly structured. Umm!!
Ask yourself if they made you angry or stressed or was it the fear of becoming an overly structured and organised powerhouse business woman, like it was for me.
Hmmm interesting hey.. (Interestingly the more organised I’ve become the less stressed I am)
WE’RE NOT GOING FOR STRESS FREE
Reality check.. you can’t be stress free…
Even a Monk needs to pee..
A small amount of stress, I prefer to call pressure, is good for you and in fact keeps you alive…
A few nerves before an interview, or exam or doing something new will help to sharpen your senses keeping you focused, energetic and alert.
The flight stress response that causes you to run away from a burning fire, car out of control or loose crocodile.. these a good things.
It can also spur you on to strive for more or make you work that bit harder just when you need to. You’ve heard of the term the Eleventh Hour I’m guessing, that pressure to get things done, it’s not necessarily stress.
Vital in a busy week, I’m sure you’d agree.
But this should be a short-lived burst that lifts and drives you but then quickly disappears returning you back to your normal happy fun self!
So let’s curb that stress, find out what’s holding you back, or irritating you, and get on with the important stuff like living your life to the max.
MY BIGGEST STRESS WIN, JOURNALLING
I simply spend five to ten minutes before bed each night, just reflecting on my day. I Celebrate what went well, assess what didn’t go so well, and any lesson I’ve learned (being aware not to put myself down).
What made me laugh, and most importantly what I am grateful for cause, in reality, this list is pretty long… and don’t forget we get to say
‘I Get To cuddle my kids’…
I recommend you try this. You’ll be amazed at how good it makes you feel, and how much it helps to reduce stress and just let go.
Feel free to check out the two links below that I’ve shared and when you start your own journal let me know cause I would love to hear stories on how it went.
I’d invite you consider…
If you believe that something in your life is stressful then what is the meaning, feeling, and response that you will attach to that event or issue, forever…
“It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.”
– Tony Robbins