I was talking to Momma last night and she shared some concerns that MJ was having. I won’t get into what they are, but I can say that I don’t share them too too much. The conversation turned to stress and how he and I handle it.
Here’s the thing about Stress so far as I can tell: We all have it, some of us more than others. We all deal with it, some of us better than others. I’m one who functions fairly well under a moderate amount of Stress. Seriously. It seems to motivate me and clarifies my mind to allow for focus. Not everyone does.
What about when the Stress is more than moderate though? What about when there’s a lot or when I’m nearing my breaking point?
When I was at the travel agency there was a LOT of stress. So much in fact that I basically was starting to get an ulcer. Did it have to be that bad? No, it didn’t, but I wasn’t very good at dealing with it at that point.
Sometimes I have lots of stress like many of us do. Mine takes on a unique flavor to my particular situation
I have learned, though, and today I will share three of my favorite coping strategies. (Note that these work for me, but may not work for you, I think the key is to find what works for you and to do it.)
First I ask myself if this really matters. Is it life or death? Will I care about this in 6-12 months? Guess what? The answer is generally no. If it’s not life or death and I won’t care about it 6-12 months down the road then I find a way to either get over it or distract myself.
To get over something or distract myself, I employ one (or several) of the following
- Take a rest. Not even kidding. I’ve discovered that many times I’m stressing out about something that doesn’t matter all that much because I’m over tired. I lay down and close my eyes for just a bit to see if that helps. As someone who has a lot of trouble sleeping at night, I find this often helps a lot.
- Do something physically taxing.Notice I say physically taxing. When I’m feeling a lot of pressure, sometimes focus isn’t my strong suit.I’m starting to actually like to run when my shins and hips aren’t yelling at me. See I get to a point in the whole process that it’s literally all I can do to breathe. When you’re pushing yourself hard enough that really all that matters is getting air into your lungs, well, nothing else matters. I’ve yet to hit a “Runner’s High” but if I can get to the place where nothing else matters, I’ll be ok. Swimming is a different animal in that I can get to a zone and clear my head.
- Create something or go somewhere. There is something soothing about kneading bread, counting crochet stitches, editing photos, or any of the various things I have a hand in at any time. Sometimes a change of setting is enough to take the edge off. A drive to my grandparents or otherwise out of town, a trip to Target or Michaels, or someone else’s couch are often enough to get me to a better mental place.
Now, if it’s something that really matters I try to keep the following in mind: Breathe, oxygen helps. There are things I can not control and I can not control what others do, I just have to do my best. Sometimes what I find the worst case scenario to be is the best for someone else and I have to find acceptance in that. Put one foot in front of the other and keep moving…and sometimes, I go right to the top of the list above to help me get through it.
Please know that I’m not the best person always when it comes to dealing with Stress. Sometimes I really suck at it in a big fat sucky way and none of this should be taken as Gospel truth. I try though.
How do you deal with Stress?
UPDATED TO ADD: I also have amazing friends and family who hold my hand and talk me through the really tough times. I can not tell you how lucky I am to have them help me through the crap that life throws sometimes.