We all have stressful days. Some might even have stressful weeks, months or years. I don’t really know anyone who is stress free. But I believe that, like mourning, everyone deals with stress in different ways.
Some might be passive; hiding their stress until they erupt like Vesuvius. Some might be aggressive; letting out their frustrations with a hair-trigger and quick response. And as with most everything, there are those who are in between.
While I don’t consider myself to be an angry person, when I am angry, it can flash, but I think I’ve learned to not allow it to 1) define me; 2) let it take me over and hold onto it for too long, and 3) mostly important, I do whatever I can to never hurt someone in anger. And with stress, I tend to push it down; pretend it doesn’t exist and try to humor my way out of it.
After all, they say laughter is the best medicine, right?
No matter how stressed I get, I do try to deal with it. Not always in the most productive ways, but at least I try. But note that I said “try”.
I often joke that if I was any sort of a drinker, with all the stress, I’d be falling down drunk all the time. Thank goodness I’m not. So how do I deal with stress? That’s a good question. And sometimes I feel like I really don’t have any idea how to deal with it.
If you’ve been reading the postings in this blog lately, you’ll recognize a pattern. When I named one recent blog “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing”…I shit you not, I wasn’t kidding. So like with what seems like everything in my life, I don’t have a good answer for what I do to deal with stress. Most times, it seems, I just get to the point of frustration and end up crying it out. Which I hate. I absolutely hate crying about anything – good or bad. It tends to make me feel physically worse. So I’m not one for “crying it out” – at least as a remedy for myself.
So, I did some research to find out what “others” recommend for relieving stress. Some made me giggle. Some made me roll my eyes. A couple even had me picturing myself looking like a rolly-polly Buddha, as I attempt to find my “calm”.
I wish I could say I was inspired. I can’t say I wasn’t; but I’m still not sure. I have been wishing I could do yoga over the past couple of years. Hell, I even have a mat. Mind you, it’s still rolled up and hasn’t been removed from the cardboard that it holding it rolled up. But good intentions…
I’m not really made for yoga. Again, I wish I was. I have friends who swear by it. And I admit I had to look up what “hot yoga” was, but the end result is that I’m really just not very yoga-like in body right now, even if my mind is.
As with most everything else in my life, I’m not very disciplined. I often wonder how I even made it this far in life with such a hap-hazard way of living, but here I am…all the hamsters spinning on their wheels in my mind, trying to get to the finish. Here’s hoping my finish isn’t for a long time.
But I digress…
Discipline. Err…no…Self-discipline: the correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.
It’s really mind-boggling how much self-discipline can be, and should be, applied to so many facets of my life. From weight-loss, to house-cleaning, to exercise, to dealing with anxiety, stress and frustration. I wish I could say that I’ve mastered it in at least one thing in my life, but I’d be lying. So, no big pearls of wisdom from me (again. sorry!) on how to be more self-disciplined, but I will offer some things that can be done to deal with stress and anxiety that others have suggested, and some of which I will try to do for myself.
First…here’s a chart to help:
But for me…these:
- When you feel the stress/anxiety or frustration building, step out of the situation and take deep breaths…and count to 10. Repeat several times until you can recognize you are calmer.
- Realize you’re not perfect so stop expecting yourself to be (and others). Do what you can and be happy with the results. Try.
- Exercise is a great way to deal with stress. Even if you do 10 minutes more movement a day, it will have a great effect on your well-being. But certainly, try to get at least 30 minutes a day.
- Eat healthy and get enough sleep. Filling yourself with junk is only going to make you feel like junk. And if you’re tired from lack of sleep, you’ll only feel that much more worse. If you’re able, try taking a short nap during the day when you’re feeling a bit more tired than usual.
And the two biggest ones that I have to deal with (besides all of the above) are being positive and putting the things that stress me out into perspective.
I’ll start with the perspective one first. As I can be sometimes – big shocker I know – a bit over-dramatic or in many cases, over-think a situation. I easily jump to conclusions, thinking about the “what-ifs” and just add even more stress and anxiety to myself. I am a huge “feeler”. I live on emotions – good or bad – and I can quite easily send my own into a tizzy faster than you can say, “But-” I’ve talked before about the emotional roller-coaster and I’m one of its regular riders. I wish I could say that I’ll change but I’m not sure how or even if, so I deal with it as it comes. And often not very well.
So it comes down to asking myself, “does this really matter?” Is what I’m stressing about that big of a deal? Did I make it out to be a bigger deal than it really is? In the grand scheme of things, will this matter in an hour, tomorrow or next year? Most times, the answer is, of course, “no”. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that something stressed me. It’s just a matter of understanding that if it’s not as important as I made it out to be, I need to let it go (and quickly)…because life is too short to dwell in shit that doesn’t matter. Right?
And then there’s being “positive”. I’ve been trying to do this for so long. Invariably, it doesn’t last. I get sucked into the “pity party for one” vortex (by myself) and the next thing I know, I’m Chicken Little and the sky is falling. I hate that I can’t just be positive all the time. I know people that really seem to be. And I do hope that they really, truly are and that they aren’t “faking” it. And I really hate that I forget just how blessed I am. Too often I forget and need to be reminded. Nothing is wrong with that, per se, but I think people who are genuinely more positive more often, are the happiest.
When I said I live on emotions, I also meant that I take things personally. I don’t like when people don’t like me. I want people to love me. I want people to want to be my friend. So I take it personally when they don’t. Yet at the same time, while I know I shouldn’t live to please anyone but myself, I’m not wired that way. I tend to care more for others than myself.
And I’ve been told before that this is wrong. Yet, that’s what I am. That’s what I do. I spend a lot of time trying to help people I care about in different ways. I don’t always do it as often as I wish and sometimes that makes me feel guilty, and often, selfish. Which I know is absurd, but alas…we’re talking about me here.
So, for example, my birthday was recently. Without sounding egotistical, I did expect to see some Happy Birthday wishes on my Facebook. And I did. And I want to say before anything else, I was grateful for each and every one of them because it meant that those people took the time out of their busy/hectic/stressful/happy lives to send me their best wishes. While it might have only taken them 10 seconds to do so – I appreciated it more than they could know. Then there were those who wrote me longer messages, and those were so appreciated as well.
But the “feelings” part of me…as ridiculous as this might sound, was disappointed somewhat that some people – some “friends” – didn’t say anything. No acknowledgement at all. Yet, I know they were on Facebook because I saw their posts, their comments to others’ posts etc. And I felt a little hurt. Then I felt foolish for feeling that way.
I don’t have friends because I expect something from them. And I do try to do my best to give some attention to everyone, but in all honestly, more so to those I feel closer to. And yet, just as when I lost my beautiful Ginny last month, or announced I was moving back home to Canada…my birthday passing with none of those three somewhat life-changing events being recognized by some, it felt…hurtful.
On top of that, many who did send me best wishes…some were from people that I’ve only just met (and most not yet in person), and they were more than kind. In some cases, those people acknowledged all three of those life events, yet as I said, there were some that I expected to hear from (or hoped) and got nothing. After the loss of Ginny and that happened, I told my therapist that I guess I have to realize that some people might be more selfish than others.
Now I’m sure there are many reasons they didn’t “say” anything. Maybe they didn’t see the many posts from others about my birthday, or Ginny passing, because they have many Facebook friends. Or maybe, just maybe, they don’t consider me to be a friend at the same level of friend that I do of them. I considered this and realized that if that’s the case, there’s nothing I can do about it and I have to accept it and move on.
So, one of the many things I need to learn, which adds in my stress levels, is that not everyone is going to see my worth. I have difficulty with this for myself, but I stress as much as I can to others that I care about, how much they are worth. To me. And to others. And maybe my expectations of others is too high. Or maybe because of my self-esteem issues that I feel this need to have as many people like me as I possibly can because it’s the only way I can feel worthy.
But how can I expect others to see my worth, if I don’t see it in myself?
And that there is the rub.
I posted this today on Facebook with the caption “Man, I wish I could just let it go. Not sure why it’s so important that I even care. But I do.”
And I do care. Probably far too much. About everything. About wanting to be liked, loved, admired, and seen as a great person. And some people will never see that in me; never feel that about me. And I have to learn to accept that. And to not care.
The absolute funniest (ie: ridiculous) part about that is that I am well loved by a very close knit group of people that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, and I’m eternally grateful for each and everyone one of them…but my own feelings about myself won’t allowed me to say “that’s all you need” so I get emotional when someone might not like or love me back.
I’m suddenly hearing Barbra Streisand’s “Feelings” in my head. Grief. I’m losing it! I don’t even LIKE that song!
Till next time…
Blessings and love to all.
I wish all of you, my faithful readers, a 2017 filled with much success, promise, joy, good health, peace and of course, lots of love!
I made it to another year. I’m grateful. The older I get, the more I realize that I can’t take each day for granted. So I’m looking forward to what 2017 can be for me.
As with most holidays, I understand that people fret and worry about not only surviving through them, particularly if having to deal with drunk ol’ Uncle Bill or crazy Aunt Ethel, but more so the worries of gaining weight from over-indulging. As I stated in last year’s post regarding dealing with the holiday blues and over-consumption, it’s probably the worse time of the year for someone to try to lose weight or to stick with a weight loss plan that had been working.
The New Year usually means Resolutions. I, personally, don’t believe in Resolutions. Mainly because they set you up for disappointment when two weeks later, you’ve already broken them and really…where does that leave you? Pissed off at yourself? Believing you’re a failure (again)? So why put yourself through that?
So like me, I hope that right now, if you’ve made any Resolutions you simply throw that shit out. Right now. Do it!
Instead, just vow right now that you will do your best. You will keep trying. You will try harder. You will have faith in yourself. But most of all, if you mess up – you will forgive yourself, toss out those negative thoughts and keep going.
As my buddy Brandon Auret says:
I know it’s not easy. No one knows that better than me. But now that the holidays are over – whether you’ve put on weight or not – if you still have a goal to lose weight and get healthier – for any Resolutions and just vow to do it. To keep on…keeping on.
I, thankfully, did not gain any weight this Christmas. I’m grateful for that, sure, but I also know that I probably could have lost some weight if I had just made better decisions. But that’s behind me now and I’m not going to dwell on the past.
So this is my vow to keep going, try harder and never give up. Live is too short and it’s time to turn it up a notch. And as Brandon said recently:
I’m hoping Brandon won’t mind me quoting him; so often he just says the right thing. The one thing I admire about him is that he doesn’t bullshit. So while he wasn’t talking directly to me, I like to think he was. Because I know he cares about me and my success. So thanks, B.
I know I can always count on his support, and a kick in the ass…
So here’s to a great 2017 filled with much success!! For all of us. No matter what our goals, plans and dreams might be. We all deserve to find our purpose and LIVE it.
Last year I posted several posts during this time of year about not over-eating, dealing with the stresses and blues of the holiday season, and how not to be one of the January People (go to the Archives for December 2015 for a refresher or if you’re a new reader – check them out).
Typical of this time of the year, most people start thinking about what they can change about themselves in the New Year. In the past, I was always guilty of making New Year’s Resolutions. I was also guilty of never keeping them. Then, the entire guilt and self-deprecating talk came out. Over the past several years, I vowed to not make any resolutions because frankly, while the concept is: New Year – New You…what I’ve come to realize is that there isn’t and shouldn’t be a set date for when to start making your life better. Whether it be to get healthier by losing weight, getting through an addiction, or even just to become a better person over all – whatever the reason – why do we feel we have to wait until a new year to do so?
Why not simply start now? Right now. Not later today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. And certainly not on January 1st.
Because of my physical limitations, particularly the nerve damage in my feet, and just the fact that I struggle with the simplest of physical tasks, it has been very difficult for me to many things. One thing I’ve been pushing myself to do is to just do as much as I can, even if that means taking breaks. I’ve been trying to downsize everything in my apartment – get rid of stuff I no longer need, use or want. It’s been a chore for sure. It’s amazing how much junk you can accumulate over the years and not even realize it.
So I’ve been pushing myself to sort/organize my things. And when I take a break, to not decide that’s enough for the day and just veg on my ass the rest of the day and night. No, I’ve been talking myself into getting up and going to do “one more thing” and lately it’s been working well.
Of course, that it’s only 60 degrees in my apartment helps. But as I’ve said before, the cooler it is, the more alive I feel. So as long as my feet cooperate, I’ve been able to get more physical things done of late. And it feels great. I’m proud of myself for – for lack of a better work – talking myself into getting up and doing something.
So back to the title of this post. 2016 has sucked. From what I’ve heard from many people, it has sucked for them as well. My family lost several of its members earlier in 2016 all within a short period of time. For me, work has become more stressful and something that I’ve struggled to just get out of bed and deal with. And, as you know, the summer this year was horrible for me physically to the point where I often wondered if I wasn’t dying. There’s been other things here and there as well. So yes, 2016 sucked and I’m hoping/praying 2017 will be better.
But 2016 had some good moments too, so I can’t just complain about it.
I got back into writing my book and it’s nearly done. While I had intended (and hoped) to have it done by Christmas, working full-time and just so much else going on, I unfortunately didn’t get it done. The last thing I want to do, especially for my first book, it to put out a rushed, inferior quality product, so I’m not going to rush to get it done before the end of the year. It will happen, when it happens, though I am aiming for before Valentine’s Day. We’ll see…
I also met some amazing people this year – some have become good friends, and other friends I’ve had for some time I’ve gotten closer to. I have been blessed with having so many wonderful, caring people in my life. They’re the type of people you want in your corner no matter what; those who won’t leave you when it gets rough.
Last year, some friends did a unique thing for the new year. They called it a Shine Jar. Recently another friend posted a similar suggestion for the New Year. The idea is that you write down one thing every day in 2017 and put it in the jar – something that was good. Maybe you got a compliment. Maybe something made you laugh. It doesn’t matter. Just put something good that happened on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. Then on New Year’s Eve 2017 open the jar and read everything you put in it. Reflect back on the year with all of the good things that happened; it tells you that no matter how awful you think 2017 was, perhaps it wasn’t as bad as you thought. Concentrate on the good of the year and not the negative.
I’m going to do this because with all of the bad in the world – the ugliness that weighs heavy on my heart – I want to celebrate the good things that happen to me.
So that’s my only New Year’s Resolution:
A 2017 Happiness Jar.
The rest…the get healthy, lose weight thing…well I’m not waiting. It starts now.
Love and blessings to all. Whatever you celebrate this holiday season, I wish you and your family much love and joy, peace and safety – and all the best for a wonderful and amazing 2017!
Wow. I am actually shocked to find that I started this blog posting 27 days ago. I am so very sorry that I’m not very consistent with keeping up with the posts. There seems to be an ebb and flow with me on just about everything I do – or try to do. So I do hope that I haven’t lost your interests in reading anything I have to say.
I also feel that if I blog all the time that you’ll be bored with it. Not to mention that I don’t want my posts to feel rushed or to be just “filler”. I want them to actually be productive. To mean something – both you myself and to you, my good people. So maybe I write shorter posts but more often, instead of just super-long ones every few weeks.
I wish I could say that I have a process down. I don’t. I wish I could tell you that I would or even could make more frequent shorter posts. But we all know that I’m not succinct. I apparently don’t even know what that word means most of the time.
I guess that means I was destined to be a writer.
But I will endeavor (no promises) to be more consistent and check in more often than I have of late.
What do you do when your inspiration begins to wane? How do you keep up the motivation?
I shouldn’t have to rely on other people’s support in order to keep going but I’m finding that my attitude, inspiration and motivation all seem to be at levels in great proportion to the support and inspiration I receive. If it tapers off, I somewhat do as well.
And that scares me.
People’s interests change. As does their attitude. They also have their own lives.
I hate that I have to rely on others to be successful, especially for those very reasons but as I said in one of my very first posts – I need YOU!
I am struggling of late. My motivation is lacking. I can’t explain why really. What specifically it is that is making me less enthusiastic? What causes this ebb and flow of my feelings?
I can’t explain it. And I hate that.
I’m proud of how far I’ve come so far, sure. I’m happy I haven’t given up. You bet. But there are times when I just feel…
That’s the best word that comes to mind. And I hate it. I hate it because I feel like I’m letting myself down, and you all down. And why can’t I just always feel motivated? The support I have received hasn’t gone away; it just ebbs and flows, causing my moods to do so as well.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming anyone for those ebbs and flows. As I said, you have your own lives. And I shouldn’t have to rely on anyone else to keep going on this journey. To keep fighting. To not give up.
But I’d be lying to myself if I said that I didn’t need you. Didn’t need that support. Because after all these weeks and months – it’s painfully obvious that I do.
So I will make mistakes. I will falter. But I won’t give up. And I won’t stop trying.
We human. Shit happens. Keep on…keeping on.
Till we meet again. Hopefully soon.
Be kind. Be gentle. Be loved. Be safe.