Two weeks ago was Stress Awareness Day. I had good intentions of posting but daily life took over and until today, the post remained a draft.
Since mom says I sugar coat everything, I am just going to say it, stress is a real mother****** !
Former heavyweight boxing champ, Mike Tyson was known for delivering speedy and powerful punches that resulted in his opponents on their back floored and confused wondering what the hell happened.
Well honey, stress will do the same thing, except slower. Been there done that; trust me, you don’t wanna go there.
Experiencing subtle chest pain, random heart palpitations, and/or loss of sleep are just a few indicators that you may be experiencing stress.
Just because you’re not experiencing more of the common systems, doesn’t mean that your body is not experiencing stress.
At 27 years old, throughout my work week, I experienced more than half of the symptoms. Too busy trying to be supermom, super wife, attending night classes, and managing a front office at a hotel, I ignored every damn symptom. I thought my daily adrenaline rush was normal.
“Normal” it was not. Living short on patience and cursing folks out at the drop of a hat isn’t normal and neither is it okay.
I was young! Chile please! Who has heart attacks and strokes at 27? Not me!! That mess wasn’t on my radar. I was slim, managed to run and practiced Tang Soo Do!
I was oblivious and numb to what I felt. I did not understand why I felt the way I did. As far as I was concerned, my daily adrenaline rush and fast paced day where, I cursed at least one person, by the days end was my norm.
If you don’t recognize the symptoms and figure out how to slow down, eventually your body will stop you dead in your tracks. it doesn’t matter how well you eat or how much you exercise, stress is stress and will slowly and methodically break the body down.
To reduce your stress, try these 14 tips:
- Use a calendar – If you don’t already record important dates on a calendar, start this immediately. I like to use my smart phone, it works better than a date book. It has reminders. Add every event, doctor appointments, nail appointments, kids games, practice etc… By doing this, you will have a clear picture of your real availability.
- Learn to say No! – You don’t have to attend every party or event you are invited to. Look at your calendar and realistically decide if the event fits into your day. Ask yourself, How long is going to take me to get there? Do I need a baby sitter? Do I have a class or work? If it doesn’t fit, politely decline. If the person gets upset with you, perhaps it is time to evaluate your relationship with them, which brings me to my next point.
- Assess relationships – Evaluate the people in your life, including family. Think about how you feel when you are around them. Ask yourself, Are they positive influences? Do they bring positive or negative energy your way? What are they doing with their life? Are they happy? When you are around them, do they make you feel good or bad?
- Do the dirty work – With respect to rule #3, if you recognize that a person or people in your life are bringing you down, man up and do what has to be done. Phase them out of daily life. To end the relation, you don’t have to have a knock down-drag out fight. Just stop calling them, don’t invite them over and stop hanging out with them. I’m serious!! Life is a journey of peaks and valleys. No one is exempt from the highs and lows in life; however, people who are always negative–Debbie Downers and Negative Neds– Using an oversized lifelike straw, they suck the life and energy right out of you. Quick!! Run!!! Let them go! They won’t understand. Eventually they may ask. If they do, tell them the truth, but be nice about it. “I just couldn’t take your energy.”
- Effectively plan each week – Periodization is a concept used in strength training, that trainers use to help clients reach their fitness goals. Over simplified it is planning in phases for long-term performance. To accomplish your personal or professional goals, you can take the same approach. Write a plan and strategically work towards it. Before your week begins, look closely at your schedule. Some days your schedule will be tighter than others; plan for these days. Example: During football season, our schedule is regimented, so I plan our family meals. On Sunday, I cook larger family meals so there are a couple of days of leftovers. I buy the large size take out styrofoam plates from BJ’s or Sam’s Club, so when necessary, he can eat on the run. No plates, no dishes, no take out, no wasting money, and best of all, healthier meals! Planning ahead like this, keeps you ahead of your game and avoids putting you in the stressful reaction mode.
- Mind YOUR business! – Don’t make everybody’s problems your problems. We’ve all been there. You know a family member or friend who just ain’t living right and they always have drama going on. “She needs to do this!” “She ought to be doing that!” “If it were me….” Stop it!!! It ain’t none of your business, stay in YOUR lane. Nobody designated you as the official problem solver. Deal with and fix your own ish!
- Mind YOUR money! – An inability to manage your money can be a huge stress. It’s a basic concept. Live within your means and avoid trying to impress others with your ish! Grown and mature folks don’t give a damn about what kind of car you drive, designer handbags, expensive shoes, or where you live. My car is 9 years old. The flaps on my running boards came off, she doesn’t have heated seats, but she has heat and air. The ride is decent, but she’s PAID OFF! So when a driver of a luxury car pulls up to me, I celebrate their pleasure and mine. :) When the time is right, I’ll have my “dream” car, but for now, I’m minding my money. As my friend says, “All that glitters ain’t gold!”
- Stop putting out other folks fires! – Recognize that their emergency is not YOUR emergency. Lol! I used this philosophy all the time. The lack of planning on someone else’s part does not have to be your problem. I am all for helping others, but for some people, their emergencies are more OFTEN than NOT. Sympathize, empathize and everything else, but it’s their problem to solve not yours. The time and energy you spend bailing them out will ultimately mess up your day and you may end up feeling stressed.
- Make time for you – Care for yourself first. What are your interests? Do you have a hobby or want to go back to school? Whatever your interest, do it! Even if it means your kid has to take one less activity, do it. Life is too short and too uncertain to put your life on hold until your child finishes school. Tomorrow isn’t promised is a cliché but its meaning is bona fide. Your family will benefit from your happiness.
- Meditate – The mind, body and spirit improves with meditation. You don’t need an hour or even 30 minutes… Start by finding 15 minutes in your day. Once it becomes routine for you, you’ll figure out the best time and where you can meditate for longer (if you chose). The Rest & Relax Guided Meditation App is my favorite. At $1.99 it’s worth it. You pick your music, desired length of time and the session is guided. It’s a great application that can help you get started.
- Eat well – You are going to feel exactly how you eat. Eat crap and you’re going to feel like crap-there is no getting around it. If you listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel, you will understand what I am saying. Regardless of your fitness goals, try to eat a balanced diet. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, lean meats, healthy grains, and water daily into your diet. Minimize or avoid excessive sugary drinks and food, alcohol, packaged foods, fried food, and fast food. Destroying your body with poor nutrition will eventually lead to illness such high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes.
- Exercise – You don’t have to be a fitness junkie like me, but incorporating exercise 3-4 days per week can have an positive impact on your quality of life. Walking, weight training, yoga, running, CrossFit, aerobics, Zumba… just move. To keep fitness interesting and fun, add a variety of workouts to your program. Find a gym or trainer that is right for you and an informed one that can help you meet your fitness goals and STICK WITH IT. Your heart is a muscle. When you exercise, your heart benefits and will function more efficiently.
- Sleep – The body needs REST. Going to bed late every night is counter productive to healthy living. Sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis, and can have a major impact on our overall quality of life.
- Get annual physicals – No matter how well you feel or look, get your annual check ups. For ladies, that means, OBGYN’s, Mammograms, a general practitioner, and an eye exam. That’s a lot right? Men have it easier. Lol! Prevention is key. You might feel well, but something still could be wrong. There are many diseases such as breast and uterine cancer, that are silent and don’t exhibit symptoms, so keeping up with annual doctor visits can save lives.
I’ve been told that I smile a lot and I do! :) That’s because I live a simple life. The less complicated, the better. My life isn’t perfect, but I live by the 14 principles, which sometimes requires tough decisions, but I do what I have to do, to maintain happiness and balance in my life.
Do you have other tips that you use to deal with stress? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and make it a fabulous day! :)