Understanding Stress: The Invisible Enemy
Let's start with a bit of honesty, shall we? Stress can be a real party pooper—it tiptoes into our lives, messes with our heads, and even bids farewell only to leave us with bags of anxiety, health issues, & a barrage of negative feelings. Now, as a blogger, mother, and someone trying to juggle the many hats I own, I've been down Stress Avenue quite a few times. Heck, sometimes, it feels like I've even bought property there.
Stress often feels like this invisible enemy. It isn't tangible; it's just there, like a phantom wrapped around your consciousness. You can't shove it in a box and ship it to Timbuktu, can you? It's not like that annoying neighbor who keeps borrowing your gardening tools and forgets all about returning them. No "discreet" complaints to the police will make it go away. But, the good news is that unlike our poor gardening tools, we do have the potential to manage our stress and leave it no room to thrive.
Stress Management: It Starts with Self
There's a saying - "Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, it became a butterfly." Stress often feels like the world's ending, doesn't it? Unmanaged stress can feel suffocating, and trust me, I've been in that situation quite a number of times. When my kids, Tate and Keely, were a lot younger and I was juggling work and home, I felt like a juggler at a circus, only less glamorous and with absolutely no time to perfect my make-up.
Stress management isn't a walk in the park - no pun intended. It's waking up every day and telling yourself, "Alright, Clarissa, let's give it another shot". It's making a checklist, ticking off tasks, breathing in between, and telling yourself you're doing okay even if breakfast got burnt or you missed a routine PTA meeting. I've missed a couple of those, by the way, till I learned to incorporate stress management techniques into my daily life and trust me; it's a game-changer!
Delving Into Mindfulness: The Pit Stop on Your Journey to Stress Reduction
Mindfulness. An 11 letter word that sounds like it jumped right out of a spiritual guru's handbook, doesn't it? But what if I told you that mindfulness has the power to change the way you deal with stress? You know, it is not some eclectic magic that only yogis hiding in the Himalayas have access to. It's something as simple as being in the moment. Like right now, even as I'm penning down my thoughts on stress and management, I'm here. I'm focussed, I'm present, and I'm engaged.
Mindfulness can be something simple, such as focusing on your breaths, noticing how you're sitting, how your hands move when you type, or even how each word appears as you write or type it. It’s about being present in the moment, fully engaged in what's happening, appreciative of small everyday blessings & not overly reactive or overwhelmed by the things going on around us. Even the simple act of appreciating your daily cup of coffee, its aroma, the warmth of the mug, the bitter taste on your tongue can be a step towards mindfulness. Just remember to keep that cup of coffee away from your laptop, we don't want any accidents now, do we?
Yoga and Meditation: Your Stress-Busting Superheroes
Picture this. You in comfy clothes, on a cozy mat, under the gentle morning sunshine, sitting in silence, exploring the tranquillity within. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? That, my friends, is the power of yoga and meditation. Now, I'm not a yoga guru or Fitness Universal Champion (I wish), but yoga and meditation have helped me deal with stress like nothing else!
A few years back, I battled uncontrollable stress when balancing work, home, and my lovely yet relentlessly energetic kids nearly broke me. It was during this time I stumbled upon yoga, and mate, was it a lifesaver! I started with YouTube videos, moved to joining a beginner's class, and finally incorporated it into my lifestyle. My mornings now begin with yoga, followed by 15 minutes of meditation. Contrary to belief, you don't have to fold yourself into a pretzel to reap the benefits of yoga. Simple stretching, easy poses, focussing on your body, your breathing - it works wonders. It's like stress knocking on your door and you calmly telling it, "Sorry, I've got better things to do."
Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Life is a Restaurant and You’re the Chef
Have you ever noticed how stress boasts an uncanny knack for leading you to unhealthy choices? I mean, how many times have you reached out for that extra piece of chocolate, skipped your workout, or even lost sleep over work pressure or personal issues? Exactly. We've all been there, right? Or am I the only one here who does all the above and, on rare occasion, forgets to pick up my kids from their ballet class? Nah, I cannot be the only one!
Making healthy lifestyle choices is often the first line of defense in combating stress. A balanced diet, regular physical activity, quality sleep - they all contribute to a strong, resilient you who can handle stress like a pro. The good news? You're the chef in the restaurant of life. You decide the menu and make choices that suit your body, mind, and soul. One tip - pack your meals with vibrant colors of veggies and fruits, grains, proteins and don't forget to hydrate adequately throughout the day. Carry a water bottle wherever you go and subtly brag about your amazing stress management skills!
In conclusion, while stress might currently feel like an unwelcome yet persistent house guest, remember to welcome him with open arms. For it's through managing him that we can ultimately journey down the path to a more centered, more resilient, and most definitely, a more fabulous you.