Friday, October 18, 2019

Take the stress one day at a time

Alternate title: let's talk about stress, baby sung to the tune of Salt-N-Pepa's classic released in 1990. Everything's coming up 90s these days.


Despite our best efforts, stress is always bubbling under the surface, threatening to pop off and take you down like that invisible sidewalk curl we all trip over at some point. We've all seen some variation of the meme me trying to excel in my career, drink enough water, exercise, stay sane, text everyone back, survive, and be happy and at some point in most weeks we relate.

The problem with stress is that it very easily compounds, and if you’re stressed about one thing and you're not careful to contain that, it does a reach around and latches onto other aspects of your life. Even small things can feel stressful and compared with the bigger stressors, that's too much.

Sleepless Newborn Stress
Nobody ever said having a newborn wouldn’t be stressful, but no one realizes how much stress you’ll be under until it happens. There are so many things to think about after having a kid, including keeping them healthy and happy while still maintaining your sanity. 

Sleepless nights are one of the most significant contributors to stress, and if your baby struggles to settle down during the night, it can wreak havoc on the rest of your day. My mamas out there with poorly sleeping kids have all my sympathy. I know a few have looked into a baby sleep schedule to figure out the best way to deal with it and it's been helpful. Others...nothing helped. You know who you are. I see you and am sending you coffee and water. 

Financial Stress
Bills are an inescapable part of life, which sucks, let's be clear.  Getting the bill for your rent, mortgage, gas, phone, cable, electric, credit card is something you dread on those unexpected expenses months. Absolutely everything is more expensive than it used to be, including/especially food. 

Addressing areas of financial stress usually involve stopping something, or truly examining want vs. need, or changing how you do something.  Making changes to your lifestyle can give you a buffer and help you live a little more comfortably. You can buy discounted food, stop eating out, and be more cautious with the heating. The change will be gradual, but soon you’ll notice you have more money to spare to squirrel away or put toward bills. Pro tip: none of the cutbacks matter if you treat yourself to things you don't need. Discipline is key. 

Work Stress
The idea that some jobs are more stressful than others is a load of bull. Each role brings different challenges that demand your full attention. Every person's life is different. No, you are not better than the cashier because you have a lofty title. When you feel wrung out from work, it's good to take a step back and consider how your job helps you and what is rewarding about it. Like, it enables you to live and pay your bills are huge ones, but what else? Do you have flexibility, awesome coworkers, a beautiful route to work, kind superiors who understand the stresses of work/life balance attempt (I say attempt because there is no true balance). 

Focusing on the positives over the negatives make it easier to deal with the fact that yes, we all must work because we are not millionaires. Examining your position might even make you appreciate it more. Most of us work to live instead of live to work, and in a capitalist society that can feel really draining because we are part of a machine. We are not alone.

No Time For You Stress
We need downtime to relax ourselves so we can deal with the stresses of everyday life. Most people need alone time to do this. Most people also have a lot going on and give other people time before themselves, leaving them feeling like they don't have a minute to spare. 

With work, collecting the kids from school, making dinner, and ensuring the house is in order, it’s a struggle to find the time. While you can’t magically summon more hours in a day, you can work out a routine that gives you time to dedicate solely to you. When I say can I mean you really must. Especially you moms out there trying to do it all and be it all. 

Just giving yourself an hour a day either by taking a soak in the tub, reading, painting your nails, or watching mindless TV helps you unwind feel better prepared for anything coming your way in any area of life. 

The Stress of the Future
The uncertainty of the future is basically the only thing that is 100% certain, but we worry about it like there's no tomorrow. Which, of course, wastes today. You can’t do anything to change the unforeseen events of the future. No matter how much you worry, that time and energy you expend has ZERO impact on what is or isn't coming down the pike. You can prepare yourself but you never truly know what will happen. It makes more sense to what you can in the present to make each day a good one. 

Worrying too much about the future means you miss out on what’s in front of you, and without going crazy with spending sprees or living an extravagant lifestyle, you can still experience what’s right in front of you. 

Take a walk. Sit outside. Breathe deeply. Recognize beauty around you even in ugly spaces. Make connections with people. Give your animals a lot of pets. Drink enough water. Be sensible with your money and your time. Be comfortable alone. Recognize that rest is necessary. Put down what you're carrying. Distance yourself from potentially harmful influences and energies - in person and on social media. Give yourself permission to not worry or stress. And don't be so freaking hard on yourself or hold yourself to an impossible standard. 

Please take a few hours for yourself this weekend, regardless of what other people need from you. Ladies, I'm looking at you in particular.

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