Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up!
How do you care for yourself under stress?
I’m sure you’ve heard people say “stress is a killer” and I believe stress can manifest itself in emotional and physical ways that can lead to depression, anxiety and even death if gone untreated. If you are under stress over a long period of time and start to see physical symptoms, don’t take it lightly because his means the body is experiencing “dis-ease” which I believe can turn into a very real disease.
One of my best friends, Brenda, was the one who enlightened me about “dis-ease” right before she died of leukemia. She told me she had ignored symptoms that came from being unhappy and stressed, and she believed cancer was invited into her body because she didn’t improve her situation before it was too late.
Her life lesson can act as a reminder to practice what another friend of mine calls “Radical Self-care” because it is a matter of life or death. I know this sounds dramatic, but being under stress over a long period has consequences. Take note if you’ve had any of these symptoms over prolonged periods of time: frequent headaches, fatigue, digestive issues, sleep problems, depression, low to no sex drive, feeling overwhelmed, irritability or anger, or other symptoms that you may be concerned about.
When you know you are in a particularly stressful period of time, treat yourself with extra special care and don’t feel at all guilty about it. It’s a necessity, and so is upholding healthy boundaries. Almost everyone I coach has challenges with practicing boundaries. It can be hard to say no to people and find yourself overwhelmed or in stressful circumstances as a result.
Recently one of my dear friends lost his lovely daughter in a motorcycle crash. Imagine the stress he is under while dealing with all of the activity around the tragedy and managing his own emotional state…unbelievable stress! I reminded him to practice self-care and he said he has been saying no to a lot of things, including an international trip for a job prospect. That is hard to say no to, but people will understand and accommodate your needs if you communicate them properly. He has also made exercise, journaling, and staying connected to loved ones a priority. Its easy to let yourself go and isolate in times like these, but it’s the opposite of self-care.
Stressful circumstances show up in many forms and some of the top ones are death of a loved one, divorce/separation/fighting, job loss, personal injury or illness, moving, etc. You may also find yourself particularly stressed when in a transition of some kind like starting a new job or educational program, helping a loved one through a significant problem they are having, becoming a parent, or other pivotal event.
Don’t hide the fact that you’re under stress because your family and friends can help you through these times if they know. You don’t have to be perfect all the time, and your inner circle will feel valued if they have opportunities to help in significant ways. Showing vulnerability gives them permission to be less than perfect and share their problems with you as well.
Please don’t take stress lightly. Pursue help from others, including hired help from a coach or therapist. We all need each other and creating a support system that helps one another is important to successfully navigating stressful life events and challenges.
Written By Chandra Lynn