Stop Making Yourself Stress Sick
It's Memorial Day. A time to reflect on the lives lost in the continued pursuit for freedom in America. Most working class are enjoying a three-day weekend and using that time to spend with family and friends. Barbeques or pool parties are being enjoyed and some are just resting. Re-charging their batteries before going back to the grind in pursuit of their own freedoms, dreams and joys.
Some are still working. Whether by default or design there is no time off for some. Myself included. I'm overwhelmed with work and quite literally burned out to the degree where I couldn't even get out of bed and face the day. In light of that, I've started to insist upon myself that I take time off to relax and recharge before I make myself stress sick.
What does it mean to be stress sick? I don't know if there's an official medical diagnoses for it but to me it means you've become so overwrought with stress and worry that it's making you physically ill.
Your thoughts have a great deal of affect on your physical well-being. So, when your mind is plagued with worry over things you have no control over it can start to eat away and your body. Stress left unchecked is a contributing factor to heart disease, high-blood pressure and obesity and diabetes. It can also cause sleep disorders, lack of motivation and depression.
So, why do we let stress get the better of us?
As Tony Robbins would say: "we get so caught up making a living, that we forget to design a life."
For me, I'm trying to do both which is burning the candle at both ends. But recognizing the problem is the first step in fixing it. How do you stop making yourself stress sick? With a few of these ideas:
If you're a writer like me, you are in front of a computer screen 80% of your times. A lot of it isn't even writing, its research or goofing off in the name of writing. Not only does this cause eye strain, but other physical problems from sitting too long. Plus, if you're cruising around on social media looking at everyone's fake account of their lives you can start to feel envious. In a rush to meet your own goals like the accounts you're following seem to be doing it can create havoc on you emotionally. Turn off the computer. Ditch the phone for awhile. Go outside and get some sun. While you're there, understand that perspective is in the eye of the beholder. Even if someone's life looks great on their social feed, chances are the parts they aren't showing you aren't too pretty. Stay in your lane and stop comparing yourself with others.
This has been my go-to stress reliever for years. There's nothing like a good sweat to clear your mind and invigorate you. Exercise has been proven to enhance mood as it releases endorphins which are the brain's feel-good neurotransmitters. If you're in a funk and feeling stressed out doing 30 minutes of exercise will shift your status guaranteed.
Sometimes having so many thoughts scrambled in your head can cause stress and anxiety. When you write them down, you don't hold onto them any longer. Once they're on the page they can't hurt you. Journaling is good to cleanse the soul because you are just talking to yourself, essentially, and it keeps you from holding back. There are times when even talking to your closest friend doesn't allow you to release everything you're holding onto from fear of judgement. A blank page doesn't judge you. Pour out your grievances, wants and needs through your pen and let it go.
Enjoy Down Time
I know for me that when I'm watching TV or playing a video game I start to feel a little guilty. In my head I should be hustling. If I'm not working I'm wasting time. But if you're enjoying yourself is it really a waste of time? Besides, I've gotten some great writing ideas by watching TV. The point is to be disciplined enough in your daily activities to know you deserve a rest as reward. Its ok to just decompress for awhile. In fact, these days its mandatory. Just don't watch the news...EVER! Pick a comedy to boost your spirits, enjoy a simple snack, and get back after your goals later. Tell yourself its ok. You're allowed that moment of frivolity.
Those are a few simple tips to help you de-stress yourself. Times are tough but don't let them become so overwhelming that you start to get sick. Take care of you first!