Whether you are dealing with a ridiculously high volume of clients expecting you to work miracles, way behind on your word count for your current WIP, closing escrow on a new home or just overwhelmed with the lack of hours in a day, know you are not alone. The most stressful situations can have you cursing like a sailor…!@$#*&%#($#!! …or bursting into to tears. It doesn’t matter if they are personally imposed goals, requirements of a high stress job or family obligations, whatever the reason for the stress, none of those things are as important as your own health. Extreme stress can bring on anxiety attacks, high blood pressure, chronic headaches, heart problems, depression…the list goes on and on. In this day and age, we are all expected to do more, be more and produce more, in order to succeed. We push ourselves to the limits of our own sanity. Not good. Eventually, this will catch up, especially if the stress is compounded by several stressful things all happening at once. What do I tell my loved ones when they are feeling close to breaking? Take a break. Take a beat to step outside, into the fresh air and breathe. Take a bath or hot shower. Find some peace. I dole out these suggestions whenever someone I care about is feeling overwhelmed in the hopes of helping, of making sure they are okay. So why is it so hard to take my own advice? This has been one of the most stressful weeks I’ve had in a long time. A combination of things, all coming together serendipitously, to cause me grief caused me to @!#$%^!!#! and frankly, burst into tears. Let’s all take a step back and remember, none of it matters as much as our own wellbeing. If we are not around, none of it will get done anyway. So take care of #1. Here are my tips, that I myself and going to try and use to help relieve stress this weekend.
- Take a walk outside and get some fresh air. Breathe. Your body needs oxygen.
- Find a quiet place and let the tears flow. It can be a great release to just let it out.
- While outside breathing, let a Tarzan scream rip. Too self conscious? You can do it with the tunes turned up, while driving on the freeway or into a pillow at home.
- Take a hot shower, bath, sit in the hot tub or go for a swim. Water is therapeutic.
- Cut back on the caffeine. Have a cup of decaf tea instead.
- Treat yourself to comfort food.
- Leave the chores for later, and go to bed early. Laundry and dishes can wait.
- Try aromatherapy or natural herbal supplements for relaxation.
- Step away from the computer and your phone. Unplug for a while.
- Spend some quiet time alone.
- Have some wine.
- Vent. Spill your guts to someone that cares. No good will come from bottling it up.
- Snuggle. Ask your partner for a massage.
Some of these things feel impossible. Like cutting back on coffee or getting a minute alone, but you can ask your family to give you 5 minutes alone. You can step away from your desk for 5 minutes. And if you really have to, you can cut back on the coffee, just for one day. I cannot express how important it is to make sure that if you are feeling ill, to please seek the advice of a medical professional. Stay healthy my friends.