STRESSED? I’m not stressed. DO I LOOK STRESSED!?!
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Slap, slap…snooze (9 minutes later) BEEP! BEEP! Slap, slap, CRASH (book, cup of water, glasses –off the table). My thought bubble: Omigosh is it time to get up? Is it Tuesday? Friday? What is stuck in the corner of my eye? Sadly, this is how most days start for me. I haven’t learned to put my stuff on the other side of my alarm clock. I cannot figure out what day it is for the first 10 minutes in the morning and, to top it all off, for some unknown reason there has been something in my eye EVERY morning of my life. It’s not exactly a stellar way to start the week but it is what it is. It is the calm before the storm. As soon as I shake the fog off my brain, I am off to the races. Because I wait too long to get going, I’m in a rush to catch up with the day. Argh!!! This is a stress I bring on myself. We all have stress that we bring on ourselves. My stress follows me throughout the day if I don’t get a grip and consciously work on minimizing it. What’s your stress? It’s probably a combination of a number of things-too much to do, not enough time, enough guilt to fill an ocean, and not having 2 nickels to rub together- among other things. My stream of consciousness/worry is as follows- bathing suit season is coming (in 9 months- but still it’s coming), homework, clutter, what did I just step in, traffic, noise, gotta change that light bulb, meetings, no clean underwear for the boys, time to go to Target for boys underwear, that guy has 17 items in this express line and I only have 2 packs of underwear, 112 urgent unread emails, 4 shows on the DVR, is that Evan’s lunch on the counter, when is that Pilates class, breathe ….Does any of this sound vaguely familiar? Life is crazy. There’s no denying it. NOW WHAT?!? Ummm…try that again…now what?
Expert suggestions: Break the cycle of stress.
• Reframe stressful situations
• Deep breathing – deep breath in for 7 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds, exhale for 7 seconds – let the stress leave you
• Avoid stress-triggering foods/ eat stress busting foods
Kuhel Family challenges: Sounds good but does not sound natural-AKA “Easier said than done.”
Kuhel solutions: Stress in your life might look like the stress in my life. Our lists of “things to do” seem to grow by leaps and bounds. If you are like me, you carry your life list mentally and your work list on paper/PDA. I’ve heard there are people that actually have lists and cross things off. I‘ve heard some of these same people actually put things on the list after they’ve already done them just so they can cross it off. Lists or no lists, these things are just the beginning of what can cause us stress because it makes us feel overloaded. Other stresses- things that happen to us. When someone is rude to you, is mean to you, hurtful, or worse does this to someone you love, you can be undeniably stressed. Stress is your body’s response to anything that makes you feel overloaded or threatened. It seems most of us are feeling overloaded or threatened most days. The Kuhels fall smack in the middle of that group. Our family is a work in progress in terms of managing our stress. This is how we are attempting to manage our bodies’ responses to things that make us feel stressed.
• Rethink “it” – “It” is anything that you can interpret as causing you stress. These days there is a surplus of “it”. The economy, your family, work/ lack of work, relationships, and the daily grind can be very overwhelming if you let it become overwhelming. If you feel your heart rate or rate of breathing change, you are letting “it” stress you. You are going to have to change your mind set. Road rage is a concept that is foreign to me, but lucky me, I’ve been a passenger in a few cars with people that LOVE to rage. It’s a favorite past time for them I’m sure. We are talking throwing a full-on– steering wheel banging-fist shaking-red faced screaming – hissy fit! All this energy expended because the guy in front of us conducted a less than graceful merge. Now you don’t have to throw the described hissy fit to be experiencing stress. Merely letting it tick you off to the point that it puts you in a bad mood for a time can really negatively affect your health. You can choose how much you let it affect you. You can choose to believe that this driver sought you out and tried to make this untimely move with the sole purpose of getting in your way. You could also choose to believe this driver forgot to check his blind spot, doesn’t know how to drive, is nervous about merging, or just didn’t see you. Time for that above mentioned deep breathing. You could also choose not to give it another thought. You don’t have to be a genius to spot which choice could send your day into a downward spiral. Is it something worth getting upset about? Nooooo. What good is going to come of you freaking out? Nada, zip, nothing. The point is that you have a choice about how much you are going to allow something to affect your state of mind. My rethinking challenge comes into play when I think about my family. Some days I’m better at this than others and I’m not above sharing my experiences for the sake of making my point. My kids will forgive me someday. Certain days I feel like my house is going to crumble all around me. My twin boys will pound around the house like a herd of elephants screaming like savages. It’s enough to make me consider moving to a convent where I know they’ve got some kind of rule about keeping quiet. My instinct is to yell at them to stop so I can launch into a monologue about respecting the house, rant about how I can’t hear myself think, and question if they’ve been raised by a pack of wolves. On a good day I stop to hear if the screaming is happy. I also realize that we have wood floors, the boys are getting big and they haven’t walked at all since the day they learned to run. If no one is getting hurt and nothing is getting broken, does it really need to be quiet? Like I said, some days it is a “YES!” because I’m having a not so good day. I’m trying to see the big picture and work towards having more days when I can say that I have a house with kids so noise is part of the deal. This is an opportune time for some more of that deep breathing. I’m not saying you should let your kids run your household. What I am saying is that you might want to take moment to assess if it is something worth getting upset about. Pick your battles carefully because you can’t win them all. There are situations that are not as easy to rethink. Finances are often a huge stress. A chronic illness of a loved one can be all consuming. A marriage with increasing challenges can result in endless sleepless nights. For situations like these I can only offer what I do to cope…..
Clearly too much for one post so come back tomorrow to read more.