We are drowning in stress every day and can pretty much pull out the laundry list of stressors in our lives: family and work demands, financial concerns, or change in life circumstances such as new baby, move to a new city, marriage, death of loved ones. Stress leads to lack of sleep, physical issues such as high blood pressure, incessant worry about how the overall world circumstances reflect in your individual world and deep invisible heaviness that comes from a global pandemic of illness, suffering and pain. It can keep you wide awake at 4 a.m.!
Often, you adapt to these stressors to such a degree that they simply go underground and grind away in the background of your life, creating an ‘under the radar’ drain on our energy and wellbeing. The chronic nature of this kind of stress can impact your physical as well as mental wellbeing and can lead to anxiety, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system as well as heart disease, depression and obesity, outbursts of irritability, muscle tension, headaches and fatigue that will not be resolved with a few good night’s sleep
• A work life out of balance: with promotions and new job responsibilities comes the unspoken assumption that you must be committed to your job beyond regular business hours. Are you driven by the To Do list at your job that grows longer while available time to refresh and stay connected with loved ones and family shrinks due to time constraints of your work.
• A love affair with smart devices that you just can’t quit: staying in touch with what is going on in the world has become a global obsession and addiction that significantly increases anxiety with increased use. Ironically, our only momentary relief happens when we check our phones, something it has been estimated we do 80 times a day on average!
• Clutter, chaos and no peace at home: in the environment where you live, hectic schedules, conflicting behaviors, multiple generations can result in complex familial connections and a lack of peaceful space and a distinct increase in anxiety as everyone jostles for their place in the home’s infrastructure.
• Losing relationships that matter: when life gets on the fast track, nurturing the very relationships that keep us mentally and emotionally healthy can end up at the bottom of the list (if they are there at all) This loss of intimate connection can result in the loss of the lubricant that keeps life flowing without friction.
• Being your own harshest critic and driver of your life: Carrying a suitcase full of unrealistic expectations of who you are and what you need to be and do in life can lead to issues of low self-esteem and being in overdrive to try to accomplish all the should on your list.
Bringing these secret stressors into consciousness will help discard the clandestine hold they have over you and will support you to live with a greater sense of freedom and vitality.
Here are a few ideas to try. Choose one each week for the next three weeks and see how your energy levels and sense of exhaustion changes to a happier, healthier you!
• Engage in physical activity – workout, walk, bike – just do it!
• Take time – play with your pet, read, cook, talk with friends, watch a movie
• Take care of yourself – Breathe! Meditate! Do Yoga! Engage in self-love!
• Learn to say “No” – give yourself a break from continually having to be on-call
• Take a mini-vacation – spend a day away from your normal routine
• Put the smart devices down – free yourself from bondage and enjoy connecting with your authentic self
• Clean up the clutter in your home and make space for peaceful moments
• Set aside time for quality time with family and loved ones.
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes
– including you ~ Anne Lamott