I ran into an acquaintance recently. Someone I don’t see regularly, and hadn’t seen since May. To say he seemed overwhelmed is an understatement. I could tell he was feeling stressed.
“How are you?” I asked. He looked tired and seemed distracted.
“Stressed,” he replied.
“Why are you so stressed?” I asked.
Of course, I couldn’t let it go. I just HAD to keep on keeping on.
“What are you doing about it?” I prodded.
“Nothing,” he said, “Because I don’t have anytime to do anything about it.” He said this with anger laced with disappointment. I could tell he was unhappy about his life choices.
“Oh,” I said, “I’m sorry to hear that. This time of year IS stressful.”
“It doesn’t have anything to do with this time of year. It’s just my life.”
“I hope things get better,” I said, and moved on. I didn’t really know what to say, and I could tell he didn’t want to hear anything I had to offer. He was convinced there wasn’t anything he could do about his stressful life. I didn’t feel like getting into with him, because it’s not my life, it’s his.
We all get stressed out. It’s part of life. Some seasons feel busier and more stressful than others, but we can do many things to help ourselves. We just have to want to help ourselves.
Don’t give in to feeling overwhelmed and stressed, take action. After my recent conversation, I though we could all use a little reminder, especially this time of year.
Here’s what I do when I’m feeling stressed:
- I try to look at the big picture. Am I in a stressful season, or has my life taken a stressful turn that’s here to stay? Usually, when I keep the big picture top of mind, it makes me realized “this time will pass.” This helps me keep perspective, and perspective helps me relax a little bit.
- I exercise. It doesn’t matter what it is, or where I am. I move my body. I’ve walked fast and hard in an airport, done yoga poses in a bathroom stall (not touching anything, of course!) and always try to do some form of exercise even on vacation. It keeps me feeling balanced and calm. I highly recommend it.
- Hot water always helps: A hot bath or shower with a little eucalyptus or lavender oil thrown in makes me feel refreshed and rejuvenated. I take this everywhere I go. I also don’t go very long without having a hot drink. Hot tea, decaffeinated coffee, it doesn’t matter. Something about sipping a hot drink is relaxing and soothing.
- Take time for yourself. It doesn’t matter where you are, or how long you have, a few deep breaths, can help you get back on track. Take them. It’s free and easy.
- Be willing to say “NO.” Why is this so hard for us to do? If you’re feeling stressed, don’t take on any more responsibilities. Each of us knows when our plate becomes too full. Listen to the voice inside your head.
- Recognize there’s always something you can do. You’re never stuck. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, don’t just accept that this is the way it has to be. It might take a little time, but there’s almost always something you can do to help yourself feel better.
It’s your life. You can live it feeling stressed and overwhelmed, or you can do something about it. The choice is yours. I know what I would do.
Find meaning each day,
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