Stress really can take you out of here.
According to this article by the Mayo Clinic, the most common effects of stress impact your body, mood, and behavior:
Now, I am not a medical professional (that was a disclaimer right there), but I have been a bit of a victim of stress for most of my life. Maybe it’s the plague of an over achiever combined with the “thrill” of procrastination that produces a stress induced frenzy – I’m not quite sure exactly.
But throughout my life and career, there were clear signs (that of course I blogged about)…
- My first panic attack came at age 17.
- I got a nosebleed at work in the middle of planning a conference at age 23.
- I had these horrible breakouts in my mid twenty’s that would cause me to run to get Proactiv like an addict
It wasn’t until a recent encounter with stress that I finally went back to look at all my research on burnout, employee dissatisfaction, work-life balance, and my studies from a spring break trip in China. I was in the middle of reading a book on the connection between diet and the body, when I heard a voice say these two pivotal words:
And as Oprah said “I had an a-ha moment.”
My recent life changes (moving into a new place, having an influx of clients, running a business, getting more speaking engagements, etc) were leading my body to operate at a high level, consistently. Although mentally and spiritually, I was keeping up, my body was never resting.
The American Psychology Association had this to say about the matter:
Unlike everyday stressors, which can be managed with healthy stress management behaviors, untreated chronic stress can result in serious health conditions including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system….Yet, despite its connection to illness, APA’s Stress in America survey revealed that 33 percent of Americans never discuss ways to manage stress with their healthcare provider.
This isn’t a health blog by any means. However, I do subscribe to the “live your best life” mantra, and I can’t do that if I’m not at my best — and you can’t either.
If you’re like me and you’re starting to see some lightbulbs go off in your head, don’t worry. Here’s three ways to help mitigate this stress in your life:
1. Treat Yourself Really Well On A Daily Basis
I realized that I pushed myself way too hard because by nature, I am result driven. I get to help people every single day, but I noticed that I would say things to myself that I would never say to a client! Thoughts like “Just push through this last speaking engagement – you got this!” became my kryptonite. Instead, I learned how to check in with myself by making a few adjustments that you can make too:
- Gently remind yourself to make decisions from a sound state of relaxation and not because you feel rushed. Believe that what’s for you will not miss you — it’s okay to say “No” to an offer
- Go to your grocery store and pick up some Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt and Bubble Bath. It’s a $10.00 investment you can’t afford to miss
- Go to bed at a decent hour
- Mind your business
- Hop out of the group texts or silence some of your apps that have chatter until you’re ready to look at them
- Make yourself self a cup of tea in the mornings and stretch when you get out of bed
- Ask yourself “Are you tired?” in order to see if your adrenaline is really running the show
- Forgive yourself – you’re not perfect
[Tweet “If you’re stressed, check out @vannesiadarby’s blog post this week. She has 3 tips for you!”]
2. Stop Procrastinating
Okay, let’s admit it…sometimes our struggles are self induced. If I know I have a pile of work to get to, trust that I’m not rushing to knock it out. However, there are a few tricks that I have learned to help push through my natural inclination to sit still:
- Just do it: Realize that even a job you love will have work that you don’t like
- Get back to your freedom: Know that the sooner you get “it” over with, the sooner you have your freedom. This is what I tell myself when I don’t want to work out.
- Build in time to procrastinate: sometimes we over-schedule ourselves as if we don’t know who we are! If you know you wait until the last minute to do your staff meeting report, don’t try and squeeze another meeting before it. You know better – clear up that schedule.
3. Go to the doctor
Part of adulting is making sure you’re getting all your annual exams: your physical, eye exam, and dentist appointment. Although it sounds basic, I know plenty of people who causally skip over these items. Make sure your appointments are set so all your levels can be checked. If you need help, see when your friends schedule their appointments so you all are reminded to go at a similar time.
If you feel like something is wrong, I encourage you to talk to your physician. Also, don’t be afraid to get a second or third opinion. Speak up and advocate for yourself in every way.
Fulfilling your dreams only work if you’re here to do so. Know that you never have to be stuck in a position in a job or organization that is causing your mental or physical health to decline. I’m not telling you to quit anything (but if you are, I wrote this blog about it!). However, I am discouraging you from putting a job before your wellbeing. Take time to take care of yourself.
You won’t always get it right. Sometimes, old habits really do die hard. “Balance” looks different for everyone and in every season. Just keep trying and enjoy the process. You’ll get there.
Always speak life,