Dealing with life's stresses - at least I try to on most days! Part One
I try to live a stress-free life, and I must admit I don’t always achieve success, but I keep trying not to judge myself and then start over if needed. I’m being as real as possible with these suggestions. My goal with this post about living a stress-free life is not to cause stress. However, I have to lot of things I'd like to address so I'm writing about this as a 3-part series.
It’s sometimes difficult to describe exactly what eliminating stress in my life looks like. On the surface, I think I live mostly stress-free life, and yet, from time to time, I find myself in stressful situations. Perhaps that’s just life. I’ve come to realize that my mindset has a lot to do with my stress level. I find the best way to deal with stressful situations is first to pay attention to how I'm feeling, to listen to what's happening in my body. I ask myself, why am I overindulging in food or alcohol in the midst of what's going on. Sometimes, it takes days or even weeks before I connect the dots and say enough already and try to address the situation head-on or just remove myself from the situation by simply moving on.
When I was working as a non-profit administrator, I always felt like I never had time to get done all the things I really wanted to do for myself. After retiring, I thought I'd have more time to get things done, yet I often feel that same way. It takes careful self-awareness to self-correct and refocus on what’s important for me at this stage of my life. Journal writing and daily meditative readings are usually very helpful for recentering.
I try not to over analyze situations: This has not been easy for me because I've managed the chaos in my life by organizing and mapping a plan of action. This was a useful strategy; and for a good part of the time, it seemed as though controlling the situation was working. As a young woman, I managed my school, professional and personal lives with precision. A well ran life. Being a disciplined and organized person, I approached whatever obstacle in front of me, analyzed the situation with a thought-out plan, with faith in myself and God that I could figure it out, and I sought a solution. This is a useful strategy and I still use it sometimes. After my 20+ years marriage ended in divorce, I realized that there are some situations that I had little or no control. I’ve come to understand, that I can only control or manage how I am feeling, and that I can only define my own terms for health and happiness; at the same time, let go and accept what others are doing or not doing, and if their actions are depleting my sense of well-being or getting in the way of my progress. find a way without trying to change or manage them.
I try not to take on other people’s problems. This is a tricky one. Often, I didn’t realize that's what I was doing. I was just helping. Like many of us, I am a generous and giving person; and sometimes, I felt underappreciated and overwhelmed in the process of helping others with their problems. I’d often get off the phone worried about the other person’s problem and searching for solutions to help and often getting into the habit of enabling rather than allowing them to figure out their own solutions. Setting healthy boundaries
without feeling guilty is still new and a work in process. Usually, for me the boundary is set after I'm exhausted and pissed off and then I feel guilty for doing so. I now asked myself, why am I feeling I must help; instead, I'm learning to set clear boundaries and let other connected to the problem or the person with the problem figure it out without my involvement. This is a huge learning curve, but one I’m fully embracing.
Love the Body You're In is about emotional self-protection and not feeling drained and depleted. I hope something resonates and helps you do just that!