Like a Duck
Relationships, work, finances, news and everyday mishaps can be stressful. Do you sometimes feel that your head is ready to explode? Try to mimic a duck and let things roll off your back. Not easy to do, but worth the effort.
- Prioritize the angst. Not everything requires a level 10 reaction. Spilled milk is an irritation, but not earth shattering. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Nothing is permanent. If times are tough, know that things will get better.
- News focuses on the negative. Accept that many things are out of your control. Do not dwell on it and let it drag you down. Take it in small doses.
- Learn to listen and calmly state your position in work or personal relationships. Improved communication prevents misunderstandings.
- Get plenty of rest
- Exercise. Finding time for regular exercise is easier than dealing with illness.
Life is challenging, but also fun. How you balance the two is up to you.
Do you suffer from headaches or sore back, shoulders, neck legs, knees? If yes, your body may be warning you of too much stress in our daily life. If unheeded, serious illness may result.
Recently, I experienced a pulled muscle in the right buttock, pain in the knee and down the leg to my ankle. Stretching in a pool for two weeks solved the problems, until I returned home from vacation. The next day, on my morning walk, I asked my body what it was trying to tell me. Do not X this blog because it is too weird. Stick around for the answer. It may save you months of physical therapy.
The answer was to literally hang loose. I concentrated on relaxing my muscles as I walked. I started in the face and traveled to the jaw, neck, shoulders, back, buttocks, legs and feet. Relief was immediate.
Unaware that we carry concerns in our bodies, we mask pain with drugs and alcohol, instead of getting to the roots of the problems. Learn to let go of what you cannot change. Act on those you can change. We can improve ourselves, but cannot dictate the lives of others, including adult children. Each has a unique path of learning and growth.
Exercise and relaxation cure many ills. Many hit the gym, jog, walk and/or participate in a sport, but forget that the body needs to recover. Close your eyes and let every muscle relax. Listen to your body. It knows what it needs to stay healthy.
Life is magical. Enjoy!
Are you wound tighter than a drum? One more twist and you will snap? If so, you are not alone. Many people function under constant pressure, which can be self-induced by unrealistic expectations, or caused by external forces, i.e. job, spouse and family. Regardless of the cause, prolonged stress creates mental and physical damage.
The body is equipped with a flight or fight response. When threatened, the adrenal glands release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Heart rate quickens, blood pressure rises, energy supplies increase and substances that repair tissues are more available. Non-essential or detrimental functions to the fight or flight situation are curbed.
Chronic stress keeps the flight or fight reaction turned on, which puts you at an increased risk for many health problems.
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
First step in mitigating stress is to identify what causes your blood to boil. Keep and open mind and kick the “my way or the highway” attitude to the curb. There are many ways to accomplish a task. When receptive, you may learn an approach you like better and adopt as your own.
Loading the dishwasher is a mindless chore, yet stressful to some. Locked into a belief that the dishes must be placed the same way every time, a host can be sent into a tailspin when a guest offers to help. I welcome new ideas. House guests showed me how to accommodate more dishes per load. Take off the blinders and experiment with new ideas. What have you got to lose? The worst scenario is that you prefer your way and revert to it, perhaps teaching the other person something new in the exchange.
A lot of stress in the house can be mitigated with common sense. White couches and rugs in the family room occupied by kids, dogs and cats are a recipe for disaster. Keep common areas cleared of clutter. Limit children’s toys to playrooms, bedrooms and family rooms. Adult hoarding can be kept out of sight in the office, garage and basement. Uncluttered living room, dining room and kitchen are ready for the drop-in guest. No one notices a little dust and you will not die of embarrassment. When you plan to entertain, those rooms are easy to vacuum and dust.
When possible do not place yourself under time pressures. If you have a presentation due, do not procrastinate. Leaving things to the last minute is a recipe for disaster. Allow time for the unforeseen to go wrong and always have a Plan B.
To summarize, relax your expectations, declutter your space and do not procrastinate. Planning and organization go a long way towards sanity. Above all, remember that no one is perfect, including you. Expect the unexpected and roll with the punches. Choose to bend, instead of snapping.
Five Ways to Relieve Stress and Worry
- Identify your fear- Many times stress is fear of the unknown.
- Consider the worst scenario and prepare. Stock the car with supplies when traveling (blanket, first aid kit, non-perishable food like energy bars, water, cell phone) Have emergency kits at home in the event of power outage, snowstorm, tornado or hurricane (battery radio, flashlights, generator with fuel, canned goods, propane, camp stove, bottled water, non-perishable food) Preparation can make the difference between inconvenience and desperation. The same applies to making presentations, taking exams, house maintenance. Be prepared.
- Reflect on the best outcome- Once prepared, focus on the positive. The chance of your worst nightmare coming to fruition is small. If planning a trip, immerse yourself in the adventure. The butterflies in your stomach are excitement. Do not confuse the feeling with fear.
- Be flexible. Go with the flow. Swimming against a rip current is exhausting.
- Trust. The universe has your back. When you encounter obstacles, trust that you are being guided to something better.