Using my best Bob Dylan impersonation…
Oh, I Would Not Be So All Alone…Everybody Must Get Stressed.
We live in a stressful world. Think of the number of peaceful, calm people you know. We are lucky if we know one person like this.
Stress and anxiety are catching. So, what do we do?
First, realize that stress and anxiety are real.
Think of them as a microorganism that is particularly virulent and rampant right now. You’re not going to be able to wipe out this virus single-handedly, but you can strengthen your own immune system and protect yourself from the worst of it.
Make peace with the idea of doing something different from your friends and family.
Yes, it may cause them to become annoyed when you step back from some things. But you will also be giving them a gift as well. You will be showing them what it looks like to act instead of react. You will be inspiring them. You will be sending out an antibody into the infection.
Understand that bringing down your anxiety and stress is a process.
It will not be achieved overnight or by doing any one thing. You didn’t get this stressed in a day, and it will take some time to work your way out of it. Do not believe that something “didn’t work” because it didn’t solve all of your problems. Each thing builds on itself. It’s an organic process.
If you live in the rat race and it is taking a toll on your mental and physical health, make a decision to leave the race. Easier said than done, I know. But entirely possible. There are 50 ways to leave the rat race (I’m into song lyrics today!) I won’t be able to touch on everything, but let’s explore a few things.
Ask yourself if something is “worth it” whenever you are examining the different parts of your life that are particularly stressful.
Is it worth the hassle to continue to do things the way you are currently doing them? For example, if you are eating out a lot, is it worth it? Is the food that good? Think about the cost. Also, consider the energy cost. You have to get in your car and go somewhere. You have to wait for the waiter to bring your food. You have to deal with cranky children, etc. Not to mention the cost to your health. You may be going out to eat because you are convinced cooking is too much trouble. There are lots of things you can prepare that take less time than it takes to drive somewhere. Investigate your options. I would be more specific, but you may have dietary restrictions which will inform your choices.
Play a game with yourself and pretend you have to start over with your house for whatever reason.
What would you keep? What would you replace? There’s probably a whole bunch of stuff floating around in your universe you don’t need or want. It’s just part of the background. Get rid of stuff you don’t need or want. Having less to deal with makes life easier. Do the same thing with activities. If your child had to pick one activity and ditch the rest, which one would (s)he pick?
Go to an estate sale once in awhile.
Wait….what? I just told you to get rid of stuff! Yes, I know. It is sometimes illuminating to go through someone’s house and see the wigs and wheelchairs next to the china and crystal. It’s all stuff, and you can’t take it with you. It’s there for you to enjoy while you are here. You’re not running a museum. And yes, I must confess, sometimes I find some pretty cool stuff at estate sales…and I bring it home.
Sit down and rest.
Let your mind rest. Stop running and doing. Drink some tea. Listen to some music. Write in your journal. Train yourself to physically and mentally relax. You can do this!