2019,  Health,  Mental Health,  Musings

Musings: What the Stress?

Let the bullshit blow in the breeze.

The Pharcyde lyrics that are imprinted in my heart and mind.

However, no matter how many times I repeat that line when I’m in the thick of it, it doesn’t help. It also doesn’t help when I cannot identify when I’m stressed.

Does that happen to you? Do you know your stressors? Do you know how to de-stress yourself?

Well, shit! Neither do I apparently. Recently, I’ve become so stressed my immune system was repressed, which eventually led to a flare up of Shingles. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. Shingles. Like what old people get.

I’m digressing, but really it was the highlight of reminding myself that managing my stress is VERY important. But it goes deeper than that, it is truly understanding and identifying when I’m stressed.

I do know one stressor is my finances. While I was working through this, I shyly brought it up with my therapist.

I’m bad with money.

I’m embarrassed with how bad I am with it.

I’m ashamed with how bad I am with it, especially because my family is so good with it.

Money controls me.

That feels good to write out and share with anyone beyond my therapist. It feels good to share how I feel. It feels nice to be vulnerable in a very subtle way.

The one thing I took away from my session is my relationship with money, something I NEVER thought about.

I didn’t even realize I had a relationship with money. I never thought of it that way. One question she posed really stumped me: What are my beliefs about money? After talking it through with her, I realized I can re-frame my beliefs about money.

The goal in understanding my belief about money is to release it as a stressor. If I change my belief, then I no longer give it the power that I currently do. The more I question my beliefs about money and why my beliefs have come to be, I can work through them as a stressor. I literally was so relieved when we spoke about it. My debt isn’t going anywhere. My car won’t magically get a new engine. My paycheck won’t magically increase. BUT, I can now be more honest with myself and understand why my beliefs are leading to stress, which is leading to a less than healthy body.

Of course there are a variety of other stressors, working coming in a close second to finances. But again, I’m working through all of these things. But the one thing that has been weighing heavy on me is the disconnection between my mind and body.

I am a true believer that when our mind and body are aligned, we are the best version of myself. However, mine are NOT. I honestly feel like I’m emotionally in a good place. Not perfect of course. But this last year and a half I’ve been happier than I have been in the previous four years and I feel fulfilled in many areas of my life. I react differently to things. I’ve changed my outlook, a lot of things are different for the better.

But my body would say otherwise. And while I don’t think it was because I was stressed, but possibly a repressed immune system, I got Hand Foot Mouth Disease earlier this year, plus a variety of my average sinus infection(s). I also think my recent bout of food poisoning/stomach flu was due to a stress induced repressed immune system. I’m sure its all interrelated and I want to be the healthiest, mind, body, and soul, version of myself.

That’s a promise I make to myself, always.

But I don’t seem to be keeping up with it. I’m granting some grace for the fact that I am even aware of it and trying to understand it, more than I would have done two years ago. So, in that respect that is growth I will appreciate.

And oddly, my stress has nothing to do with the holidays. Since we are having our first ever warm Christmas, I have not gotten a tree or worried about presents. I’ve even mostly decided I won’t send out Christmas cards too, but it kinda breaks my heart. The no tree makes me sad, especially when everyone was posting on IG about cutting down their trees and then the beautifully decorated tree pics too. But you know what, it makes me a little sad and envious, but I have my SF Giants tree up and that makes me happy. I don’t really have space for a real tree either, so that helps too. As for the presents, its kind of relieving, even though I have to tell some friends that I won’t be exchanging with them. I know they won’t care, but it makes me a little uncomfortable and I want to give them gifts, but financially it’s not possible this year. And I am working on being okay with that.

I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least offer a few tips for how I de-stress:

  • Literally say something I’m grateful, repeat for three different things
  • Do something creative — write for the blog or color
  • Take a different or new exercise class, my regularly scheduled workouts don’t really do the trick
  • Meditate – I use Insight Timer, because I prefer guided meditation
  • Volunteer – there is nothing more satisfying that giving my time and energy to those in need, it also brings my perspective full circle
  • Journal – get it out, no matter how scary, ugly, sad, mad, or hurt I am it feels good to release it somewhere if I can’t talk about it
  • Music – I throw on whatever feels good in that moment, sing as loud as I want, and dance as crazy as I want (try it, I promise it helps)

Again these are just things that help me de-stress. Sometimes, even throwing on a face mask and zoning out on TV for the required fifteen minutes is helpful to just sit and let my body relax into itself.

Its funny how life ebbs and flows, even though I’ve promised myself to constantly work on myself. Sometimes it flows so freely and other times I have to work so damn hard at things. I get it, everyone does. But sometimes its cathartic to come here and write about it. I know I’m not the only one going through things, my things are also much less worrisome than plenty others, but they are still mine. And if you are here for my journey, I want to continue to be authentic. Also, thank you for following along all year. It’s been beyond sporadic, but I appreciate your support of my blog.

Stress is inevitable, but my reaction is not…

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