Well let me start by first saying I'm far from and will never be a doctor, GI specialist, nutritionist, or health coach. I recently came across a article that was titled " Selfish Simone Biles lets her team mates and her fans down" and this did not sit well with me. Simone Biles is an amazing woman who preforms at amazing levels and is 100% amazing at what she does, and choosing to listen to what hurts in her body even if we cannot physically see it and choosing to take care of her self takes incredible strength and I have the upmost respect for her and her choice. This got me thinking in terms of stress who am I? where am I? and What am I doing about it?
Let me first tell you about my personality: I'm an extreme introvert who gets overwhelmed by crowds, small talk, and loud environments. I've learned to hide the overwhelmed feeling, but inside I feel light headed and nauseous leading up to events and for a short time when I arrive until I adjust to the environment. It can be so physically exhausting for me that I feel like I'm recovering the following day. I often think about the worst that can happen in every situation and carry to much on my own shoulders without asking for help. All these traits are so difficult to combat daily, but they also make for a person who is 100% trust worthy, genuine, passionate, cautious, and extremely caring.
Everyone handles and carries their stress in different ways for me its extremely physical and the area of my body that takes the biggest hit..my stomach. I have always suffered from stomach issues even as a child... but now that I think about it I was a pretty anxious child so that makes sense. When I'm stressed my symptoms are often IBS, nausea, and lightheadedness. My stomach runs my life and I'm constantly monitoring how I feel, and I envy people who don't suffer with GI upsets.
My stress is also felt in my neck and shoulders. I noticed when I'm particularly stressed or have something on my mind I tense my shoulders towards my ears and hold this position especially at night when sleeping. When Oliver was an infant he was the toughest out of the 3 and he screamed a lot, woke up hourly, and never ever let me put him down. This caused so much stress on me I felt like he hated me and I was doing something wrong...It felt like I just could not make him happy. At night I noticed I would sleep in a tense ball in anticipation of him waking up in the next hour. Don't get me wrong I had plenty of help and it made a huge difference to have the support, but between Oliver being a high needs baby, the baby blues, and my body recovering it was a really tough time.
So far this post has been a little down, But if you can relate then read on!....if you don't relate, well heck still read on I mean your already here :)
How do I handle this? Well first let me say I know what works for me, but I do need to get better at taking the time to practice these remedies. And what works for me might not work for you, but take the time to figure out what does work for you because its needed! Let me first list the general googled list that does in fact actually work when you make time and do them consistently:
Exercise: I love the way exercising makes me feel afterwards, but during when I'm feeling like someone is slowly torturing me so I will tell them where I hid the hard drive releasing Space Forces most hidden secrets. ..not so much.
Get more sleep: Again one of those things that when I go to bed early I never regret it in the morning, but then whos going to watch Twlight on Netflix until midnight without anyone asking for anything.....I can't cancel on myself.
Eat healthy: Ok this one I actually need to do because of my Celiac Disease that kind of cuts a lot of things out, trust me if I could eat the beer battered deep fried chicken dipped in chocolate sauce, yea I would.
What I found works for me ongoing and for attacks:
I try to keep a set schedule everyday and eat pretty much the same everyday it sounds boring, but something about the combination of knowing what to expect and not surprising my sensitive GI system really helps me stay settled. Once my stomach is acting up I tend to get nervous, but being nervous only makes the symptoms worse... so if I have to start my day with warm lemon water and have Cheerios or oatmeal for breakfast Mon-Fri so be it.
When I'm faced with a difficult situation like a party or event while I warm up I chew very minty gum. Something about the powerful mint and the chewing keeps my mind grounded and focused on something while I warm up.
Like I said above I watch TV often and late at night. My shows consist of many many lightheartedness... I'm taking Hallmark channel, Gilmore Girls, Boy Meets World, etc. I know I should be sleeping but its what I love to do I even look forward to it throughout the day.
This one is major! We put the kids to bed (in their bed) at the same time everyday, this is HUGE! and it took since babies to condition them. It matters a lot to us that we spend the last hours of our nights together on the couch eating our favorite snacks, talking, laughing, dreaming, planning, watchin tv and just loving each other.
This one I learned from my prenatal yoga teacher many years ago and it stuck with me. In bed when I feel my body in a tense position I close my eyes and in my head I go though all my body parts repeating this:
Relax your shoulders
Relax your face
Relax your ears
Relax your mouth
Relax your hands
Relax your feet
Relax your back
Etc... this brings awareness to all the parts of your body you are not connecting with when you are tense and allows you to reconnect and feel secure in your skin and at ease.
Stress is everywhere, its in us, and its a part of us.
So close your eyes..find your happy place and go there even if its just for a moment (until the someone calls mama).
with love and lots of bunnies