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Plenty Woman Weekly
April 10, 2016
Stress Awareness Month
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Stress.

It’s usually a good while before I even realize it’s got me. I’m just going along, pushing and pulling against this horrible feeling, the source of which it doesn’t even cross my mind to try and identify.

I just assume the problem is me.

This means, of course, my anxiety has kicked in, as I’m blaming myself for the shit state I’m in -- that I’m not trying hard enough like a normal, productive person can and should be.

I often just keep at it until one of two things happens:

1) I feel like shit pushing through but am grateful in the end that I didn’t give up

2) I feel like shit giving up and curse the gods for making me so weak

Either way, failing to identify stress feels bad, as does the anxiety that inevitably follows.

What feels better are the times I’m able to do this:
  1. Stop what I’m doing when I feel bad
  2. Look for a source of stress
  3. Take a break from it all
  4. Start from a fresh perspective
Let’s take cleaning house, for example.

Historically, if I started to lose steam, I just kept pushing through at whatever physical or mental expense was necessary. Because whatever I had planned to get done was what I had to get done.

Otherwise, I couldn’t mark it off my to-do list.

Otherwise, I’d have to worry about doing it later, or tomorrow, or not at all.

Otherwise, I wouldn’t have the perfect home to distract me from all the imperfection in my life.

These days, I stop when I realize I’m feeling bad and I look for a source of stress – almost always an arbitrary deadline to get something done that only matters to me.

I might take a break to do a little yoga, have a cup of coffee, take a few deep breaths and realize I need to slow down.

Or I might just curl up on the couch and abandon cleaning altogether.

What this means, of course, is that every room of the house is usually in a different state of “clean.” But I’ve finally come realize it’s not worth the stress of having everything perfect for no better reason than having everything perfect.

This way of living requires two things:
  1. Letting go of expectations
  2. Mindfulness
Let’s spend Stress Awareness Month there.

Wishing you a go-with-the-flow, mindful month,

Meredith

P.S. In case you haven’t seen them yet, I have two new posts on the website:


Time Makes Me Anxious: How Einstein’s Dreams Helped

I Don’t Need to Identify With Emily Dickinson

There’s also this about stress myths you might want to check out from Hello Giggles.

As always, love to hear from you – about the posts, about stress awareness, or about anything else you ever want to talk about.

 
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