Oh stress, my old friend. The unwanted visitor that used to live like a permanent squatter in my proverbial basement. Who used to wreck havoc in every room of my proverbial house, and leave me feeling completely out of control and disenchanted with my experience of life.
While I am rarely overtaken by stress anymore, I’m still human and I definitely get the occasional bouts of overwhelm that force me to slow down and really put my work into practice. This week I have been in the thick of overwhelm. I know why, as I have let some very basic needs slip from my priority list, and am now back-pedalling to recommit and get myself back into a grounded and balanced state. It happens. And I figured, while I am putting the pieces back together, I would share my key steps with you. Keep in mind that these are steps that need to be revisited on a fairly regular basis. And each time, I learn more, I become stronger and more resilient, and I experience expansiveness on a more regular occurrence. We must be okay with losing our way, because it means we can edit, adjust, and get to know “our way” that much better.
Step 1: Check your self talk. Stress breeds more stress. When your body is in distress, your self talk will match that vibration. Taking time to pause throughout the day to check in,
“What am I thinking about?”
“Is that necessary right now?”
“Is there a different perspective I could try on here?”
“What can I control right now, and what do I need to let go of?”
“What am I grateful for?”
Step #2: create space by embracing where you are. I always start feeling better as soon as I stop blaming or being angry about my predicament. So here I am, a bit stressed and overwhelmed, that’s okay. It’s perfectly normal to struggle. But I definitely don’t need to struggle because I’m struggling and then struggle some more.
Step #3: check in on your basic biological needs. Stress is a sign of lacking balance, which could be from lacking or over-exerting in an important category of your health.
How’s my sleep patterns been lately?
What has my diet looked like the past few days?
Where do I notice bouts of high energy and where are my patterns of low energy throughout the day?
What do I need more of?
What do I need less of?
Who are the people I can reach out to for support or connection?
What places and environments will put me in the energy I want more of?
What activities can I engage in today to get my engine revving or support my ability to slow the F down?
Step #4: Don’t just do something, sit there. Once I have become clear on what needs to be tightened up, what needs to shift, what conversations need to be had, what habits need to be attentively cared for, I know I need the space and energy to start making small steps from a place of peace and contentment rather than from fear or desperation. More time with my hand on my heart, my eyes closed, and nothing but focused breathing. Get behind your mind chatter and tap back into the expansiveness that is always there.
Now all you have to do is get started! Write out reminders, share with the people you love, and prioritize you well-being. No one can do this for you.
If you are looking for further support and inspiration, register for the dope(a)me discipline 21 day challenge. A simple and low-cost program that will pay off in a substantial return on investment. You’re not alone. And you definitely do not need to fight through your stress solo. Let’s do it together.