5 Tips to be Zen when You’re Stressed Out of Your Mind
There is a saying that you either have just gotten out of an emergency, are in the middle of an emergency, or are about to enter into an emergency. That’s sort of blown out of proportion though, don’t you think? Unless it’s a dire situation that severely threatens the life and/or safety of your loved ones, most “emergencies” are just bumps in the road.
That said…sometimes life really is an emergency! You get bad medical news. You lose your job and you don’t know how to feed your family. A flood washes away your home. In those rare instances you have two choices: fall apart or suck it up and deal. In honor of Stress Awareness Day, here are some tips to help you deal.
5 Tips To Be Zen When You’re Stressed Out of Your Mind
1. Focus on Now. Perhaps mistakes made in the past have led you to your current situation. Berating yourself is not helpful. That was then, this is now, so start making better decisions today. Likewise, you have no idea what the future will hold. Lying awake until 3 a.m. thinking of every possible “what if?” is not helpful either. If the worst-case scenario should arise, deal with it at that time, not now.
2. Be Grateful. This might sound counter-intuitive, after all, you just had something really bad happen. But sometimes bad things serve as a good reminder of how good we have it most days. For example, my husband and kids were flying on a plane the same day there was a big airline crash. I never kissed them so hard as I did when they landed. We tend to take our loved ones for granted. When was the last time you looked at your spouse, or parent, or child, or whomever, and said with full sincerity, “thank you for all you do for me,” or “I’m so proud of all you accomplish”? Similarly, how often do we complain about our bodies? We say I’m too fat, I’m too thin, I’m not pretty enough, or complain about our lack of strength. How much do you think a person suffering in a hospital bed would give to trade bodies with you if they could? Be thankful for your health and the important people in your life.
3. Let Go Of Unrealistic Expectations. Fitness and clean eating is a big part of my life. I love competitive bodybuilding, living a healthy lifestyle and blogging about it. Guess what I wasn’t able to do consistently when my mom was diagnosed with cancer? That would be eating clean, exercising, and blogging. Also, I had to drop out of a fitness competition (a long-term goal of mine) just 2 1/2 weeks before the show, after months of training. Even though I was disappointed and missed my usual routine, it would have been ridiculous for me to expect myself to maintain the same level of fitness when I was in and out of the hospital with my mom and raising small children simultaneously. That’s life sometimes. The gym was waiting for me when I was ready.
4. Ask for Help. This is not the time to be a martyr. If you’re going through a tough time ask for help! Think of times of natural disasters – you will see instances of neighbors helping neighbors clean up fallen trees or provide food, clothing and shelter. I think people inherently want to help, so if you need some, ask. (And then thank them!) And speaking of thanks – thanks to my friends who babysat while I took my mom to doctor appointments and everyone who posted kind words and advice in the comments sections of my other posts – it helped!
5. Blow Off Some Steam. If you put a potato in the microwave, it’s important to poke holes in it first so it can blow off some steam; otherwise the pressure will build up while cooking and it will explode. A lot of times people bottle up their emotions, but if you don’t express some of your negative feelings (like fear, anger, or sadness) they can burst out of you in the most inappropriate moments. So let some of that out. Take a little time to cry, or punch the wall, or call your friend to vent about how awful the situation is. You will feel better.
When I was getting my mom’s house ready for sale, my husband and I went grocery shopping. He didn’t want to pay for something because it was too expensive and I snapped. We were both aware my anger had nothing to do with the price of milk and once we got to the car I just went off on a two minute rant about HMOs that kept building until we were both laughing so hard we were crying. (There’s a reason why this blog is named ShesLosingIt.com.) After I finished he said, “I’m surprised it took you two weeks before you exploded.” I’m guilty of trying to remain positive in all situations; sometimes you just need a release.
Perhaps the best thing to remember in an emergency is that it is only a temporary situation. This too shall pass and you will be stronger when it is over.
How about you? What things to you do to get through stressful times?
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Lisa Traugott is a personal trainer, Mom’s Choice Award writer, original cast member of FOX/John Cena’s “American Grit” and has a monthly fitness column on Bowflex.com. She won Ms. Costa Rica Sports Model 2017 and her transformation story was featured in Muscle & Fitness Hers, Good Day Austin, Great Day Houston and Texas Monthly. She blogs at ShesLosingIt.com and is passionate about her clients.
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