How I Deal With Stress
So I know some [most…all?] of my recent posts have talked about the chaos that is my life lately.
I have also mentioned how I am an extreme optimist and my worries about that not necessarily being a good thing.
These two things tie together in this post, promise.
So with that being said, I figured it would be kind of relevant to do a post about how I, personally, deal with stress. Maybe it will give someone out there going through a stressful time some ideas, or hope that someday it will end.
I have given you a little background, but for the sake of this post I will give a little more insight into the stress I have been dealing with.
I used to think “stress” was gaining 5 pounds, or not being able to pay a bill on time; or moving (which I still think is stressful); or having a ton of stuff to do in one day. Though those are all legitimate stress factors, quite honestly – those are the types of stresses that I can only dream of lately.
Sometimes you just get dealt some heavy shit. After dealing with a death (multiple ones, in a close time period), a lot of other stuff seems petty. Something happens where you realize there are so many worse things in life. Part of this I think came from a mix of losing people and the aftermath of that, and also watching someone first-hand dealing with the fact that they are going to pass away soon. It puts stuff into perspective.
So before I begin I just want to let you guys know, I really dont mean to offend anyone or downplay anyone’s problems because that is certainly not the goal of this post. Just know this is coming from my recent experiences and realizations in my own life.
Okay as for that background. As you know, Torrance’s mom passed away last November. I think now that it has been almost a year, I can reflect on it a little more. If you havent figured it out, we had become very close over the last 10 years (and of course her and Torrance were very close). Her diagnosis with cancer was hard in itself, she was 47 and being told she had a short time left. Her passing was very hard, planning a funeral was hard, the grieving, and the aftermath, etc.
And anyone who knows Torrance and I personally, and our history, knows I am the rock in our relationship. There are times he has surprised me and stepped up of course, but I hold our shit together. I take on a lot of the stresses in our relationship, because quite frankly, I handle stress a lot better than he does. And he agrees.
Because of that, I handled his mom’s estate. I dont want to get into all that because it is probably tacky, but handling logistics after someone passes is a lot of work, and quite honestly, something I never would have seen myself doing at age 24/25. It makes me feel extra for anyone who has a death in their family, it definitely adds more to the grieving.
Shortly after that, my nephew (who is 20) lost his dad who was only 29, also from an illness. Though I wasnt particularly close to him, I obviously felt for my nephew/that part of the family. And I think because it was so soon after Torr’s mom, that drove in the fact that life isnt fair and people go way too soon.
Following that I started to feel more thankful for little stuff. It is so easy to get stuck in your own world and day-to-day stuff, hell, it is completely normal honestly.
Following that was just sort of a chain reaction, we were very,very involved in helping Torrance’s dad and new wife and her kids get moved here to NC from Alaska and getting them situated, and then of course we had his grandma in FL to tend to and worry about moving her here also (which I mentioned was it’s own project…) and generally we were away from home and out of our comfort zone quite a lot.
And then as I mentioned, news of two more deaths – his grandpa and also a close friend of ours back in Alaska that took his own life. That is always a shock and struggle in itself. He had two young kids also. It’s heartbreaking really. This is the friend that basically is the whole reason Torrance and I even started dating in high school.
And then of course his grandma’s cancer diagnosis and the scare with Kona came shortly after that.
So just last week after all that was done, I just kind of sat back and said “okay, seriously?” And I sat back (with a drink, duh) and realized I need to give myself more credit because somehow I survived through all that.
And I have learned a lot. So from that, I will share how the hell I deal with stress:
- Optimism and a positive attitude
If you get lemons, make lemonade. And my lemonade has vodka, by the way (like you didnt already know that). And as I mentioned, there was a point I actually worried my extreme optimism was too much. I now realize that this is probably what saved my sanity.
Sure it can be annoying as shit (mostly to other people, especially those who are not optimists), but overall I think it is for the best.
Not to sound all cliche, but I really do think a positive attitude spawns positive things, and well; a negative attitude is only going to make things worse. Complaining about how things are going isnt going to fix anything. You actually have to stop yourself and say “ok here is the problem, lets turn around and work with what we have and do what we can to make the best out of it.” Sometimes that’s all ya got.
Dont sweat the small stuff
Another cliche, but whatever. Ask yourself “is this worth stressing over? will this really matter next week, tomorrow, or even in 4 hours?” Honestly. Like we dont have enough worries in life already, you kind of have to prioritize them. I would say not being able to pay your rent is a pretty legitimate stress, and should pull rank over spending time stressing and being upset over whether or not it is going to rain tomorrow when you have a picnic planned, or that you’re not going to get all your laundry done. You just gotta learn to let some things go, you will feel better – honestly.
- Have “you time”
Everyone handles stress differently, some people have to talk it out, and some people just need to take a breather. Usually, at some point, I need a breather. When things are crazy, I need to do something that is going to make me feel semi-normal. Usually for me this involves veggin’ out. I will plan a Saturday where I have no obligations and I can literally sit around in pajamas and watch sitcoms and drink wine. For some reason that makes me feel normal, even if it is short lived, sometimes it is just the refresher I need to clear my mind.
- Exert energy
Most times when I’m stressed it goes hand in hand with frustration. At least at some point. So to get over that it helps me to get energy out. I have some of the best workouts when I’m stressed because of it. It’s like I push myself extra hard.
And of course it doesnt even have to be exercising – stuff like active hobbies helps. In Alaska we rode 4-wheelers (“ATVs”) a lot and that was something I would do too. Bike riding, jet skiing, anything really – I guess just something that helps get my mind off of stuff and uses some energy up to get the frustration and anxiousness out.
I think sex fits into this category too. Yes I just said that.
- Dont be a whiner
When I’m stressed, I do like to vent… to someone. Usually my good friends or my sister, or Torrance depending what it is. But there is nothing more that I hate than people whining about their woes nonstop and spreading around their negativity. More specifically – this especially applies to social media. I know that everyone has different ways of coping and sometimes you just want someone to listen to you so you can vent, which is fine, but really if that is the case, do that with someone close to you. A bunch of acquaintances on Facebook all up in your biz-nass will most likely backfire on you in the end and possibly even add more stress. I dont feel like that needs more explanation.
- Call in reinforcements
I think sometimes we forget we can ask for help… or at least I do. I have a bad habit of trying to carry the world on my shoulders and take everything on myself. Well most people honestly dont mind helping with stuff. Especially if you are overwhelmed because you have so much to do, even having someone do a small task like picking something up for you at the store that you need helps so much. Or if you have an overwhelming task (i.e. moving) offer up some beer and pizza and ask for some help!
- What are some ways you deal with stress? (Please share!)
- If you are in a relationship, who would you say handles stress better – you or your partner?
- Do you find yourself “sweatin’ the small stuff?”