When To Know If Something is Bothering You and How To Tame The Stress

When To Know If Something Is Bothering You
And How To Tame The Stress
By: Robin-Louise Burkitt

           Here it is the end of the first week of the new year and as I sit here on this great comfortable bed of mine snuggling up under my fleece blanket and making sure the pillows are just smooshed enough to cradle my back and my neck, I am pondering on all the trials and tribulations of my past defeats and becoming frantic on what the future holds and what needs to be done so the past does not come back to haunt me in the end.  It's pretty overwhelming if you ask me.  I was asked yesterday, by someone at work, how my Christmas vacation was.  I replied by saying, "Very relaxing!  I read!".  The God's honest truth of the matter is it really was a bold face lie.  (Why in the world do people ask you how you are when they don't want to hear the truth is beyond me.)  I have counted about 10 nights in a row where I have had nightmares or extremely weird/vivid dreams and then waking up right away.  My body might rest but my mind keeps on going,  The off button is apparently broken or missing.  I don't know what is causing me to dream like this.  I don't know what is bothering me.  Is it starting a new job and trying to make a great impression, worried about being judged, afraid that someone won't hear my story, knowing that I will be the only person in my household bringing in a paycheck, afraid of people taking advantage of my vulnerability (after all, I am an artist and we are supposed to be sensitive as well as creative)?  I don't know.  All I know is that I am so darn tired and I am running on exhaust.  I might go to bed early and get a full 8 hours in but that doesn't mean I am fully rested.  What can a person, who is so stressed out that they are going into panic mode, do and how can they tell what is causing them to feel this way?  I don't mean to get rid of stress because life is nothing but stress.  There is good stress and bad stress.  You can't really spend all your time trying to figure out what is wrong.  There is a multitude of things that could be the cause of the stress (or the stressor).  The trick is how to cope with the stress and when to say "Stop" or "No".  People might hate you for it but you are living for yourself not other people.  You're no good to people if you end up sick.  You can't be there for others if you are not there for yourself first.
            The other day I had found a list that I had made a while ago on how to eliminate stress, or better still, how to compartmentalize the day to day stresses.  I would like to share my list to my readers, especially those who are going through a rough patch:
1.  Keep a stress journal:
     - state date and time of when you are experiencing a stressful moment. 
     - write a description of what is happening during that stressful moment. 
     - what are your physical symptoms when you are stressed (i.e. racing heart, palpitations, cold sweats, headache, nausea or any stomach upset, nervous jitters, light headedness.....)
     - what was said or done.....how you reacted. 
     - rate it: 1(not very intense) - 5(very intense)
2.  Make a list of any triggers that might have set off that nervous upset. 
    - how many times in one week has it occurred and how much energy was lost due to it. 
    - rate it: 1(not very intense) - 5(very intense)
3.  Make a list of important tasks (prioritize) and follow through on the list and check it off when accomplished. 
    - use a day planner
    - throw away non-important paper to help eliminate any of the material clutter which might help with the emotional clutter. 
4.  Eat 3 balanced meals and a small snack in between each meal. 
    - go to bed early and get about 8-9 hours of sleep in. 
    - take a walk.  I like to take a walk early in the morning when the air is crisp and the world is some what asleep. 
5.  Turn off phone and computer when at home except during scheduled times *Try to leave a designated time for family/relaxation time*
6.  Read a mindless book, preferably a boring book where you can fall asleep to.  Write in a journal.  Get inspired to write a poem or a short story.  Listen to classical music, or nature music. 
7.  Indulge in some relaxing activities/crafts where you can escape to so you can wind down. 
8.  If at all possible take a midday nap.  Soak up in a nice hot bath. 
9.  Talk to/correspond back and forth with a close confidant with whom you trust dearly. 

    So, there you have it.  During this next week, I am going to give this list a try and will report back with the results.  I am in hopes that the bad dreams stay at bay and that I can actually get some good quality sleep here.  


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