Friday, July 1, 2016

Combating Stress

I am easily in a constant state of fight or flight mentality, every single waking moment (and sometimes while slumbering).  I didn't want to be here, in fact I never even saw it coming, until it smacked me upside the head and knocked me to the ground. Alas, it is my life and I have to find a way to get a grip on my stress.

A normal day for me goes like this:

6AM - Wake up, shower, wake up two teenagers, meditate (a new implementation), make-up, hair
7AM - Wake up my 1st grader, help him start the shower, finish getting ready and make sure he showers and gets ready, make his breakfast, pack his lunch and eat my own breakfast
8:20AM - Drop off my 1st grader to school and head into work
8:45AM - 3PM - Work in the office... which consists of everything and anything, along with my basic duties. Multiple texts from my two teenagers, asking for whatever their hearts are desiring. Fires to be extinguished (figuratively speaking, thank the gods), and so on and so forth.
3:25PM - Pick up my 1st grader from school
3:40 - 6:30PM - Work from home
6:30PM - Make dinner and eat
7:30PM - A variety of things can happen at this time, but usually I spend an hour to three hours working on my writing, book marketing or researching. If I'm burned out, I will watch TV.  I also find 15-30 minutes to work out, during this time, although there are weeks I am not as consistent with this. Before I go to bed, I usually read for 30 minutes to an hour and meditate for at least 10 minutes.  I would read until 3AM, but I no longer have that ability, considering 6AM arrives so damn fast.

Weekends consist of a mixture of events.  I work on my writing, book marketing and researching, but I also clean my house, run errands, work on other projects, yard work, laundry and blah, blah, blah... you get the picture.

This all sounds like typical life, so why am I complaining, you ask? I'm not...


What I AM doing is getting my shit together and finding better ways to deal with my life.

#1 - Mandatory Morning Meditation

To get a grip on my maddening stress, I implemented a mandatory meditation every morning for at least ten minutes. I have to do it. I am on the ledge, staring down at the terrain below and I would prefer to jump with a parachute, instead of free fall to my death.

During my meditation I envision how I would like my day to go. I put all my tasks in order, while calmly taking deep breaths. When I finish my mental daily task list, I spend the last few minutes thinking of the early morning ocean waves or sitting under a tree, high in the mountains after a fresh rain shower, and I allow my body to completely relax and remember who I am and what I truly desire in life.

Just this small change has deeply impacted how my days have gone. Although it remains a work in process, it has assisted me to focus more and has allowed my body the relaxation it requires.

#2 - For the Love of Life, Get Off Your Chair

Anyone who works at a desk and stares at a computer all day, will understand what I mean. When my back is slumped so far that a hump is emerging and my neck is officially turtle contorted, I have to stop what I am doing, stand up and walk away. Whatever it takes, I will find a reason to walk away. Bathroom break, walk around the building break, or finally go speak face-to-face with the co-worker in the next office, instead of picking up my phone and calling them break.

Even better, if you can afford a standing desk, buy one. I am saving up for mine, which will be for my home office and maybe someday I can talk the owner into buying me one for work. Or use a Yoga ball. Those things magically keep you on the straight and narrow.

#3 - Take Deep Breathes

I know, this is what everyone says to do. Because.. TA-DA... it works. When my children are on the verge of doom, I ask them to take a deep breath... or two.  Seeing red soon turns into a pale pink (and no, I'm not talking about my pasty skin). When my life suddenly feels impossibly chaotic and unorganized, I stop what I'm doing, close my eyes and take several deep and long breaths. Whatever that extra oxygen does to my brain, has held me back from saying sentences and words that should never be mentioned out loud... to anyone.

#4 - Work It

I can suck at this part, but when I do stay consistently active, my stress levels decrease and I suddenly feel like I can manage life once again. Usually in the evening I do something. Five minutes is better than nothing, and sometimes that is all I can manage.

#5 - Evening Ritual

I sit against my bed, close my eyes and relax every muscle from my shoulders and up. Then I do neck circles, stretching my neck muscles little by little. I spend 10-15 minutes stretching and massaging my jaw and neck and then another 5-10 minutes meditating and allowing my whole body to let go of the day. The best part of it all, I have been going to bed earlier and waking up feeling more refreshed and ready to conquer the new day.

#6 - Get Over Others Opinions Of Myself

Who cares what everyone else thinks. As long as I am being a decent human, other people's opinions are just that, their opinion. As I've become wiser in my increasing lifespan, I have arrived to a place where others thoughts and opinions of myself, don't mean diddly squat. If you don't like me, don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out of my life. I only want and deserve awesome, motivated and inspiring folks in my life, and if you are not here to add value to my life, then go find someone else to harass... preferably yourself.


#7 - Stop Reading The News And Comments

Do I really need to explain why this is imperative. Just stop. I did, for the most part (although every so often I get sucked back in). You will thank yourself, even when you are completely oblivious to our world's one-sided and half-truth news. People are assholes to each other over the internet. So just stop.

Just my thoughts on the subject. Stress bites. Everyone deserves some solace and peace in their lives and if my solutions assist others, then I say hip-hip-hooray!

#HappyEndOfTheWorkWeek
#StressBites
#LiveFree
#StayAwesome

XXXX - Niki

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