Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Mind. Body. Soul
As I was petting the cat and chatting to her in that baby voice we tend to take with pets my hunger hit me over the head like a rogue frying pan wielded by a frightened woman fending off an intruder. No warning, no “hey, it’s your stomach, and this is your 30 min warning to eat before the hunger pains start and the blood sugar drops”. This a BAM! You’re starving and WHAM you have no sugar left in your blood (I exaggerate a little for emphasis, of course). As this was happening the thought (maybe message actually) that sprang into my mind was our physical bodies need attention too yeah?
This is rather important when we start moving into the zones of stress, overwhelm, and eventually exhaustion
Though we are desperately trying to avoid all three if we can… When you’re stressed your body sits in a state of hyper-arousal for extended periods of time. This state was only ever meant to be activated for short periods of time i.e. when we are being chased by a predator and need to get our bootay moving. Times have changed however, and so have the demands on our time and as such, we are finding ourselves in this chronic state of constantly being switched-on. As you can imagine, something that is running at 100% all the time – and not designed to do this – is going to start showing a bit of wear and tear. Makes me think of those machines they use to have in IKEA where they demonstrate how durable their chairs are (the machine mimics someone sitting on the chair over and over and over again). What’s more is that when we are in these states we tend to actually take worse care of ourselves than when healthy. Seems a little counterintuitive right? But it is intact part of the system being out of whack. When you were running away form that predator back in the cave man days it’s not exactly the best time to stop for a snack, rest, and contemplate life. So when you are stressed now, you enter that state but don’t exit as your predator is that project that needs completing, that workshop that needs to launch, that boss that demands 18hr days from you.
So what to do?
Well, prevention is always going to be your #1 go to. Stress cannot always be avoided but you can surely try putting preventative measures in place to try lower the effects stress has on your physical and mental state when it does strike. This is akin to preparing your body and mind to running a marathon essentially. That saying of “strong body, strong mind” isn’t BS. The body and the mind are closely interlinked. Exercising for example allows the release of happy hormones, not to mention tension and monkey-mind syndrome. There’s nothing like a good hard run to stop that brain chatter. Now in saying this, don’t think “oh, I will start exercising and eating right when I start getting stressed”. The higher your fitness, health and wellbeing levels are before you get stressed the lower your stress will be and the easier it will be to sustain the requirements of taking care of yourself will be. Routine is key here. And getting into one before the shiz hits ze fan is going to help sustain you in times of stress.
Now, we definitely need to look at why you are stressed too
I’m always after the “why” of things. It is in understanding them that we gain insight into the reasons we are experiencing what we are. And knowledge is power. Take control. You will always come first and you need to honour yourself by figuring out where your boundaries, limits, values and beliefs lie. Anything or anyone crosses these and you are heading for overwhelm town. Working to your strengths is a beautiful way to also make the best use of your times, not to mention allowing you to actually enjoy what you are doing. Instantly less stress right there. I have a worksheet in my coaching library that gets you to look at your toleration list. It gets you to list down what you are putting up with. We sometimes don’t realise how much time and energy goes out and doesn’t come back in. This in itself is very exhaustion both physically and mentally.
Look after yourself. There is only one you and if you’re doing loads of good in the world then we want you to stay strong to continue. It’s in helping ourselves first that we can then be more helpful to others.