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Stress Basics

In journalspace I did a series on stress and what we can do with it, and about it but it was lost when js was lost – however I have my notes  and this evening I have the time to capture some of these hints and tips and prompts and it is useful as a reminder for myself.Tess is the active busy mother of a 3 year old ( MsLizzie) and a 3 month old ( Abigail) as well as a wife to Erik ( aged 38 going on 4) and about to return to work as a paralegal in two weeks and in her last few subjects part time to complete her law degree. In discussions we have had this evening I realise the number of balls she is juggling and we workshopped how to find time for Tess and what she needs and look at what may not fit in her life.  Today she and Amy checked out a gym as she is looking to lose the last 5 kilos of post baby weight.  She has done an amazing job, thus far – after all Abi is only 3 months old, but like her mother being fit and feeling good is important to her.  We were trying to work out where in her busy life she mighjt fit 3 workouts a week. needless to say, we did.  There is a gym in town ( near where both she and I work) where they have pay_as_you_go memberships which I would be happy to attend with her during three lunch breaks a week.  I only manage every morning at the gym because it means noone else is inconvenienced – sleeping anyways!!  and it is just me that gets up and works out and I can tell you right now that I feel and can see the benefits.

Do you always try to be everything for everyone else?

Do you always put their requirements before you own?

Are you always trying to do too many things in too short a time?  In oher words run off our feet all the time – in short never ending, ongoing stress.

Mum and I have decided some things have passed down the maternal line from her to me and me to my girls, so we are looking at discussing these and bringing it all out into the open to break some of the unhealthy aspects of this inheritance.

  1. We ALL overcater.  We are all good cooks and people enjoy what we lay out but we all cook enough to feed half of Sydney AND all panic at the last minute that we have not provided nor cooked enough.
  2. We all spoil those we love indulging their every whim and even their perceived long cherished hopes.  Only rarely does it come back to us and when it does GUESS who understands and does it – we lot.
  3. We all take on responsibility AND perform above and beyond what any other soul on the planet should or would and we consider it nothing
  4. If any of us is ill or seriously hurt, we rally and support to the point it can be off putting for anyone else.
  5. We are loud and all speak plainly what we think and how we feel.
  6. None of us gives les than 150% and then a little more just because…
  7. Some people find us intimidating.
  8. We all have huge personalities

Many of us live under constant stress from deadlines, traffic jams, children having parents, siblings who don’t pull their weight leaving you with all the caring responsibility for aging parents, late trains, missed appoint ments, spiralling debt, fsmily disputes, ( does any of this sound familiar??)

Stress today is almost continuous and its effects on the body can be extreme given that eactions designed to be 5 or 10 minute survive or run turn on and off, stay turned on for hours on end

One step in the right direction would be learning to manage your time effectively.  Take a few minutes every week to PLAN a schedule.  Include everything – even a weekely mean plan and schedule travel time to and from everything and exercise as well.  Schedule “me” time and treat it as if it is an outside appointment.  YOU are important, too.  Allow yourself a little more time with family and friends.  Make sure there is some time every week to do something YOU like, for you.

My formula for dealing with stress is the following:

  1. LOOK AT YOUR LIFE. Honestly. Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly: ARE there stressful factors you can change?  What are they? What can you do?  Is your job too stressful – them maybe you could seriously consider changing it.  Do you have unrealistic expectations?  Ask a friend to help if you can’t answer that simply and honestly.  Can you and do you say NO?  NOT no but, or no because… Just No.  Followed by a smile realising you do not have to explain.  JUST no. Are ou puting yourself under to much pressure to be a superperson( insert man/woman here).   d there anything you can do to change your attitude to life?  Sometimes we may not have a lot of room to change events or what others think or do BUT we always have some choices.  OUR choices.
  2. TEST YOUR STRESS.    How do you know if you are under stress? The list below is the Social Re-adjustment Rating Scale.  This was designed as a predictive tool to assess the likelihood of someone falling victim to stress-related problems but it can also be used as an indicaion of your stress levels.  Total up the scores of the events which have happened to you over ther past year.  If an event has happened more than once add it in the correct number of times.  If you score between 0-149     your stress levels are considered fairly low.  Tis would indicate a 30% chance of developing a stress related condition in the next year.  A score of 150 – 299 gives a 50% chance of stress related condition or illness.  This is the time to take stock and do what you can in areas you are able to control.  If you scored over 300, you have been through quite a year and it is vital you take especially good care of yourself.  Increase self love dramatically. My own score was well over 300 before I got halfway throrugh the list but a month ago I embarked on a fitness program and diet regime to properly nourish myself and I have actiely been saying know and speaking what I think and feel and NOT expecting anyone else to change.   SEE NUMBER 12 CHART BELOW.
  3. LET GO OF ERRORS.  Do you brood over mistakes you have made or tell yourself it is all your fault because you should have done more/ tried harder/ been better?  This stops you moving on and ahead but can leave you with fr4ee floating anxiety about everything and anything.  If you are otehrwise competent it doe not make any sense to brood over past mistakes.  Let go.  Stop beating yourself up.  You have an opportunity to learn something; take the lesson, be grateful for the highlighter showing you what you need and move on.
  4. RECORD SPENDING.  Sick of getting to the end of a pay cycle and having nothing left in your purse?  Help get debt under control by starting to write down everything you buy; petrol, chewing gum, magazines, fares, flowers, coffee – THE LOT!!! This helps you see which of your spending is automatic.  It shows you opportunities to eliminiate or cut back or down or even delay payment ( why collect dry cleaning next day if you won’t need the item for a wek – don;t pay for VIP, just regular.)
  5. STAND TALL.  Posture can have a powerful effect on your mood.  It boosts yor self esteem and makes you look slimmer. Imagine the top of your head is attached to the ceiling by an invisible string and “pull” yourself upwards.  You can feel this stretch from the lower back region of your spine.
  6. GIVE GUILT AWAY.  Guilt is a round about way of saying you don’t like yourself.   When we feel guilty we feel wrong and inefficiant.  Guilt is almost always trigered by low self esteem and goes hand in hand with fear of not being good enough.  Give yourself a break!!  If it helps, make a guilt checklist.  Jot down every time you feel guilty – then cros out EVERYTHING that isn’t actually your fault. Then  you just hav to realise that people won;t reject you if you make a mistake or do something wrong.
  7. TRY A TONIC.  Chinese herbalists say ginger and cardamom are restoratives enlivening metabolism by creating heat and energy.  The following tonic is also recommended when you feel a cold coming on so try it out. Take 5 cinnamon sticks,  2 x 1cm slices of fresh ginger,   half a tsp cardamom seeds, eight of a tsp of whole cloves and 3 cups of water.  Combine all ingredients and simmer until it reduces slightly. Strain and sip hot – adding honey is desired.
  8. EAT LOW GI.  Some carbs are better at boosting metabolism and helping combat stress.  Rye breads, brown rice, lentils, beans and vegetables are “slow” carbs.
  9. MAKE PEACE.  We have all passed through the dark nights of the soul but we are not always taught how to cope with grief, suffering, bereavement betrayal, panic, hardship, terror or loss.  Facing the pain empowers youto open your heart in a way that is new and underscores the deep knowledge that every single moment of life is precious.
  10. GET ENOUGH SLEEP.  Sleep is essential for feeling good and being able to think clearly.  Today the aeverage person sleeps from six and a half to seven hours a night.  Try to think of sleep NOT as wasted time but think of it as real time TO sleep. Sleep physically replenishes youand acknowledges that the orld we experience during each day begins within our mind with our emotional well being.
  11. BE ASSERTIVE.  Unassertive people have a way of taking on other people’s problems.  emind yourself that YOU are responsible for your life and solving your problems.  You need to realise what s yours and what is someone elses.  This will help you NOT get caught in the middle and blamed when friends and family have conflict.  IF you solve others’ problems you are denying them the chance to learn their own lesson.
  12. Life Event Value
    Death of Spouse 100
    Divorce 73
    Marital separation 65
    Jail term 63
    Death of close family member 63
    Personal injury or illness 53
    Marriage 50
    Fired at work 47
    Marital reconciliation 45
    Retirement 45
    Change in health of family member 44
    Pregnancy 40
    Sex difficulties 39
    Gain of new family member 39
    Business readjustment 39
    Change in financial state 38
    Death of close friend 37
    Change to a different line of work 36
    Change in number of arguments with spouse 35
    Mortgage over $40,000 31
    Foreclosure or mortgage or loan 30
    Change in responsibilities at work 29
    Son or daughter leaving home 29
    Trouble with in-laws 29
    Outstanding personal achievement 28
    Spouse begins or stops work 26
    Begin or end school 26
    Change in living conditions 25
    Revision of personal habits 24
    Trouble with boss 23
    Change in work hours or conditions 20
    Change in residence 20
    Change in schools 20
    Change in recreation 19
    Change in church activities 19
    Change in social activities 18
    Mortgage or loan of less than $40,000 17
    Change in number of family get-togethers 15
    Change in sleeping habits 15
    Change in eating habits 15
    Single person living alone *
    Other- describe *

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