If you’ve been reading along for a while now then you know how I feel about stress.
While stress a necessary evil in our society it’s also being understood as the key driving factor that increases inflammation in our bodies thus putting us at risk for every major disease.
Underlying ongoing moderate to high levels of stress will wreak havoc on our metabolism, sleep cycles, hormones, brain function, breathing patterns and overall health. I love this info graph to help illustrate my point.
What’s worse is most of our stress is psychologically driven and SELF-IMPOSED!
Which means we have some degree of control over our stress and how we manage it becomes a critical part of our overall health.
I’m constantly reminded of this correlation between stress and disease. One the my favourite areas to explore with clients is their stress triggers and how that may impact their weight, energy and overall life.
Some questions I usually ask about stress:
– Where do these triggers come from?
– What are your triggers?
– How are they triggered?
– What’s the frequency?
– When do you realize the impact on you, if at all?
Most of the time people aren’t that aware of the connections between HOW they live and the QUALITY of that living. It isn’t until asked the questions and they can reflect on specific situations that connections are made. It’s an amazing realization, one I love witnessing.
My Story on Stress…
For me, this awareness was developed in my early 20’s. I was a few years into my career, second role at a multinational corporation working on developing new products. It was so exciting to be part of a team that was on the cutting edge of all the innovations being brought to market. I just loved it!
Recently having moved out on my own I wanted very much to get ahead of my financial savings. I had tons of energy and also being single had lots of time too!
A thought entered my mind: Wouldn’t it be a great idea to get a second job and earn a little extra income on the side.
Looking back this sounds crazy to do when you don’t HAVE to do this to put food on the table or keep a roof over your head. But nonetheless I did it. The root of my stress at the time was unwarranted money issues.
I got a retail job that allowed for the flexibility of working evenings and weekends. I added 20 hours to my work week without batting an eye!
Some stress helps bring out your best self…
I turned on my hyper organization skills – every Sunday I layed out my clothes for the week and prepped food for all the meals I would be eating out of my home. I made sure all my errands we done on the weekend during my off hours. When I could I threw in a load of laundry. Luckily I lived next to a 24h grocery store and most weeks shopped at midnight. I rarely saw friends and family, if I did I got very little sleep and saw them out of guilt.
Until it all goes south…
After months of this I developed severe headaches and dizziness. I pushed through.
A few weeks later I fell out of bed and held my hand to the wall to avoid falling over as I walked. The dizziness got worse. I ignored it.
A few days later I was so dizzy I drove myself to the Dr and was diagnosed with acute viral vertigo.
My Dr revoked my license and my first request to her was to drive one last time to go tell my bosses and quit my retail job. She rolled her eyes and told me no. It’s time to rest.
I was mandated off work for months trying to regain my inner balance. Having lost the ability to do simple activities like cooking and bathing myself I spent time at home alone. I couldn’t drive or grocery shop because I would fall over. Nor could I workout or go out with friends because I was dizzy all the time. Once it was time to return to work it was a slow re-integration into work and the rest of my life.
Sometimes I just want to push myself towards goals just to test my own boundaries. But that isn’t always what the body can withstand and we need to learn our own metal health and physical boundaries.
Stress and Slowing down. The lesson in it all.
It took several months to get back up to normal speed of life without any dizzy spells. I felt sidelined and missed so many celebrations. My stress levels caused my body to create a scenario to slow me down. Very valuable lessons were learned.
All in all here are the take always related to stress and how slowing down can help:
1) Slowing down is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength and pragmatic approach to success.
2) Slowing down is a strategic move to invest energy into the long haul of goal achievement.
3) Slowing down creates the optimal environment for less stress and more awareness.
4) Slowing down allows us to enjoy the journey without getting hurt.
5) Slowing down let’s us live life instead of life living us.
So…I hope my story brings about some awareness for your own life. Truly learning to slow down is difficult. There are times where I’m constantly reminded of this life lesson and I hope my experiences help you too.
P.S. One of my favorite ways to slow down is finding ways to get every day activities done more efficiently to I can add more fun into my life. Like adopting my Slow Cooker practice. Download the Slow Cooker Queen Recipe Guide FREE.
Everything you say is so true. Thanks for talking about a subject that can never be “stressed” enough (forgive the pun).