A few weeks back, I went through a series of nights where I had very little sleep. My kids and hubby were sick and between nightmares, peeing the bed (not me), coughing fits and having to be up at 5:30, I became super fatigued.
I was driving home from an appointment after 3 nights of this when I suddenly realized that I hadn’t felt the stress response in my body that week. This is how the stress response presents in me: pain and tightness across my mid back, tight and sore neck, tension headache, feeling anxious and feeling like I can’t take a deep breath. Because my central nervous system is sensitized, it doesn’t take much of a stimulus to elicit the stress response in my body so I feel it quite often. Going 3 days without it was a big deal.
I began wondering why I hadn’t felt it for a while and I realized that I was just too tired to be stressed! I literally didn’t have enough energy left to worry or stress about anything. I was rolling with the punches because that is really all I could do. I was letting go of all the little things because I had no energy to address them. Then it hit me how much energy I give up by being in a stressed state. What a waste! Just think about what I could do if I redirected that energy into being creative instead of being stressed.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating being sleep-deprived so you can feel less stressed. In the long run, it is not very healthy. The invitation for me is this; how can I feel less stressed without being a zombie?
I am working on desensitizing my nervous system so that the stress response isn’t triggered so easily. I also started doing yoga again more regularly because I know that I felt calmer and more relaxed in my body after my own 30 day yoga challenge that I did a few months back. I am meditating regularly and connecting with my essence as that is the most peaceful state for me. I am looking at my schedule and simplifying it down to the necessities. Back when I became a mother of two with a toddler and a newborn, the question that really helped me was “Is anyone going to die if I don’t get this done?”. It may sound a little drastic but it really helps give me perspective. I am also voicing all the things that piss me off and make me want to scream before they get to the boiling point where I erupt and spew all over the people around me. And probably the most important thing for me is to be gentle and compassionate with myself. Because our thoughts create our reality, me being judgemental and hard on myself never helps my situation. This experience is yet another reminder for me to practice self-love and acceptance.
Here is my invitation to you should you accept it. Where in your life can you reduce your stress? Is it doing less and being more? Is it shifting your perspective? Is it simplifying? Is it being kinder to yourself? We have the ability to live with less stress in our lives. Are you ready to feel better? I know I am.