In light of my last post, I’ve re-assessed my life and had a think about my stress-management techniques. And in what better time? World Mental Health Day was on the 10th October, but mental health should be spoken about every day, so I’m posting this on the 16th.
People are always saying to me ‘Felix is such a happy baby because you’re so relaxed with him!’
I am not the cool cucumber I’m appearing to be. Beneath that tough green skin, is watery gunk. I think stress just stresses me out so much, I shut down and appear like nothing’s bothering me at all.
Fortunately for me, Felix is probably the one thing that doesn’t stress me out. He’s far too soft and lovely for that.
Over the past 3 years I’ve really tried to crack down on this (clearly not actually cracked it yet) and have started to learn what works for me when it comes to managing my own stress. For one, I’ve realised a huge problem I have is taking responsibility. Perhaps not the most obvious as I’ve lived alone, I’ve run a dog business, I’m a mum. Though, when it comes to handling my stress and emotions, or timings, decisions, plans etc. I unconsciously take a back seat.
Talking about how I’m feeling, or even acknowledging my emotions is tricky. I’m terribly shut down and even with 30 hours of therapy in my pocket, I still can’t do it. It’s far easier to drown in them.
If I faced my problems and stress straight away, and took responsibility of the next step, It would be much easier to move forward and move past it. But instead, something in me has cut that sense out of my brain and replaced it with self destruction. It obviously makes way more sense to crumble and let someone find you, care for you and take your responsibilities away.
I am the person standing in my own way.
Deep stuff aside, here is my 10 step to-do list for when I notice things are starting to build up. A.K.A maintaining the façade that my sh*t is well and truly together.
Don’t put things off, take them as they come as the small things will build up far quicker than the big ones. Dishwasher needs unloading? Go bloody do it. It takes 5 minutes.
Write down a list of everything that you’ve got to do, what’s stressing you out, and prioritise. Most of the time you’ll realise there isn’t half as much, and it’s completely manageable. In your head everything feels like it needs to be done all at once, but that’s ridiculous. That important phone call can be made and put out of the way, leaving space for the bigger things later.
Get a cup of tea and take a breath. Think about each task individually and not as an entire list.
Have a shower. Before I start anything, I need to clear my head.
You don’t need to do everything in one day. Stress is all-consuming! If you’re running round in a mess, you’ll miss the little moments that put things into perspective.
Reach out to your support system. Everybody needs one, no matter how much you think you can do it on your own.
Ask for help. If it’s them taking the baby for 10 minutes, making you dinner, or listening and rationalising your thoughts. Talking helps.
Don’t go to bed without finishing your tasks, or make a plan to tackle them the next day. Trying to go to sleep with things on your mind will only make tomorrow worse.
Make time for yourself at the end of the day. Now your problems are taken care of, it’s time to take care of you. Feel proud for accomplishing even the smallest of things, or just starting. Starting is the hardest part.
Take responsibility and plan ahead. Don’t avoid things, make excuses, run away or dodge anything. It’s not too late! Everything can be fixed and in time won’t matter. What feels like everything now, will feel like nothing in the future. Remember what’s important, where you’re trying to be and why you’re doing this. Plan ahead, and stop putting pressure on yourself!