Boy, oh boy, it’s been a crazy couple of months. Three wakes, a funeral, Dad in and out of the hospital every month, navigating family dynamics around that, diving into round two of downsizing in preparation for a move, facing the sadness of leaving dear friends, emotionally preparing to get used to a new community, taking a crash course on the ins and out of planning for and building a tiny house, and wrapping my head around what it will take to live life on the road for a stretch of time. Oh, all while managing my coaching practice.
Phew! No wonder I’m feeling stressed.
I compartmentalize really well. I tuck each obstacle into its own little box in my mind and take things one at a time.
Sounds ideal, right?
But what happens when you run out of compartments? When your mental clutter runneth over, not so much with projects or tasks, but with the emotions that you’re ignoring as you tend to the to-do list?
My default has always been to shut my emotions down with food. When I feel them surfacing, I give Little Kerri a “treat” to silence her fear, pain, or sadness. However, I’ve learned over the last few years that ice cream is far from a treat — it’s more like duct tape over her mouth, telling her that I don’t want to hear it; that her feelings don’t matter. All that does is make her get louder to get my attention.
This is the first time big stressors have come at me at once since I started my heath journey. I thought I had that emotional eating thing handled. Not so much. Well, I do when things are calm or just mildly tense. This is a whole other level.
So, I’m trying to explore the tools I have in my stress-management toolbox, and dig past the cookies, cupcakes, and chips to see what else is in there.
Here are some things I’ve come up with:
- Lean on a supportive and loving friend or family member
- Write in my journal
- Spend time in nature
To be sure I incorporate some of those practices into my day, I’ve set reminders on my phone and made a promise to myself that I’ll stop what I’m doing and take the suggestion that shows up on the screen. For example, one says: “Pause and meditate for five minutes.” Another says “Spend 10 minutes emptying your brain into your journal.”
I set the reminders to go off during times when I know I’d be able to accept the challenge.
I also have the reminders app send me loving messages throughout the day. In fact, as I’m writing this newsletter, my phone chimed with the note, “Everything is working out just as it should.”
Here’s your Action Steps for the week:
- Make a list of five things you can do to help manage your stress level.
- Check your calendar and pick a time where you can do one of the things on your list.
- Comment below and share how you manage stress, including what tools are in your toolbox.
Until next week, keep taking those steps to Live Out Loud!