Managing Stress.

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I don’t manage stress well. I think everyone in my life knows that. I go into a panic mode, feeling like I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown and could cry at any second. I love this picture above because I think it perfectly depicts my face on a daily basis…you want me to do what now?

Yes, I’m an awesome multitasker and say that proudly, but when it comes to handling stressful situations, I suck. For instance, my daughter’s freak tooth accident, I cried more than she did and was sick to my stomach for days. DAYS!!! But to be fair, it’s really impacted her daily activities from eating (only solids, no sharing of ‘our’ food which she loves doing now) to playing (no toys in her mouth which she also loves mostly because she’s teething). She was also in a good amount of pain which has gotten better, but still broke my heart because there was nothing I could really do.

So, how do you manage stress? Well, I’m definitely the wrong person to ask! I manage stress the way I manage money…I don’t! I have been trying to find healthy outlets for my stress but I usually just end up eating chocolate or chips and having a good amount of wine (lately it’s been my new obsession, hard cider!). While I think it’s important to treat yourself every once in a while, I don’t think making this a daily habit is going to help me in the long run.

After taking some time to think about it, I realize my stress comes from two places: fear and love. I fear the unknown and things I cannot control. I fear life without to-do lists, organization and plans. I am not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants person and never will be. I thrive on order and prioritizing. The second part of my stress is love. The love I have for God, my daughter, my husband, my family and even myself. Sometimes I don’t have enough love in these areas and sometimes I have too much. Sometimes I become needy and insecure, or sometimes I become distant and unsure. While my stresses continue, both are driven by these factors which seem so opposite but really are quite similar.

Both are motivators. We do things out of fear and out of love. They drive to do better, be better and try harder. Both are destructive. We can let fear and love control us. They can cause blind decision making. They can destroy our self confidence and self worth. Both are consuming. We can become so wrapped up in our love or our fears that we lose ourselves. But most importantly, both are feelings that can be controlled. We can control what we chose to fear as well as what and whom we chose to love. While we don’t have the power to control our lives, we do have the power to control our feelings.

I probably stress out about something on a daily basis. Lately, it’s been about 10 things a day. I realize this isn’t a good way to be so I’m working on it. Aren’t we all a work in progress anyway? Currently, the box checked for my stress management is ‘needs improvement’, but I hope in the near future it moves to ‘satisfactory’ and maybe even one day ‘exceeding expectations’!

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