Don’t let the stress get you. Do it for the dog.

Do you ever feel like you’re living right on the emotional edge? For the most part, I think I’m a fairly calm person. But since my younger daughter turned 6, I feel like I’ve been just short of “snap” for the past 4 months. Patience? Bite me. I’ve been walking around with a tightness in my chest, and I’m ready to kick the dog. The monotony of life can get a hold of you and control you. I exercise regularly and eat really healthy. But sometimes that doesn’t feel like enough to help cope with that edginess. I even catch myself looking to place blame on my husband or something else external in my life.

Is this human? I believe so. However, I don’t think it’s the way it’s designed or has to be. Isn’t it really about looking within if we’re feeling unhappy or stressed? Now, I’m not saying there we don’t have to deal with stressful stuff, but how we react to it or allow it to affect us is our responsibility. Are there little things we can do to try and improve the affects of stress, monotony, and the human condition? Absolutely.

  1. Own the feeling and blame no one. If you feel a certain way, express it. Don’t indulge but recognize how you’re feeling. Next, do not blame anyone or thing. Own the entire situation
  2. Get involved. If you don’t like the way things are, get involved and be a part of the change and solution.
  3. Move. No, not your address, your butt. Just get out several times a week and sweat and feel your heart pump. That heart beating will remind you that you’re alive. Realizing that you are with the living on a regular basis is a gift. Appreciating life and not just “living it one day to the next” help your perspective.
  4. Change the way you see it. Sometimes it can be almost as easy as shifting your point of view about a circumstance. A screaming baby is healthy enough to cry. Sitting in traffic means not being in an accident. Can you find the good and not dwell on the bad or difficult?
  5. Eat healthy. Food affects your brain, body, and mood. Try to find a way to not go up and down with sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. People, listen to me — food does impact us.
  6. Make time for fun. Dance, laugh, hang with friends, travel, go on an adventure, snuggle with family, take a bath, hike, go for a bike ride, read a great book, enjoy a beautiful meal. Just do stuff whenever you can that is fun. It’s not always about work, school lunches, and folding the laundry. Yes, those things have to get done, but can you squeeze in some fun?
  7. Connect with your spiritual side. (I’m going out on a limb here — people have strong opinions about this topic). God, Buddha, nature — whatever god is for you. Why? This is the essence of life. Plus I often feel like if I’m accountable for my spiritual life, I will continue to keep trying. Trying to do the right thing. Trying to see the positive and the blessings. To have a guide.
  8. Laugh when you think it sucks. You know — when you’re having “one of those days,” and it’s one nutty thing or person after the next. Learn to laugh.
  9. Stretch and breathe. Most of us don’t take 10 deep belly breaths a day. We walk around shallow chest breathing all day long. Deep breaths help your body process stress. When you’re driving in your car, make an effort to take nice deep breaths. Next thing is stretch out your body. We sit in chairs and cars all day long, and we need to stretch out our muscles and joints. It can feel so good. Just do it 5-15 minutes a day on the floor in front of the TV.
  10. Make sure you’re getting enough rest. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture for a reason. Lack of sleep will make you cuckoo.
  11. Don’t be a victim.
  12. This is yours to fill out.

So here’s to the wonderful and challenging journey called life. We will never be perfect, but we can always strive to do better. I don’t want to be a crazy lady who my children roll their eyes at and my dogs run from.

By, Gabby Reece