The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Feeling a little...anxious

Though I've been dealing with a bit of anxiety in my own life the last few days, as has Highlander, a good friend has been dealing with a much more significant bout of it. And I've got to say I'm more than a little worried.

As the best I can do, long distance, is to shake my virtual finger and say "Slow down and take a deep breath!", I wanted to not only do so, but to give all of us a few reminders about the benefits of reducing stress.

My blood pressure doctor would be proud. He might give me my very own sphygmomanometer!

Okay, so the world is biting your ass. Worse, it's not even one chunk at a time, it's coming in waves of multiples. Your head is spinning as the worry defeats any efforts your brain makes to focus on tackling one foe problem at a time. Where will this lead?

Why it will lead to you taking blood pressure meds, of course. They will help the throbulating headache that feels as though the top of your cranial area will be hoisted skyward in 3...2...1...

Once you've gotten your brain back on your team, you will be better capable of surviving the onslaught. Let me suggest a few helpful tips:

1) Don't ignore signs of physical discomfort. Yes, you have 4,396,812 things on your plate. Yes, 4,396,810 of them are critical. Yes, you can live with that tingly arm thing while you deal with the screaming child beating you with the tire iron as you change the flat in the middle of rush hour traffic when you're late to family court where you will be asking the judge to intercede with an ex, and then rush by the office for a meeting with your boss about the financial ruin of his company. Because if you do live with that tingly arm thing while you're dealing with...all the stuff...you may not be doing it for long.

What I'll suggest, and I'm no doctor and I don't even play one on tv, is to resolve the health-related issues first and to do so as quickly as possible. You are going to be in a much better frame of mind to tackle the other issues, if you are not dealing with discomfort (which will only INCREASE your anxiety).

If you need your pain killer of choice (and by that I mean aspirin, ibuprofin, etc.), take it. If you need to see a doctor, DO IT! And follow your doctor's orders when you do.

2) Along with taking care of the physical, I want to include sleeping. I, most assuredly, understand the difficulties one experiences with sleeping when stress is eating at you. However, it is a most vicious cycle as the less sleep you get, the higher your anxiety level will creep. You will be less able to deal with the problems causing you to lose sleep, if you don't figure out a way to get some sleep. Terribly, painfully ironic, I know.

Try a glass of warm milk. Try soothing music. Try a lavender bubble bath. Try a really good massage (you'll need a buddy for that one). Try boring tv. Cycle your brain into some downtime, so that you can be recharged for the next round.

3) Avoid caffeine. I know. I know. You aren't sleeping well. You NEED caffeine to function. Uh uh. Figure out another plan. Break the cycle.

Caffeine has so many undesirable health side-effects, not the least of which is making us jumpy. When you are dealing with stress, caffeine is not going to be your friend. It also will confound efforts you are making with getting more sleep.

Might I suggest greatly increasing your intake of H2O instead? Water will help flush the toxins out and make you feel more invigorated.

4) And now that you're drinking a little more healthy, give your body a little more help, by eating better. Everybody knows that fish is brain food. If you're stressing out, help your brain - eat a fish.

Even if you don't eat seafood, try to avoid junk food. I realize when you're stressing, you crave the quick fix...the comfort...the simplicity. But, try to go for nutrition instead. If you are not giving your body the fuel it needs, and are hyping it up on caffeine, and aren't sleeping, you cannot expect the support you need as you work through the curve balls life is slinging your way in rapid-fire succession. Plus, I've always found it helpful to accomplish the things I can accomplish. It helps motivate me to accomplish more.

5) So, you've got your body on board. Great. Suit up, 'cause now the battle begins.

You've got all of these stressful issues that you are trying to work through. And while you'd love to take them one at a time, it's just not working out that way. My advice? Do what you can. Deal with what you can, effectively, deal with on each issue. Things you cannot control...things that will not make a difference...let them go. Fix the things you can fix.

As you can start marking things off your list entirely, it will allow you to focus more time and energies on the tougher issues (enlisting help or spending more time/effort on research or job searching).

That also means you have to "allow yourself" to accept that you cannot fix everything. Sometimes, that's very hard to do. Do it anyway. It's worth it. It's worth it in the short term, as it will help you work through things. And it's worth it in the long term, as the strain to your health for NOT doing it isn't going to do you any favors.

6) Ask for help. Seems simple, doesn't it? This is the hardest thing for me. Part of it is that I have a difficult time delegating. I need to keep track of what's going on and I can't seem to do that very well if I'm not "in" it. Part of it is that I don't like feeling like I can't handle things myself. I'm working on it. Heh. Highlander won't LET me not ask for help. But, I know I'm not alone here. I know it's difficult for other people to ask for help when they need it, too. So, I'm telling you. Suck it up.

I feel so good when I help people. Most of my regulars are the same way. It gives me the sweetest, most selfish feeling, to know that I've made a difference (however minor) in someone's life. My darling suggested to me, some time back, that, knowing how it makes me feel, why would I deny other people...people I care for...to experience that same wonderful feeling. That was pretty tricky to argue. And, honestly, it was an approach my mind had never taken. And considering how obvious, that's a sad statement for me. But, again, I imagine that I'm not the only one around here who would feel that way.

If things are piling up and you can use the help, ask for it. And, if I can help, please let me know.

7) Sometimes, the help is talking through things. And a licensed therapist can help you come up with techniques to deal with the stress. While the stigma has decreased in the past twenty years, there's still a fairly normal association with people seeing a therapist only if there is something wrong with them.

Most times, you are seeing them for a short period and you get through the rough spots, learn how to deal with future issues, and then move on.

8) Learn what relaxation techniques work for you. Yoga or deep breathing may work for you, but soothing music and a neckrub will do wonders for me. Sometimes it's a long walk, or reading, or taking a drive in the country (though with the price of gas, this one has the potential to add to your stress level). If you need to go to find a quiet place at work that will afford you a few private moments, find it. If you need to find the long way home from work, or stop at the library, do it.

9) Lastly, and this is the very hardest thing for me, make YOU the priority. Make taking care of you, more important than any of the 4,396,812 other things you are juggling. I know that sounds impossible, but I'm serious. Remind yourself that the only way to fix all of these problems is to be around to fix them, if you have to. But, realize that the world is a better place because you are in it. That everything else...all the other problems...will come to some conclusion and life will go on. Life is always going to have the ups and downs, it's just the way it is. Don't lose YOU in the frenzy to take care of all the things that need to be addressed.

Okay, I'm done preaching. I want to say, again, that I'm not the expert. But I believe I'm passing along some good advice, even if it's advice I (far too often) forget to take myself. After reading some of my regulars lately, and having spent some time with a few of you, I know that these are reminders that we all could use.

Now take a deep breath and try to slow down. Will ya? I don't know if I have enough 'mojo' for all of us!

2 Comments:

Blogger Your Girl Friday said...

Very good advice. But of course, easier said than done! I will take it all on board..
Any advice on how to get a pay rise from an intimidating, old, crappy head boss?!?!?

7/12/2006 8:14 PM  
Blogger AaA said...

Show him your boobs?

Alternatively, show ME your boobs!

You won't get a pay increase, but it will make me feel better.

7/15/2006 5:14 PM  

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