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IT’S THE SMALL THINGS

It was the cat vomit!

Hey, it’s 2022! We have all been dealing with BIG changes and transitions for the last two (is it more?) years. COVID, lock-downs, masks, war, political unrest, and a frightening increase in crimes. For the most part, you guys have been doing great! I have seen my clients, friends, and family transition, pivot, and regroup to accomplish some amazing feats in the last couple of years. 

But lately-have you thought that things feel…different?

I’m seeing that people are feeling frazzled, more agitated, and constantly on edge. I know that I sure feel that way. We are a stressed society. That we recognize and acknowledge that we feel stress and anxiety is important. The more you deny it, the greater chance that it will negatively affect you in the future.

It’s the little things that finally push us over the ledge:

We are cut off in traffic.

A friend cancels plans with us twice in one week.

The dishwasher broke and no one can come out to repair it for a week.

You find cat vomit on your new rug. You find your neighbor’s dog poop in your yard.

You’ve got the picture.

How do we handle this ongoing stress?

First of all, allow yourself to be human. Stress is a human emotion. Anxiety is a human emotion. (Stress and anxiety become problems for us when our lives are significantly impacted by stress or anxiety).  Today we are talking about normal everyday stress.

Did you know that you are equipped to naturally deal with stress? Feeling the need to be physically active, crying, and ventilating are all your body’s ways of helping you to de-stress. Recognize this as a perfectly normal and healthy reaction for you under stress.

Allow yourself to be human. Allow yourself to feel sadness. Talk to a friend, take a walk, meditate, anything that relaxes you.

Tal-Ben-Shahar refers to these actions as micro-level recovery exercises. 

Playing with my cats, walking out in nature, and listening to The Beach Boys are on my micro-level recovery exercise list.

He goes on to say that stress itself isn’t the problem. Big problems occur when we don’t allow our stress or anxiety “muscles”  to recover. That makes perfect sense!

When you work out, you normally don’t train your biceps every single day. No, you have rest days. Your stress needs rest days too. You can do this by engaging in “multi-level” stress reduction. We have already described the micro-level. Let’s look at two more levels.

Mid-level recovery might be taking a day or two off from work or going away for a weekend. It might look like sleeping in over the weekend and staying in and having quiet time. 

Macro-level recovery could be taking a long ( at least two week) vacation. It might be eliminating a relationship that no longer serves you. 

In summary, we are human and we experience human emotions. It’s when we don’t have a respite from stress that we burnout, breakdown, and meltdown. 

Get started! Make a list of multi-level recovery exercises to manage and keep your stress in check.

Remember, it’s often an accumulation of both the bigger, in-your-face stressors and little aggravating annoyances that cause us to take notice of anxiety and feel out of control.

AND it’s also the small things that can help us maintain a level of optimal functioning until we can take a two-week vacation!

Want to talk to a coach about how to develop a stress management program that works?  Give me a holler and we will work together to help you navigate the changing world in which we live.