When You're Feeling Drowned in Stressed
"Some days you will feel like the ocean, some days you will feel like you are drowning in it" - Lora Mathis
If you follow my social media, you may have heard the news. I got a second job! I will be doing behavioral education workshops for Kaiser part time. Im also still employed full time at my county job too. Surprisingly, I am not feeling as stressed out as I thought I would feel. It's only been one week though so I guess I should wait and see how I feel once the new job excitement wears off. Ive gotten a lot of questions from people who are worried about how I am going to balance working two jobs while also having so many other responsibilities. I mean, Im also a mom, I have 2 dogs, a home to keep up, a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel, and a couple of other things. Am I crazy? Sometimes I feel like I am but for high achievers like me, its really difficult to relax. It sort of becomes part of our identity to just always be working or doing something. On my days off, I found it really hard to sit down and do nothing. I would begin to feel anxious and like I "should" be doing something.
I was reading a little bit about this and found that survivors of trauma tend to remain hyper alert due to having to use this as a way to protect ourselves at some point. As a reminder, when thinking of trauma, remember that it can range from being something huge like a natural disaster, to parental neglect for example. Trauma is experienced differently by everyone and there is no one experience to define it. Then there is complex trauma, which is experiencing multiple traumatic events that pile up over time. So as a child who experienced neglect, physical/ emotional abuse, parentification, I've grown up to be an adult in a constant state of mild fight or flight. Im a hyper perfectionist with a need to be in control. I have the urge to constantly be productive. It's also an avoidant coping mechanism to just constantly be busy. This can be a good thing (for me) but also a bad thing. I tend to take on a lot of things at once which can cause me to feel stressed at times. But I'd rather be stressed than bored?
Let's Talk About Stress
Feeling stressed can be a response to situations that we feel that we have no control over. Like having too many things in your plate that makes it feel unmanageable. A healthy amount of stress if normal. It can serve as a motivator to meet a deadline or keep ourselves safe in some situations. This is known as acute stress. Meaning, that it lasts for a very short amount of time and then your body returns to normal. Chronic stress is one that happens for a longer period of time. For example, if you are constantly worried about making ends meet every month or if you're in a relationship where you are constantly fighting. These are situations that last longer and can occur more often. Living in chronic stress, can affect so many different areas of your life. You can develop insomnia, changes in weight, headaches, high blood pressure, digestive problems, panic attacks, feeling emotionally drained, etc. Again, everyone responds differently. I know when I'm feeling stressed, I get an upset stomach and mini panic attacks. Sometimes, I will literally feel like vomiting.
Im a hyper perfectionist with a need to be in control. I have the urge to constantly be productive
You are human and feeling stressed is norma. If you are feeling stressed our or overwhelmed, make a list of the different situations that are making you feel this way. From that list, what are things that are unchangeable at this moment and what are things that ARE changeable. Remember, you cannot change another person or their behaviors. Trying to do that will only stress you out more. Dont put that responsibility on yourself. You are only in charge and in control of yourself. What are some things that you can change or practice to help reduce the feeling of stress? Maybe you need to figure out ways to practice better time management. Get organized with a planner, schedule, lists, whatever works for you. Or maybe you need to have some more physical activity in your day. You can take small steps like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, stretching for 5 minutes everyday, etc. Eat healthier, spend time outside, get some sun, talk to a friend, and practice breathing. Lastly, if it feels like you need additional support, you can get some mental health therapy or coaching to work with someone on these issues.
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