Handling stress and anxiety.
Have you ever been in a situation where everything around you seems to be going wrong? It could be just one day where you wake up and nothing goes right, nothing is in your favour ( I recently had such a day and I will tell you all about it shortly). It could also be a prolonged period of time where you have back log both on the job and on personal projects, you are broke, your car broke down and totally stressed out. How do you handle yourself and keep a positive mind or in the least try not to go crazy.
So like I mentioned, I recently felt like I was having a day from hell…. It is what I told a friend who had called me, by the time of the call I had a huge lump in my throat and was on the verge of tears (to be honest I actually cried). My day started as usual with the school time routine of getting the kids ready for school, breakfast was taken as quickly as possible and off we set off to school. Midway the journey, my five year old tells me she is not feeling well and before she could even finish telling me where her discomfort was, she throws up with spillage on her 8 year old sister. Now my 8 year old is a very particular person, she is very neat, organised, and picky, gets easily disgusted and does not like to be late.
So here I was concerned that my younger child was unwell and comforting her, then having to try to reason with my older one to empathise with her sister who did not mean to throw up on her, and to stay calm. I was also worried about dropping one child to school in time, having the younger one seen by the paediatrician, leaving the car at the washing bay and making it to work it time. So I call in late citing some emergency and then because I was running late for school ( my 8 year old hates being late) decide to take a different route thinking it would get me to school faster… big mistake. I had forgotten that there was graduation at the university and traffic was crazy, I got stuck there for a while took few short cuts and phew we were at school. I cleaned up the girls and asked the older one to go to class…… and she says no!! She says she’s too late ( 15 minutes late!!!) and will not go to her class, I tell her that I will explain to her class teacher what happened on our way and everything will be okay but she still said no… she was crying and I was stressed out….. (I think all the hairs on my body were standing). After a while convincing, threatening and pleading she succumbs and I walk her to class, explain to the class teacher and she was very understanding as many people were late that day.
After the drama at school, I took my younger daughter to the paediatric clinic for medical attention, luckily its where my mom works and so I quickly explain to her what happened and leave the girl in her care promising to come pick her later to take her home. I dropped off the car at the washing bay near my work place and I walk the short distance to work at about 10:00am. I checked in on my sick child and mom said she was okay and not to worry, she had been treated, had eaten and had not thrown up again…. Probably she was reacting to something she ate. I settled in to work, grateful that it was all over and I breathed deeply in relief.
At lunch break I decide to go pick the car from the washing bay and bring it to my work parking as I was planning to leave work on time so as to pick both girls quickly. I got to the car and started it but it was not sounding right and a few seconds later it stopped, I tried it again nothing. So I checked around, opened the bonnet and nothing seemed unusual, then the guy who washed suggested to check for engine oil and it was empty! To check under the car , there was a pool of oil undeneath the car and I was seeing the last drops. It seems in my rush to get to school in time I knocked on something that put a hole in the container that holds the oil and as I was driving the oil kept pouring out.
To say I was stressed is an understatement, I was mad at I don’t know who and what, I was angry and panicking. I called hubby ( he was working far away in another town), who called the mechanic and he said he was very busy and could only come fix the car the next day that I find a car carrier to take it to his workshop and that he hoped I hadn’t completely “killed” the engine by repeatedly trying to start the car. Here I was thinking of all the potential costs I would incur, how I was going to pick the girls and go home and about our transportation means (more costs) for the next few days as the car was being fixed. I was even more stressed than I was in the morning. I realised that I could not fix the car then so I talk to the manager at the washing bay to keep my car secure (more costs) and I took the long walk back to the office stressed, anxious, angry and worried all in one…….. And that is how my friend called just to check in and I was ready to burst. Poor friend just came over and offered to help pick my girls and drop us home. That was my so called day from “hell”, I know I can be dramatic sometimes and overstress but I just felt overwhelmed on this day. I am sure some of you have had worse days, I have also had days or periods worse than this one….. maybe I will tell you all about it another time.
Have you ever had a day hen everything seems to be going wrong? how did you manage the stress and anxiety? Feel free to share with me in the comments.
So, while you can’t always control what happens to you, you can control how you respond to it. The point of this post is to share with you tips on how to handle stress and stressful situations so that you do not feel overwhelmed.
Here are some tips for you to practice when feeling stressed or anxious.
- Accept that you cannot control everything. Put the situation in perspective ….. is it as bad as you think?
- Always do your best, that way when things go wrong or you get a result you did not expect, take comfort in knowing that you did your best.
- Always be positive and have a positive mind set. Look for the silver lining. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones, if the negative thoughts persist in your mind speak out loudly until you have a positive outlook. This takes practice, do not entertain negative thoughts and do not give up… always stay positive.
- If you are doing anything stop it and breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply. I like closing my eyes while doing this and visualizing things I want. I breathe in good things (positive) and breathe out bad things (negative).
- Take a step back from the problem to clear your head. You can meditate, listen to relaxing music or if you are like me I take a long walk. The change of environment and air helps me clear my mind and think through the issues. It always works for me.
- Talk to someone….. a friend or a family member, let them know how you are feeling, sometimes just talking about it helps and sometimes they give insight or advice that helps. They say a problem shared is a problem solved. If the stress / anxiety is serious or persists you should seek professional help by talking to a counsellor / therapist / psychiatrist. Just talk to somebody, don’t die with a problem, you are probably not the only one facing that situation.
- There are other lifestyle things you can do to improve your general wellbeing and avoid stress like getting enough sleep, eating a well-balanced diet and having an active life ( exercise).
So there you are, we cannot completely avoid stressful situations but we can improve on how it affects us and how we react.
Feel free to share with me your thoughts on this topic.