If there is anything that I am concerned about and can't do anything, I pray. I try not to take it back and worry when it is out of my control. I distract myself with reading a book, watching tv, walking on my treadmill even if I already got in my 90 minutes already. I go on Sparkpeople and look for stories that encourage me and I encourage others on my Sparkteams. I take the focus off me and put it on someone else. And when I fail and overeat, I start all over again with the next meal. Instead of the next day or the next week like I had done years before.
Stress is a near constant in my life, but its been at near critical levels for the last 2 years (going through a divorce, living on an extremely restricted budget, having extra jobs dumped on me because I am a 'do-er', etc). My go-to stress fighters: 1. weight training. something about pushing heavy weights calms my racing mind. 2. get back to nature. Go somewhere green weekly or more. breathing fresh air and hearing the sounds of nature is soothing in a way nothing else can be. this is a bigger deal than I think most people give credit 3. sun therapy. If I get in above, this is usually taken care of- but in a pinch, I go outside with as much skin exposed as is weather appropriate and get at least 20 minutes of sun daily or every-other day minimally. 4. puppy therapy. I don't have mine anymore, so I visit the neighbor's when necessary. things get put into perspective when you get to play with a dog (or a cat, if that's your thing) 5. yoga. I only get there two or three times a month, but again, necessary to keep in balance and quiet the mind. 6. 5 minutes of me time devoted to writing down 3 things I am grateful for every day. Too often we focus on the negative and this helps balance in some positive in your life.
Fitness Minutes: (21,210)
552 9/26/12 3:52 P
Your body will handle stress better when it's healthy.
I agree with prayer as RNEELY0923 posted below. The Serenity prayer is best here (google it and you will find it).
I, too, have the urge to reach for the quick fix food for a quick burst of energy - candy, processed foods, the unhealthier carbs and unhealthier fats - and then I crash afterward.
Find a way to take a walk during work (5 minutes up and down the stairwell, a fast walk around the parking lot, a quiet picnic bench to breathe deeply for 5 minutes) to get yourself away from it for a little bit.
Don't let your job kill you. It's so easy to treat ourselves poorly because of the stress. But to handle the stress we have to be good to ourselves, and that means nutrition, moderate exercise, and writing about the stress as an outlet! (love those blogs!)
Fitness Minutes: (380)
2 9/26/12 2:47 P
My first and foremost reaction is prayer and just a "talk" session with God. I do my best to leave the problem with Him. I will do what I can to keep busy. Walking and praising God for all the good things that I have in my life. Some bible time and journaling helps me too. It is hard at first to not fall back into the old habits of eating the sweets to try and soothe the emotions. Keep plugging away at it try and keep the thoughts positive and it will come!
Fitness Minutes: (125,220)
8,605 9/26/12 1:49 P
For years I overate. Now I try to breath deeply, relax my muscles, think things through. A relaxing bath helps. Sometimes hot tea. Sparking here on SP sometimes helps. And sometimes I still resort to food, although I've now kept off 80+ pounds for more than 3 and a half years, so I can't do it too often.
Here's is what I think. There is so much random stuff in life that we cannot control that we have to take control of what we can. We can control what we eat, what we do to relax, what we read, who we vote for and so on. Take control of what you can. Exercise is great for endorphins too. I used to hate it but now it is empowering. It also helps to have a great friend or two!!
Fitness Minutes: (11,679)
287 9/26/12 12:17 P
I find exercise extremely helpful for dealing with stress. I've read (probably on sparkpeople!) that when people exercise, it helps them handle stress better when it happens, as opposed to ONLY helping after you exercise to deal with a stressor.
Fitness Minutes: (0)
24 9/26/12 10:09 A
Thanks for your post. It is exactly what I needed to read. I will try using some of your tricks because I certainly need them. Thanks and have a great day - without any stress.
Fitness Minutes: (51,134)
1,183 9/26/12 9:58 A
I exercise. If I'm still stressed out, I'll write in order to get it out of my system.
Sometimes I handle things well; others not so much. Lately, it's been stressful at work, and I've tried to remain focused on being healthy and continuing with my exercising, so that I don't fall into a pit of despair and discouragement.
I wish you well, and hope that you can find a solution that works for you. There have been some great suggestions so far.
Fitness Minutes: (930)
26 9/26/12 8:45 A
Working out, journaling, deep breathing, meditation. They say that learning to control your mind can be really helpful. It does not make the pain go away but it can ease the anxiety and help you manage. And it ain't easy.
I agree with the previous poster asking whether you might be suffering from depression...it might be worth looking into.
Stress busting---it's going to be different for everyone, so you'll have to dive in and try different ideas to see what works for you. Personally, a tough workout where I focus on what I'm doing and maxing it out will usually get my head on straight, especially if I'm irritated at someone or a situation. If I'm overburdened with problems, I find that it helps if I take a long walk and focus on separating the things I'm worrying about into 2 piles.....things I can do something about, and those I cannot. Then I try to come up with some small steps I can take that will help me make progress on those things I can control.
I used to work at a CPA firm and every year during tax time my hubby would mention at some point that I was getting crabby. That was my cue to start using a mental trick that I've found useful over the years. When you get into your car and are pulling out of the parking lot, picture in your head that you're putting all of the day's trouble and BS into a plastic trash bag. Tie it shut, and at the midpoint in your drive, mentally throw it out the window and then "watch it" in your rearview mirror as it bounces off to the shoulder and then stops. You can always pick it up tomorrow morning on your way in, because no one else is going to want it but you!!!
I'd also really look at what you do during your typical work day. Are you doing work that should be delegated down the chain to someone else? Are you allowing others to siphon their work onto you, or are you "covering" for someone who's not handling their job well? Are you allowing any time wasters to creep into your day, or do you have procrastinators around you who cause last minute crises all the time? While you may not be able to solve every issue, at least you'll be aware of the source.
Life's too short to expose yourself to that for too long....do you love the job that much?
I appreciate this topic of dealing with stress. It can be tough to cope sometimes.
My stress busters are jogging and quiet time in prayer. Sometimes they both come together, sometimes not. Church on Sunday mornings is a quiet time I cherish. It helps me get and stay focused on what is important, relationships, the rest of the week.
At age 16 I decided not to drink alcohol. Never liked the taste, nor what it did to my thinking, nor the calories I never needed. It helps me to drink water, tea or juice instead of alcohol.
Another trick is to consider the long range goals. I ask myself if this __________(fill in the blank) will matter when I am 80 years old. What do I want to look back on during my life?
Learn to be grateful and thankful for positives in your life. I do not really like my work, but I can find enjoyable things about it during every day. Same thing at home. When grumbling, I try to turn it around by finding things for which to be grateful. Example: Don't like washing dishes? Be grateful you had good meals today. Don't like mowing the grass? Be grateful you have a yard and are not in an apartment. Don't like your job? Be grateful there are people around you who care, and that you are part of something bigger than yourself. Are you out of debt? Than be grateful that you are in the top 24% wealthiest in our nation, and the top 3% wealthiest in the world, irregardless of what else you may or may not own.
I hope something here helps someone.
Fitness Minutes: (78,465)
2,953 9/26/12 7:25 A
I don't eat
Fitness Minutes: (21,430)
19,221 9/26/12 7:18 A
not well. I have been under a lot of stress due to my husband's bout of cancer. His recovery is not going well. Taking much longer than it should. I have gained 7lbs in the last 3 or 4 weeks.
Boy can I relate. ... when I have no answer to a problem I eat. I particularly eat a lot when stressed. I have changed number one what I eat. I eat strawberries or healthy choices rather than candy or chips or pretzels. I also recognize the symptoms at this time which I did not before. If I am mindlessly eating and not tasting the food, I realize I am stress eating so I slow it down if not stop it completely. It takes time to relearn the process, but it can be done.
I also find the walks in nature are very relaxing. There's a nice trail by where I work and where I live. Writing out my feelings also helps and calling friends that are funny always gets my mind on different things.
I find being out-of-doors helps a lot, if the weather is decent. I like to putter around in the yard or go for a walk.
Most weeks I can only find time for aerobic exercise on the weekends. I feel so much more relaxed after I exercise for an hour or two. Bike riding is my favorite. It really makes me see the world in a completely different way- almost like when I was a child.
Clutter-clearing helps me. It's hard to get started, but once I do, I can really get on a roll. It feels good to let things go and air things out.
I play with my dogs.
Housework calms me down. Again, it can be hard to get started, but it makes me feel more in control of my emotions when my house is in order.
Reading. I have a lot of interests, and library books are free to read!
Sometimes taking a long bath does the trick.
I am so broke and the above things don't cost much, if anything.
I am 51 years old and I have always suffered severe anxiety. It has only been in recent weeks and for reasons I don't understand that I have started to accept what is without too much worry. Hopefully I can progress to no worry, because something I realize is a truism is that worry is the most unproductive of human emotions. Even though I can rationalize that thought, I find I am simply an irrational being.
Fitness Minutes: (328,932)
111,568 9/25/12 9:10 P
I cook something from scratch or I run. I have found that when I do those two things I am able to lose myself in the activity but, more than that exercise keeps me emotionally balanced if I slip up and get lax in working out I pay for it emotionally.
Fitness Minutes: (40,721)
1,838 9/25/12 7:11 P
Things that I use as stressbuster techniques:
Cook something healthy. Well, if you enjoy cooking -- which I do! I'll find a new recipe and experiment with it, and the act of tinkering in the kitchen tends to help.
Walk somewhere unusual. If you, like me, are a walker, you know that walking a track or a treadmill can get really boring, and it gives you time to dwell on those stressful things. What I do when those things hit is to go walk somewhere that distracts me. My present favorite places are the Puddingstone Dam area in eastern Los Angeles County (which is almost walking-distance from home, although I save the walking for there rather than going there!), and Disneyland (because I'm an annual passholder), but this can be just a nice nature trail, or a walk along the beach if you're near one, or something akin to that. Take a camera, take nice pictures, smell the fresh air, and just let it go.
Visit a pet store. I love furry little critters, and whoever mentioned going and petting the cats at PetSmart is positively right -- I go visit kittens and puppies and adorable little hamsters at pet stores, sometimes the occasional rabbit, and after some animal therapy, I feel a lot better.
Go to a bookstore/video store/other store. Sure, you don't want to indulge in retail therapy, but you can always window-shop for when you do want to spend money.
Swing by here! I tend to find a lot of inspiration just in reading the motivational stuff that tends to bring me up from a funk.
Muscle through it. Yeah, there are going to be those funks that just won't go away. But if you find something and force yourself to put your mind on that topic, and that topic only, it tends to refocus your entire outlook to be away from the stressors.
Laugh. No, really, find something that makes you laugh. It could be something online. It could be a funny show. Etc, etc. But find something, anything, that'll make you laugh.
Fitness Minutes: (16,570)
202 9/25/12 7:11 P
different kinds of stress need different approaches.....when something is frustrating because its not going how it needs to go....take it out on a punching bag.....it wont solve your problems but it will allow you to release your frustration safely and while punching your exercising which will release endorphins allowing your mind to relax...another way is to go for a walk to clear your mind...it gives you a time out from whatever stressful situation you are currently dealing with
Hi Patricia Lynn, It sounds like you're almost a little depressed. It sounds like more than just the job, because it's causing you to tune out of your life by drinking and watching a lot of TV. Distractions aren't really going to be an effective long term solution. The longer you put off dealing with the emotions that your life situation is causing you, the longer the pain will endure. Something else about the job, or your life, is causing you a lot of unhappiness. Otherwise you'd just say, "this job is too stressful, I need to find something else", or "It's really stressful now, but it will get better soon." I'm guessing you might feel a bit "trapped". I know exactly how you feel. I felt exactly the same way about 8 years ago. Two things which I found tremendously helpful were The Sedona Method and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). They changed my mind and emotions, which in turn tranformed my life. I was able to release my negative emotions and begin thinking about my life in a new, more constructive way. I can't recommend them highly enough. I wish you much happiness and success : )
I just lost my mother in July and was extremely tough and still is... I did my usual walking to help but ended up crying the whole way dreading the moment I would get the phone call. I still managed to eat right, even though my body didn't feel like food, but after it was all said and done..... my body still didn't like the stress I put it through, and decided to let me break out in hives.... the hives were so bad the only thing that made them better was a trip to the ER with an epee pen, a dose of steroids and another med, so needless to say, sometimes when you try everything right to avoid stress, your inner body knows that you don't feel right and might zap you with something, like it did me and the HIVES...
Sometimes you just gotta pet the kitty. If you don't have one, most PetSmart stores have an adoption area where you can go in and talk to the cats and pet them through the cages. A cat's purr is the best stress-buster around.
Fitness Minutes: (35,377)
535 9/25/12 3:07 P
I recently left a really stressful job. I did a mental exercise to help me separate my work and home life. As I drove away from work, every time a work thought came to mind, I would tell myself there is nothing I can do about it now, so I will deal with it tomorrow. I wasn't denying it or ignoring it, just acknowledging that I would deal with it at work not at home. If it kept bugging me, I would make myself a note and place it in my car to help me remember to deal with it at work - again, not ignoring it but planning to deal with it in the proper time and place. It took a lot of mental training to make leaving work things at work a habit, but it was worth it.
While at work, can you take 10 minutes for yourself? Leave everything at your desk and just walk away and breathe. If 10 minutes seems too much, start with 5 - there are few things in this life that can't wait 5 minutes.
Can you throw a stress ball at a wall while at work? Think of the great arms you'll develop :)
Fitness Minutes: (221,990)
21,711 9/25/12 12:24 P
If you're under an unusual amount of stress, now IS the most important time to take care of your body. Stress can break down a person's immune system. Try your best to eat healthy foods that nourish your body. Eating well really will help you feel better. If you eat crap, you're going to feel like crap.
What do I do when I'm under stress (and I've had more than my own issues with stress and anxiety recently), I take a walk. Walking is not only great cardiovascular exercise, it's a great way to reduce stress. Get out of the house. The fresh air will do you some good.
Now, I do take yoga. Yoga can help a person reduce stress. I find the deep breathing exercises extremely helpful. I've also learned a little meditation. However, that does take time. No one ever learned how to meditate overnight. But, you might try taking a yoga class if you have time and a little extra money.
Do you like tea ? Try sitting down to a nice up of herbal tea. Try to avoid the caffeinated drinks. Caffeine can leave us "edgy". that's the last thing we need when we're already under stress. Try slowly sipping some herbal tea.
I also find a good workout helps reduce my stress too. I know you may not feel like hitting the gym, but a good sweat might be what you need.
What else could you do ? Do some volunteer work. volunteer at an elder care facility. Go to your local church and help out at the church. Nothing helps a person feel better about themselves than doing something for someone else. volunteering is another way to keep yourself busy so that you aren't constantly thinking about your troubles.
My mom is critically ill; I just lost my dad in the last six months AND I am trying to lose 18 lbs. I have been drinking too much wine and eating too much crap. Any ideas or meditations or anything? I am at wit's end. I think I may take a break and just let go of my diet for a while; but tradtionally stress eating leads to weight gain and depression.
My job is unnecessarily stressful. While what we're doing is supporting a bunch of people by keeping them employed, it's largely my responsibility to make sure that our product runs well and brings in enough revenue to continue to support the team.
Unfortunately, the stress really takes a toll on me - I don't eat as well, I don't take care of myself, I'm harder on myself than I should be, I don't work out as much, and I hardly sleep. The things I find enjoyment in lose their appeal and I'll do anything I can to numb myself and decrease the stress. Usually, this means a glass or two of wine and some bad television...and maybe a bag of cookies.
Lately, I've noticed even more how much the stress affects me and have really tried to build a barrier between me and the work. I haven't "checked out" by any means - I'm probably even more dedicated and focused than I've ever been, but I'm not living the work. I'm not letting the things at work affect me, my health, my relationships, or my happiness...or...at least I'm trying not to.
It's difficult to keep distance between the work and yourself sometimes, especially when the product is going through a challenging time and there's a lot of pressure, but I really believe it's critical to preventing burnout or major health problems. Hell, I've had a headache since last Wednesday.
How do you separate yourself from the emotional side of stress? What are your coping strategies? How do you "let go" so it doesn't eat you alive?
SparkPeople, SparkCoach, SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkDiet, SparkAmerica, SparkRecipes, DailySpark, and other marks are trademarks of SparkPeople, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SPARKPEOPLE is a registered trademark of SparkPeople, Inc. in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia. All rights reserved.