Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Six Letter 'S' Word

You know what I'm talking about. The evil foe that will drag us down, keep us awake at night, follow us every minute of the day. It has the ability turn the happiest, most exciting event into something excruciating. It can wreak havoc on our appetite, and slow us down on our favorite run. It can eat away at us mercilessly. It can take a mental and physical toll.

Stress is not our friend.

Yesterday, the stress that had been building up in me just came to a head. My gym workouts had been extending throughout the day the last few weeks because I've been feeling like I'm carrying around a 50lb weight on my shoulders. Some people may think that being out of work is great - you have all this free time on your hands to do whatever you like, right? Nope. Not really.

The job search.... a death in the family.... a nagging foot injury that keeps me from running.... an apartment search.... a new leadership role with the YPC.... the job search.... wanting to improve this blog.... freelance work.... health issues.... interviews.... the thought of having to move a week after a family vacation.... a foot injury holding me back....

This and more has just been piling up, desperately needing to be released like the lava from the volcano in Iceland. Yesterday I felt like I was suffocating under it all and couldn't take it anymore. I had spent most of the day on the computer inside our apartment. It was gloomy, rainy and humid outside. Truthfully, I felt defeated. By the time Woody got home from work I was completely overwhelmed and exhausted. I just wanted the day to be over, and I hate days like that. We only get a certain number of days in our life, so it's a shame to want to rush through them!

I decided I had to get out and go for a walk, so I put on my shoes, grabbed my iPod and water bottle and left. I went up to Carl Schurz Park along the East River and just sat there, watching the water flow, barges go by, people running along the path, kids playing and dogs running around the dog park. I was listening to an an album by one of my favorite artists - Matt Hales. He writes amazing lyrics and melodies; they instantly eased my mind, a little. 

By the time I got home I knew how to solve one issue. Woody and I talked about it and we decided to get more details about a particular apartment and if there aren't any big surprises, we're going to submit an application. It's not ideal, but the kitchen is pretty amazing and that's rare in this city.

While there are still a lot of things weighing me down, I'm feeling a little better this morning. I had a good walk last night that cleared my mind and a good, hard workout this morning that got me ready for a new day. I usually deal with stress by going for a run or working out. Last night the evening walk listening to beautiful music helped me come to terms with a decision that had to be made. And if I stick to a weekly yoga class, that will also help me manage my stress. Starting now, I'm going to do more to de-stress and not let it build up like it has been. Stress is not going to pull me down!

It's hard to really enjoy life if we're stressed out all the time, and there is plenty to stress about these days, so the trick is finding ways that help you cope with it. How do you manage stress?
workout stats -
25minutes StairMaster
13miles bike
3x10 arm extension
3x10 arm curls
3x10 seated row
3x10 lat pulldown


Running Through Phoenix said...

Kind of like what you decided with the apartment. I just focus on doing the next right thing, do that and repeat. Sometimes we just need a little momentum to get back into a groove. Go get that apartment.

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

Stress is the worst. I break up the work too. Focus on one thing and get it done then move on to the next. I hope the apartment issue is soon resolved.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

you really did have all kinds of things piling up! I really do like to take a walk and listen to a podcast from Louis Haye or anyone inspirational...just hearing it makes me start saying more positives things. Once I can turn my mind around, then I can start to find solutions or ways to handle it all

misszippy said...

It stinks when it all comes at once, doesn't it? But way to turn it around--you have a good plan for it.

Tricia said...

great job working through the stress

Kiesha said...

You DO have your plate full don't ya. That would be hard for me to deal with if I couldn't go on a run so KUDOS to you! When I'm feelin' bogged down I usually need some time to myself. A late night reading a good book at the library, a bike ride, laying on a blanket at a park, etc... Self-reflection and some time away from my Mama duties does wonders to clear the mind. Oh and a cold Dr. Pepper helps. ;)

Rebecca said...

I hope you destress soon! I've been in the same boat lately with injuries, moving, oh needing to find a place to move, oh yeah, trying to find an affordable place to move, looking for a new job. It definitely all adds up. Yoga is usually my key to eliminating stress since I injured my rotator cuff it's been difficult to do. So lately it's been just focusing at the light at the end of the tunnel!

Katie @ Health for the Whole Self said...

You really do have a lot on your plate right now. So glad to hear that you're dealing with it in healthy ways! I admit that I struggle a LOT with coping with stress effectively. I have a tendency to ignore it/bottle it up and then end up exploding over some relatively small thing. When I'm dealing with stress effectively, I manage it through taking energizing walks - like you mentioned - and also yoga, some deep breathing exercises, and making sure I'm carving out enough "self-care" time.

Manda K said...

Sounds like a lot to be dealing with! I destress by swimming or kayaking - neither sport can I take an iPod etc, and if swimming I can usually get a lane (and on rare occasions a whole pool) to myself, kayaking is similar especially on weekdays. No one else out there, just get into a rhythm and focus on stroke and scenery. Also by trying to create some eustress (positive stress) to counteract the negative.

Lindsay @ said...

I like how you took a walk to organize your thoughts and knew you needed to get down on the apartment info to lift some of the stress off of you. It does seem that stress comes in huge waves, but it also seems like things start falling into place the same way. Walking is really effective when I'm stressed. Sometimes the quiet solitude is just what I need.

Morgan said...

A blog friend I'd lost touch with wrote to me yesterday asking why we had lost touch and if it was something she'd said and I just unloaded... how stressed I'd been over the last few months with everything; the marathon followed immediately with my grandma dying followed by the roommate situation that turned into the I have to move situation that turned into a make every moment with my friends count situation that turned into the adjust to a new life without them or a job situation and my Lankle problems hindering me from blowing off steam while learning to cope with not letting my pride hurt my relationship when it came to money matters while dealing with living with my boyfriend, a first not only in life period but also of a solely exclusive long distance relationship turned daily life with him... all of it was so much to handle and all on top of each other that I felt like I was suffocating. I put on the happiest face I could on the blog because I don't like people to see me down but not having a job left me an emotional mess. I cried every day. You don't want that free time to do what ever you want. You WANT TO WORK. You want to complain about the hassle it is to commute, you want to complain about your boss and coworkers... because it means you're apart of it and not floundering on the outskirts of life waiting to be let in. I will pray for you to find something soon and for the leg to heal quick. Try to keep your head up and know that everything happens for a reason and god does not give us more than we can not handle. Stay strong and tell Woody to hold you tighter so the storm doesn't blow your spirits away.

The Laminator said...

Yes, the grass is always always always greener on the other side. When you don't have work, you want work. When you have work, then you think people who are not as busy have the best life. It's a never ending cycle which is why I think we have to find happiness in what we do and where we are no matter what. Some stress is always going to be there but some stress you can get rid of so the trick is to work on what you can control but not what you can't. This is of course harder said than done. Be good to yourself in whatever way you can!