According to this questionnaire, getting married is the 7th biggest stressor in life (behind death and jail terms).
When I was getting ready for my first acupuncture appointment last week, I went back over my calendar for the past two years and recorded the number of days for each of my menstrual cycles. I'm worried about the extended length and irregularity of my cycles. As I flipped through my calendar, I quickly saw a pattern related to the number of events on my calendar and the number of days in my cycle. In other words, there seems to be a correlation between stress and my irregular periods.
Most of my cycles are in the 30-40 day range. But guess how many days it was between periods when I was getting married, buying a new house, starting a new job, and moving to a new state?
Have you made your guess already?
108 days. Seriously. More than a hundred days. Egad.
And that was after we made every attempt to plan a wedding that was as stress-free as possible.
Analyzing the literal connection between stress in my life and my health and wellness has given me a renewed sense of commitment to reduce stress in my life.
I know I talk a lot about stress, but this time it's different. This time, I literally see the impact of stress on my body. I'm seriously trying to figure out how to significantly reduce my stress levels.
My primary strategies are:
- Analyze why I invite stress into my life by stretching myself too thin.
- Breathe more deeply (all the way into my abdomen).
- Exercise regularly (at least 3-4 days of running per week).
- Eat better (no caffeine or alcohol, less sugar and flour, more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains).
- Institute a nightly Relaxation Ritual.
Next, I do 15 minutes of yoga with this video.
Finally, I spend the rest of my time reading, watching a movie or TV shows on hulu, or talking with Matt. At 9:30, I go to sleep (so I can get eight hour of sleep before my 5:30am alarm). It wasn't easy to uphold the sanctity of my Relaxation Ritual every night. On Monday, I had to go speak about the Houston Heights Time Bank at the Transition Houston meeting. I also had to finish a consulting deadline. Tuesday I went to a museum preview for educators. Thursday I had a dinner commitment with colleagues. It wasn't easy to prioritize time for myself, but it's a commitment I need to make to myself and my family.