Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

On Dealing with Stress

I'm pretty sure I've written a post with that title before. When Matt and I were planning our wedding, we were also looking for new jobs, trying to buy our first house, planning a move across the country, and adjusting to life with a new dog.

Although I'm used to stress, my body doesn't handle it well. I can quantify how stressed out I am by the length of time between my periods. When I was in the middle of all the stress listed above, I went 107 days without a period. I still gasp when I think about it. 

When I feel myself getting into a particularly stressful time, I try to counteract the stress with specific strategies. I've been trying to use my strategies the past couple weeks to cope with the stress of miscarriage, traveling, parenting Henry by myself while Matt was traveling for work, and increasing my workload by about 200% in order to prepare for the first day of school (I work part-time as the Director of Operations and Compliance at a new charter school in Austin). Specifically, here's what I'm trying right now:
  1. Exercising More: It's not exactly easy to fit more exercise into an even busier schedule, but it helps me feel so much better. I've started running again. I can feel the stress cascading off of me when I'm out for a run. 
  2. Getting More Organized: Again, it's difficult to be more organized when I'm stressed (staying organized while juggling a thousand things is difficult enough). But the more organized I am, the better I feel. On Friday night, I went to Target and bought a bigger bag for work. I was experiencing frustration and irritation every day from trying to cram too much stuff into a small space. It's crazy how buying a bigger bag or making your bed or putting away laundry brings more external and internal order.
  3. Eating Healthier Food: This one has been so hard! When I'm stressed, I reach for whatever is in front of me (case in point: I ate about 15 slices of banana bread on the first day of school). I've been trying, however, to prioritize making time for healthy choices. I've been trying to make a green smoothie before work every morning and pack healthy snacks and meals to eat throughout the day.
  4. Decompressing Before Bed: When I have a lot going on, it's so easier to work, work, work until I close my computer in exhaustion and crash on my pillow. However, that practice causes me to retain my stress from the day. I need to do a better job of setting aside 20 to 30 minutes a night to read, stretch, and talk to Matt. 
  5. Breathing All the Way into My Belly: The simple act of breathing all the way into my belly has a significant impact on my ability to relax. I'm practicing it as I type this post.
It's definitely a work in progress. I need to analyze my life on a larger scale to make sure I'm not taking on too much. But in the meantime, I'm going to keep implementing these strategies in response to the stress.

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