How do you really know when stress is affecting you, I mean really affecting you. I have decided to write this blog on exactly this, just how easy stress and our very busy lives can start to creep into our very existence impacting on health, vitality, relationships and our spark for life.
This is a personal account of how stress has had a significant impact on my life over the last couple of years. I'm hoping by telling my story you may relate and identify in your life and take some steps to help manage it before it can impact on your health and relationships.
Many of you will know that I have recently decided to reduce my hours and move my clinic to smaller premises to help with my work life balance, the biggest reason for this decision is the fact that I needed to make some significant changes before I hit the wall that we all talk about. I have finally started to practice what I have been telling all my clients to do, To get some work/Life balance.
We are all wired differently in how we deal with stress. Some of us can easily recognize when stress or a busy life is impacting on health and relationships, but for me and I'm guessing many of you, I did not mind being busy and the challenges were never a problem, but the constant day in and day out of growing and expanding over the many years with ever increasing responsibilities, that became mine alone, began to take its toll.
This creeps up and it's often difficult to recognize what once was a source of excitement, became more of a trap. This is not to say that I didn't still love what I did, because I do very much so. It was all the other stuff that begins to take a toll. Doing something because you think you should or need to, isn't always the correct path.
Are any of you identifying with this in your own like, your personal situation will be different but the pathway is the same. We all encounter busy and stressful times in our lives that are over and above what one would consider everyday stuff. A bad marriage, being a sole parent and starting my own business are a few of my more stressful times that really tested my resolve and the saying could be correct that "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" right!!. I can say that I learnt along the way to manage these life changing events by my having a positive attitude and really just looking at one day at a time knowing that things would improve. Having support from family and friends also helped and knowing when to ask for help.
What was really interesting for me was more the everyday ongoing stuff that eventually began to take its toll, the problem was that I didn't take notice, or if I did, I did nothing to really reduce or resolve it. I've been through way more stress than this so what was my issue.
Having just finished my 8 week break, and moving my clinic, has given me time to reflect just how busy and stressed I really was, and how that had been impacting on my health, energy and relationships. I had a few HaHa moments you could say!
Like many of us I was ignoring the signs of too much stress, and it was easy to keep doing everything as before, because I believed that this is what I should and need to do, I was too busy to really take the time to see what was happening and too busy to make the changes I needed to make. Funny but sad.
There are the obvious symptoms of stress that many of us have. These can include fatigue, mood swings, poor sleep, headaches, gut issues, high blood pressure, tight and tense muscles to name a few.
Sound familiar? But is the more subtle issues that can be more of a problem and can sneak up on you and cause issues later on. These are the ones that we tend not to do anything about.
I was really believing that I was being very good and proactive in addressing these obvious symptoms. Doing the things that I recommend you all do, such as exercise, massage, trying to get great sleep but not really very successful, and making sure I had all my supplements to help with nervous system and adrenal support. These are all important but what I was really ignoring is why was I so stressed all of a sudden.
Understanding why you are not coping with your current work load, social expectations and family life etc can give you an insight into why you feel so much more ill at ease with everything.
So what I found was that the difference between being excited and stimulated, or feeling overwhelmed and stressed, is your ability to adapt to your environment at any given moment. This was very true for myself, all of a sudden what had been easy and exciting, became a burden and difficult and I was trying to continue to push through this. This was what was exhausting and stressing me and making me tired and unwell. I absolutely love what I do, and I was feeling sad that I wasn't getting the enjoyment out of my passion- Naturopathy and the more I tried to push through the harder it became.
One of my long time dreams was to open my own clinic and be the best Naturopath I could be. I have worked 20 years at this dream, and it's been fantastic, and exciting and fun, and I have met some amazing human beings along the way and what I have found is that sometimes we need to see how we can do things differently and still enjoy the process.
There have been several signposts over the last 2 years indicating that I was probably time to look differently at how I did things. I noted them and kept shouldering on, looking for ways to inject that initial excitement and passion I had at the beginning. This was very tiring and added to my stress levels.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I finally made the decision to reduce my work load and move my clinic to smaller rooms, so that I can now concentrate on seeing my patients and Naturopathy as well as have some freedom on the hours I work and the holidays I take.
I already feel so much better and lighter and energized, and this is what prompted me to share my story so that if anyone reading this needs to have a real look at why they are feeling so stressed and far to busy, I hope my story will help with this process. If you are constantly feeling unwell and tired, or unhappy and grumpy despite doing all the things that you know should help, maybe some hard decisions need to be made, otherwise everything is really only helping temporarily.
If anyone needs to chat to me about this I'm happy to lend an ear and give you some insights on how tough decisions and really lift the spirits and put some spring into your steps