I don’t know about you, but I’m a planner. I like to have my life planned out and things ready to go. But you know what? Things happen unexpectedly. So how do you deal with it?
One of my goals for 2018 is to learn to let go of/ handle stress better. Because I’m gonna be honest here: I’m pretty bad at handling stress. I freak myself out and hardly eat when I’m stressed. Things that could take me an hour or less to get over can take me over a week to get over.
So I set out to learn to handle stress better. And I think 2018 has been the perfect year to achieve this goal. I have been knocked down a lot and there has been a lot of unexpected things in my life. But I’m working on it. It hasn’t been easy. There are so many things that I haven’t planned for and there are a lot of times that my plans have been upended. And that’s okay. I don’t think I could have genuinely written that last year. Let me give you an example of what I mean.
Last Friday, I was walking down the stairs of my apartment right before work. I don’t know what happened, whether my foot slipped or I just misjudged the step, but I rolled my ankle on the last couple of steps. I probably would have burst into tears and cried for an hour. Instead, I like screamed in pain for a couple seconds, thought about calling off work, realized I couldn’t, and worked on getting my life together. I grabbed my ACE bandage, took a couple of ibuprofen, and went to work. I took care of my ankle all weekend and it’s feeling a whole lot better AND it’s less swollen. I’ve also dealt with this pain before, so I know how to manage it.
I’m not perfect. Not by any means. I still have my bad days and I’m still working on it. But that’s why my goal is to learn to let go/handle stress BETTER. Not perfectly. I’ve been working a lot on myself, and in a sense, I’ve become selfish. Not to the point where I’m keeping everything for myself and whatnot. But more to the point of I’m focusing on me and taking care of myself. That way when the unexpected DOES happen, I can handle it better.
I’m such an empathetic person that I find myself wanting to worry about others before I think to worry about myself. Over the years, I have conditioned myself unintentionally to think “What will so and so think about this situation”? Recently, I have been working on undoing that. I am still empathetic. For example, a guy I went to high school with passed away about a month ago. I was obviously upset, and I knew one of my best friends would be too, because they were much closer to him than I was. So I asked them if they knew about it. That person told me they did, so I asked if they were okay, and they said they didn’t want to talk about the situation. I don’t want to belittle what happened, because it’s a huge deal, especially for a high school my size. But I want to point out that my reaction is not an isolated occurrence. I make sure everyone else is okay before I even have time to work out my own emotions. So later that night, I let myself feel the heartbreak of what had happened on my own. And then I did my best to honor the guy who passed.
This is the kind of improvement I am working on. If I’m not worrying about someone else, I am worrying about the future. If something unexpected happens, my knee-jerk reaction is to tell someone so we can fix the future. But this year, I’m learning to take a step back, breathe, and focus on me in the right now. For me, that is coming to mean journaling. I bought a new journal and pens and I’m trying to use that to help get my thoughts out of my head. But I don’t carry that journal all the time because I want it to be kept private. (I don’t mind telling you guys about it, but I don’t want anything to happen to it). So, since I don’t carry it around, I write a lot of my journal entries on my phone. The notepad app I use has the option to color code (which saves my life) and my journal entries has its own color so that I don’t confuse it with anything else.
Another way I am working on dealing with the unexpected is to do something physical. Honestly, sometimes that may mean just taking a walk. If I’m waiting on someone else to get done at work, I’ve taken to walking a mile around the balcony upstairs (it’s a circular balcony; 20 laps equals 1 mile). I can’t tell you how many times that alone has improved my mood. Listening to music and walking gives me the chance to think and clear my head, and I’m able to work through everything rather than just moping and worrying about it.
This is kind of different than any of my other advice posts I’ve done recently, but I feel it’s more real. I don’t have everything worked out. I’m still working on it. What works for me may not work for you. That being said, if you have any tips you want to offer to me, or if you want more tips of what I do, then reach out to me please!! I am not hard to get a hold of. I check my email probably at least twice an hour, and I have all the social media apps on my phone so if you message me, I’ll get an instant notification.
I feel like a lot of my posts lately have had a more somber tone, and that has not been my intention at all. If anything, I hope you take this as a message of hope. If I can learn to handle my stress better and improve my life, you can too. Life isn’t easy. But I feel like I’m growing into myself. I’ve had to push through a lot of dirt, but I’m finally getting to the light. I want to make myself better in the last two months of 2018 so that 2019 won’t know what hit it because I’m who I’m meant to be.
I’m also going to start something new this month: I’m going to post a weekly roundup. But where other bloggers will do a roundup of other people’s post, I’m going to give you more of a glimpse into my personal life. That could be something along the lines of a recipe I love, a workout I’m trying, a project I’m doing in the present. Or it could be something in the future, like a goal I’m working towards, a place I want to visit, or something like that. This was actually suggested to me by one of my readers, and I really like this idea. So, you may have seen the “Weekly Roundup” widget when you arrived at my blog. If not, you can find it in my menu or you can just go there from here . I’m really looking forward to this, and would love to have your thoughts and opinions on this kind of thing!!!