There’s a shockingly disturbing trend I’m seeing in e-mail, on blogs, and in the news. More and more people are suffering from:
- Anxiety and Anxiety Attacks
- Heart Problems
These, when they take a nasty turn, can lead to further health problems, relationship problems, financial setbacks, and a general loss in quality of life. At least, in most of the cases I’ve seen, most people are actively trying to make themselves better by making necessary changes. But, man oh man, can change ever be hard.
When it comes to oversimplifying things, I’m so guilty I should be locked up for life. I’m well aware of that. But having acknowledged the fact, I still have to say that I think the answers to these problems are often within our own power. It’s sort of like me this morning. I woke up at 3:15 dying for something to drink. I knew I’d left a cup in the bathroom adjacent to our bedroom. With eyes barely open, somehow I managed to turn the water on. Then my only problem was, “Where’d that darn cup go?” I felt around on the counter in the dark with my left hand, then it occurred to me – the cup was in my right hand. I must have absentmindedly picked it up before turning the water on.
I had just what I needed, I just didn’t realize it. I think that’s the same with the malady of problems were all seeing in one form or another.
Below are a few Simple Steps that I think can get us all back on the right track. They’re steps we all should become familiar with because from where I sit, there are two groups of people: 1. The ones who can recognize themselves in the bullet points above, and 2. The ones who will become all too familiar with them tomorrow if they don’t make changes today.
Just this once, put yourself first. Ask the following questions:
- When am I the happiest?
- When am I the most at peace?
- When am I the most stressed?
- When do I feel the most anxious?
Closely examine your answers. At the risk of exceeding even my own simplistic boundaries: Find more time for doing those things that make you the happiest and bring about the most peace and do everything in your power to cut back on those things that stress you out or cause anxiousness.
I hate using myself as examples, because I certainly don’t want anyone to think for a second that I consider myself an ideal anything (Aside, that is, from being a great mom and wife – I look at my family and figure I must be doing something right). Like most people, I learn from experience. Since I’m such a busy bee, I have more than my share of experiences, so I have more than my share of lessons!
Anyway, nearly a year ago I had a regular checkup with my lovely doctor. She’s Ukrainian and I could listen to her accent forever – even when she was telling me how my blood pressure was so much higher than it used to be. It was a shock to both of us because mine has always been incredibly low. On the 45 minute trip home, my youngest daughter and I talked it out. I had been incredibly busy with our home business. We had moved servers, added websites, increased the number of blogs we were publishing, and I had a few new projects lined up that I was a little antsy about.
I was putting in a lot more hours than usual at the computer and to stay alert, I drank even more coffee than usual (and for me, that’s nearly an obscene amount). I would honestly stress if I was 1 hour late answering e-mail. And if I went a day without posting on my blogs? Forget about it! I felt like I’d messed up big time.
Looking back now, I marvel that I didn’t kill myself!
By the time we pulled into the driveway, my young physician (and also lovely, thank you very much – I could listen to this one’s Kentucky accent two forever’s) had decided that it was time to cut back – on caffeine and work hours.
My approach was, “What will become of my websites and blogs if I cut back?” Her approach was, “What will become of your family if something happens to their mom and wife?”
Point made. Point taken.
I began drinking my very regular/very beloved caffeinated coffee in the morning, but fell head over heels in love with drinking hot green tea and other decaffeinated tea in the evenings. (I sleep better as a result!)
I actually dropped a few online projects and, even, got rid of a few blogs. I began stopping whatever I was doing online (unless, of course, it was for someone else) at a certain time each day. I assigned a “cut off” when online world ended and offline world took over completely. It may seem minor to others, but it was major for me.
I also made a point of doing things that make me happy more often: Watching movies, watching birds, reading about polar bears, living green, and other endangered animals (basically getting my Save the World on), doing yoga, watching tv, and cooking – I’m never happier than when I’m cooking. Mentally saying, “This is when work totally begins and this when work totally ends” helped me a lot.
How much of an impact did it have? When I went back for a checkup just 6 months later (she made me schedule it that soon because she was so concerned about the b.p.), her jaw dropped when she saw that it was completely back to where it had been. She even asked me, “What have you been doing?” Then when I left, she said, “Keep doing what you’re doing!”
I have been. (Two) Doctors’ orders.
When you’ve determined what things bring peace into your life, invite them right in and never allow them to leave.
As for the things that bring you stress, keep something in mind. Many times, even things that we love can become stressful, if we allow them to. I absolutely LOVE writing, responding to e-mail, blogging, and all of the aspects of working and playing online. My approach just needed to be tweaked a little bit – I didn’t even realize I was experiencing stress until I got it under control.
Eat a good diet and make certain that you’re getting enough rest. Again, simple as pie, right? Then why aren’t we all doing these things more often?!
Our bodies will function a lot better if we’re more aware of what we put into them. Eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water, and take a multivitamin if you think you’re not getting all the vitamins you need. I also strongly recommend drinking Green Tea daily. Your body will love you for it.
As for rest, if you’re like most people, you aren’t getting enough. Aim for a little more.
Realize that you can’t do everything. Learn to say “No” to a few things before you’re forced to say “No” to a lot more. There is nothing in the world that’s important enough to gamble with your health. Not a spotless house, not popularity, not a raise, and certainly not money. Good health beats all of these temporal things, hands down.
I know I’ve rambled on. This post has become much longer than I intended for it to. But this is a subject that I feel very strongly about and I want to get the word out there – to as many people as possible, as soon as possible. If it seems like I’m making this a life or death situation, it’s because it is. Please examine your workload, your level of stress and anxiety and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Chill the heck out and do everything to make sure that you’re not just in this for the long haul – but that you’re going to razzle and dazzle every step of the way!
You wear razzle and dazzle so well.