We all deal with stress. Every day, we all have different stressors that affect us in multiple ways. And each and every one of us deal with our stress in a different way. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have stress. But we all do, and we have to find a way to deal with it.
When I get stressed, the first thing I want to do is eat. Plain and simple. For most of 2012, I ate my way through stress. Did it help? There’s an immediate sense of feeling better, honestly, but eating didn’t help what was causing my stress.
Since I started 2013 by going back to Weight Watchers and making the decision to take better care of myself, I’ve found different ways of dealing with stress, most of the time… And while none of these actually get rid of the stress, it’s a good feeling to know that I am not sabotaging my body by eating my way to oblivion.
So, what do I do to relieve stress?
- Hot yoga – I really cannot say enough about hot yoga. I wish I could go more. I love to sweat it all out, the stretching, and the amazing feeling when it’s done. And I sleep amazing afterwards. I wish I had tried it sooner.
- Run / Walk – really this should say “just move it”. Exercise really does wonders for stress. It makes me forget about what I’m stressing over, or at least realize that’s it’s likely I am stressing over something TOO much. I tend to worry to the extreme and working out calms that.
- Do things for ME – this can be anything. Shopping, reading, lunch out, anything that gets my mind off what I’m stressing over. Sometimes laying around being lazy is not good for stress and worry because it gives me more time to think about what is bothering me.
- Set goals – I love to have something to work towards. A goal weight, a race to look forward to, a new time to beat, something that pushes me and gives my brain something to focus on.
- Focus on the good, not the bad – this can be hard. Quite often, the bad can totally overshadow the good and it’s easy to forget so many other things that you can smile about.
- BE POSITIVE – I truly cannot stand negativity and I believe that if you think negatively, than that is exactly what you get. It can’t hurt to be positive and think good thoughts. Try it sometime…
All of these things are good for your mental health, for your happiness.
My dad used to drive me NUTS when something went wrong or we needed to resolve a problem and he would say, “it’s no big deal”. I didn’t understand how he could just brush it off like that and know that it would be okay, that it would all work out.
I’m not sure when I realized that positivity would get me much farther than negativity, but it’s definitely been in the last couple of years. Somehow, someway, things will always work out. My mantra throughout the last few years has been…
There have been nights when I wake up with anxiety over whatever is bothering me and I will literally repeat this to myself over and over again in my head. Be positive!
So, no matter what obstacles, challenges, troubles, and more you are up against, remember that it will pass. And there are things you can do to combat that stress. Don’t let it take over your body. Get out there and move, do something you enjoy, and focus on the good!
How do you deal with stress in your life? Do you have a personal mantra you’d like to share?
Two weeks from tomorrow, on Sunday November 18, I will be doing my second half-marathon – the Women’s Half Marathon in St. Petersburg. Yesterday morning, as I was running 3.11 miles at the park, I realized that I am so not prepared. Dealing with my sciatica right when I was supposed to start training for the half was not the plan. However, I did run most of the 5K yesterday and that was a first since my injury.
On one hand, I am so happy to be where I am now, considering 11 weeks ago I could hardly even walk, let alone think about running. And while I have not been consistent with any sort of training, I am able to move without pain.
On the other hand, I think I am INSANE for even attempting a half-marathon right now. How am I going to complete it? Am I going to hurt myself? Will I get so caught up in the moment and the adrenaline that I push myself harder than I should? What if I can’t finish in the 4-hour time limit? These are all the things running through my mind right now.
If I use the nifty calculator on McMillan Running, it tells me based on my 5K time from yesterday morning of 45:25, that I should be able to complete a half-marathon in 3:30:17. When I ran the Rock N’ Roll Half, I did it in 3:11:33. My goal in signing up for a second half-marathon was to beat my first time. Now my goal is to just finish.
Thursday night I got my confirmation email. That’s exciting. The minute I crossed the finish line at the Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon in February, I wanted to do another. Was it easy? NO. Did I enjoy every single hard minute of it? YES. I want to enjoy this again:
I can’t wait to go to the expo. I can’t wait to pick up my bib, my timing tag, and my t-shirt. There is such a rush in that.
Did I mention the medal? I want that medal. I want to add it to the other two I have, and add my bib to the box of race memorabilia I have for the year.
And then there’s the course…. It’s in downtown St. Pete just like the Rock N’ Roll Half (except the start and finish are together and the course is the opposite). That course was beautiful. I love downtown St. Petersburg. The views along the water are amazing.
So, yes. I might be insane. I know I’m nervous and scared and excited all at the same time. But damn, I want to do it. I hope, hope, hope I can get to the finish line before the 4-hour mark. Finishing is my goal. Anything better than that will be icing on the cake.
Have you ever run a race totally unprepared?
You are a wonderful person and you are stronger than you know. You take care of those you love and you do the best that you can in everything you do.
So then, why do you doubt yourself? Why do you feel like you can always do more or do better? Why do you feel so fragile? You cannot let fear and your insecurities get the best of you. You must not focus on the negatives, but rather direct that energy to all the positives in your life. Letting the negatives get the best of you only sends your fragile state of mind reeling.
You know how good you feel when you do something for yourself, when you put yourself first. You seem to fall into the trap of not taking care of yourself when you are stressed out. There will always be something stressful going on, you have to decide how best to manage that stress and not let it get the best of you.
Yesterday, you made the decision to go for a walk and that walk turned into running. You ran when you felt like it and walked when you needed to. After not running for far too many weeks, you did pretty good despite the heat. You should not be so hard on yourself and just enjoy the moment.
Do you remember how you felt when you ran your first half-marathon? You felt like you could do anything – and you can. You have the ability to accomplish anything you set your mind to. It’s the reason you signed up for another half-marathon, to feel that enormous sense of accomplishment in completing something you never thought you would do.
If you are not happy about how you feel or how you look, YOU are the only one who can do something about it, YOU are the only one who can make the right choices and change. You’ve done it before, you can do it again.
Life is too short to be stressed out about things. You cannot control everything and there is no sense in worrying about the things that you know are out of your control. Focus on YOURSELF and the rest will fall into place.
I’ve waited to post about this because I wanted good news to post. It has been a long 5 weeks, but finally, we have some good news and some closure.
At the end of February, my mom found out she had endometrial cancer. After having a biopsy and waiting 2 long weeks for the results, they told her she had a grade one tumor. There are three grades, grade one being the least bad of all. This was the hope we were hanging on to. One symptom sent her to the doctor for a check-up. Had she ignored that one symptom, she would have never known she had a tumor almost 4 inches in size. A normal annual check-up would not have found this type of cancer. To me, this is TERRIFYING.
A week after her diagnosis, she met with an oncologist who scheduled surgery for her just two weeks later. This was all moving very fast. My Aunt Darlene in California (one of many fabulous relatives!!) offered to come out to be here the week of her surgery and we could not have been more happy for the extra support. Throughout all of this, we had so many people supporting my mom from all over, it was very heart-warming, and if more family had been able to come, we know they would have.
Two weeks ago yesterday, my mom went in for surgery. Her first surgery ever in her 61 years. They were able to do it laparoscopically, with 5 small incisions. The plan was to remove lymph nodes only if they felt it necessary at that time. She did extremely well during the surgery. The surgeon explained that they also removed some lymph nodes to have them tested and it would be two weeks to find out if it had spread or not.
She has spent the last two weeks recovering amazingly well. She did not overdo anything, she napped when she needed to, took her pain pills sparingly and only if absolutely needed, and she endured the once-a-day shots from both my aunt and I in her belly to prevent blood clots.
By the end of the last week, just over a week post-surgery, she was back to walking in the afternoons, 1 to 2 miles. Everyone has been so impressed with how fast she has recovered.
Finally, yesterday was her post-op appointment with the surgeon, to find out if the cancer had spread or not. Of all days to wait for this news, it was also my dad’s birthday. We visited the cemetery at Bay Pines VA in the morning, worked for a few hours, and then finally it was time for her appointment. I, of course, was right by her side because there is no other place in the world I could have been at that moment.
The doctor, a very direct man, walked in the room with a smile on his face and said “I have some good news for you. Your lymph nodes came back clear and you do NOT need any further treatment.” Both my mom and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Her cancer was stage 1, with a tumor approximately 4 inches in size. The doctor, like everyone else, was extremely impressed by her recovery. She will go back in 4 weeks for another follow-up.
Cancer affects everyone. My dad had bladder cancer, my grandmother had breast cancer, my aunt had breast cancer, and now my mom has had endometrial cancer. It’s very easy to sit here and tell everyone to be proactive and do not ignore any little symptom that you feel isn’t right. Some cancers are genetic and some are not. Regardless, it can happen to everyone. I spent many months last year with my sister-in-law over the course of her training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day and I heard first hand stories of how cancer had affected so many lives. None of us are immune to it. We have to be proactive.
I am so relieved and thankful that my mom is well. After losing my dad 16 months ago, the thought of something happening to my mom was terrifying. I kept strong throughout the last 5 weeks, both for my mom and my family, but I am not afraid to admit now that I was scared. Hearing the good news yesterday was the best thing and it made my day. I now know more than ever that my dad is indeed watching over us and I am positive he had a little something with yesterday’s good news.
I love you, Mommy and I am so glad you did not ignore what you knew was not right, and you did what you had to do to be well. You are stronger than you know and you are cancer-free!!
I tried something tonight I SWORE I would never try. I went to a Zumba class. There was a free class on the rec center near by my house and my sister asked if I wanted to go. I momentarily thought, “HA! No way. Not gonna happen.”
But then I realized there was no reason to not try it. If she was game, well then WHY NOT?
The reason I’ve never been interested in taking it is because I have two left feet, I am not coordinated at all, and I am the whitest person ever. This girl does not dance. There is no way I could even try it.
Despite my fear of going, it was SO MUCH FUN. Who knew? I couldn’t do half of the moves but the music was great and I was shakin’ my butt like there is no tomorrow. I was drenched in sweat after the hour was up and it was great.
I always resist change. I swear I don’t want to do something because I won’t be good at it. It didn’t matter tonight. There were kids there all the way up to senior citizens. And not one of them cared if they could do every move perfectly. Everyone was just having fun. And to call it a workout was a bonus.
So, you can bet our butt’s we’ll be signing up to take the class every Monday. And for the heck of it, we’re crazy enough to want to take the 2 1/2 hour Zumba Bash in two weeks. WHY NOT?
Note to self: Remember this feeling. Remember that despite your fear of trying Zumba, you did it and you enjoyed it. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Life is too short. Remember 2012 is your year, make the most of it.