It's back. (PUN intended)
My unrelenting back spasm problem that I have been dealing with for almost 20 years. It rears its ugly head every so often....leaves, teases me into thinking that was the last time and then.... 'Honey, I'm home!'....sigh. Sometimes it's there for a day. Sometimes for a couple of days. Sometimes.... well , this time it's been there for at least 6 weeks... nothing significant enough this time (knock on wood) to prevent me from going about my normal routine but there...nagging...demanding attention. I've tried all sorts of things - Tylenol, ibuprofen, muscle relaxants, massage, osteopathic manipulation, physical therapy, a chiropractor...
Some of the above brings about some help. But the bottom line is this is one of the ways my body copes with stress - which always makes me realize I do not deal with stress well. And I REALLY need to just admit it and do something about it...thus this post and a challenge to myself.
Everyone deals with stress. Most of us deal with stress in one form or another on a daily basis. Many stressors are the same for everyone. Each of us also usually experience some unique stressors. Some people seem more susceptible to stress while others seem able to just let certain stressors roll right off their back. My back is wishing I would do that too and always reminds me I need to look for ways to handle stress and cope better.
First - What are the causes of stress?
Well, some of the main causes of stress shared by the majority of the population include stress in the workplace (that would include home for stay at home moms and dads), financial changes and problems, personal relationships, children, daily hassles of our current 'too busy' society, death or illness of a loved one, illness (our own), parenting ( the stresses of motherhood are soooooo underrated!), behavioral issues of children or siblings or other family members, moving, and many, many more. Really, I could go on for days...
What are the effects/symptoms of stress?
There's quite a few:
- fatigue and lethargy
- muscular tension, aches, pains (and SPASMS!)
- neck pain
- digestive issues
- insomnia and other sleep issues
- concentration and memory difficulties
- high blood pressure
I personally have experienced quite a few of the above symptoms at one time or another and it's not even a complete list. Hmmmm.....so now- what to do about it?
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT??
I've decided to spend some time (FINALLY) researching this. And doing something about it. Relaxation just does NOT come naturally to me. Frankly, I'm jealous of those people who seem to be able to smile all the time and seem to be able to lay aside their earthly cares to relax and distress in whatever way they do. I'm really wanting to learn how. Care to join me in my adventure?
Thus far, this is what I'm doing/have done:
I took a 'poll' on Facebook - to see what my friends like to do to help them relax - this is what I found: Listening to music, reading, enjoying a cup of tea, writing, drawing, painting, time in the woods (nature), bike riding, prayer (meditation), golf, message, etc. It was good to do this poll- I saw that I do some of these things (prayer, reading and writing) fairly frequently though still not necessarily enough and some of these things occasionally (drinking a nice cup of tea, time in nature, etc.) but have not tried some others much at all ( I don't foresee the golf happening...sorry).
I bought two books - Stress Management For Dummies and The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook. There was a slew of books out there on stress management and relaxation. It was hard to decide. I decided the first may be written in a 'stress-free' manner that may help me figure out a plan of action that's actually doable rather than some of the books I read about that sounded like total stress just figuring out how to be less stressed.... and the second book seems to be the one that was rated high by the most viewers. I've had a book similar to it in the past and recall it being helpful..soooo....
I wrote this post - I figured I need to challenge myself to really take handling stress and learning how to relax more seriously. So if I made that challenge public - maybe, just maybe I'd stick with it - at least enough to figure out a few techniques that work for me and make at least a bit of a difference. What do you think? Want to join me in my adventure? I intend to do posts once in a while on what I'm reading and learning and my experiences with it.
So...... if you want to share with me how you handle stress or have some thoughts on this subject, please share. I hear one thing is very important when dealing with stress.... KEEP BREATHING. (That does sound like good advice, doesn't it?)
So..... Carry On and KEEP BREATHING! I'll be in touch!