I've recently been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue.  So in between being exhausted and trying to carry on with life, I've done a lot of reading both online and in books.  I am so eternally thankful to be working with a FANTASTIC health coach (Sarah- if you are reading this- YOU ARE AWESOME!) who helped me discover the name to what's been plaguing  me and a super homeopath who has experienced adrenal fatigue herself so is well versed in treatment approaches.

There's a lot out there on the subject.  Quite a number of variations to approach too.  And while my goal is to share my story in hopes to make a difference in someone else's life, it's hard to know where to begin for treatment and where to begin to talk about this 'illness.'

 First, what are adrenals?

The adrenal glands are small kidney-shaped endocrine glands, often compared to the size of a walnut.  They are located in the lower back area just above the  kidneys. While small, they are actually very powerful and necessary. When our bodies experience stress, the adrenal glands release hormones (adrenaline, cortisol)  that help keep us alert, focused, and increase our stamina, usually assuring that we able to deal with pressure.

  What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Unfortunately, it is not yet a common term among medical doctors (though it is starting to become better known), as it's a hard to detect syndrome which often fails to show up in blood work unless your DHEA is extremely low or you have the full development of Addison's Disease.  But more and more doctors are recognizing this illness. Dr. James Wilson describes Adrenal Fatigue as a "collection of signs and symptoms, known as a syndrome, that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level.  Most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress".

I guess you could say my life has been filled with stress.  While I like to downplay most of it, looking back... well, yeah, I've had a lot of health issues from day one (cleft palate that led to many surgeries and eating difficulties), childhood illnesses (I could write a book on strep! Ha-ha!), childhood emotional issues that left an impact on me and how I would relate to other relationships, multiple surgeries including sudden appendectomy, gall bladder and a loss of an ovary and other surgeries related to the cleft palate and so many ear surgeries I can't count that has led to permanent scarring and hearing loss.  Later in life physical stuff and emotional stuff played into the bipolar depression- of which I did ELIMINATE (see this post)- but of course have always dealt with anxiety (of which MTFHR might be playing a major role- but that's for another post!) and being a highly sensitive person. My education was difficult- no learning disabilities (diagnosable at that time) but it didn't come easy. Of course there were work stresses and the normal stresses of motherhood, late nights and other emotional traumas through the years that are many as well too lengthy  to mention here  and other  factors to consider.  So yes, I've had one major stress factor after another, often overlapping, and not a whole lot of rest from it. So could my adrenals be stressed to the max?  Um, undoubtedly so.

It's true that most of us experience  stressors every day. Mothers in general know what stress is  . And mothers or not, we all have experienced stress sitting in traffic, having to speak to a large group of people, or have an  argument with a spouse or  friend. Experiencing a range of physical and psychological demands can trigger our adrenal glands to give small blasts of strength throughout the day by way of hormone spurts in the form of adrenaline and cortisol.  This is all normal.

However, when someone experiences constant stress, the adrenal glands end up maintaining high cortisol levels-  not something they are supposed to be doing! And when someone experiences high levels of stress for a long period of time, without much or any rest in between, the adrenal glands become unable to respond appropriately or in a healthy manner.  Thus you have adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue can affect the body’s short term response to stress. Adrenal fatigue  impairs  the body’s ability to produce and/or  balance other hormones that will  promote health and general  well-being. If you feel unbalanced or several of the symptoms listed below, it may be time to consider whether your adrenals are functioning properly and it may be time to address whatever the stressors are in your life before you become seriously ill.

Of course, stress isn't the only factor that causes Adrenal Fatigue.  Adrenal fatigue seems to strike women most often but can certainly affect men as well. It occurs most often among chronic dieters(unhealthy diets), workaholics and perfectionists, over exercises (yes, too much exercise IS a bad thing) and those that undergo more than the average amount of emotional stress.

It's important to note that developing Adrenal Fatigue is  dependent on your personal threshold for stress and how your body reacts to it. This means that someone who works 40 hours or more a week, exercises for an hour or more daily, and eats a poor diet may not experience adrenal fatigue,  yet  someone else who might only be working less than 40 hours, walks daily, but still has other stresses or factors in their life may have their adrenals effected.

It's also important to note that  Adrenal Fatigue occurs in varying stages. It can start as what appears as mild fatigue with other minor symptoms but eventually, if left untreated,  evolve into the full blown 'crash' phase (mild cases usually will not result in any blood test abnormalities while more severe cases may show up as hormonal issues, including low DHEA) that leads to constant fatigue and 'burnt-out' symptoms.

So What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include, but are NOT limited to  trouble waking up in the morning, constant fatigue even when enough sleep has been had, slowed metabolism, cravings for salty foods, feeling cold often, decreased immunity, brain-fog, difficulty concentrating or focusing, feeling overwhelmed (constantly), problems handling stress and depression/anxiety, PMS and other hormonal issues, digestive issues, muscle and joint aches/pains/spasms similar to symptoms of fibromyalgia, and more. One or two of these symptoms does not constitute adrenal fatigue but a combination of several of them for an extended period of time may.  Of course, a lot of these symptoms can be characteristic of other illnesses, so one needs to consult a professional and should never self-diagnose.

I plan on writing more about adrenal fatigue, what I am doing to treat my own and what others find to be beneficial.  I hope that I can help anyone else that is fighting this syndrome.  Of course, I remind you I am not a medical doctor-  just an Orthodox Mom trying to figure out this challenge in life!

 

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The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.  ~ Neale Walsch

 

Consider This:

Keeping a gratitude journal (Joy Journal, Happiness Book, Whatever YOU wish to call it) can stop the struggle and the pattern of negative thinking that can create even more stress in our lives. Gratitude can stop the negative thinking and greatly lessen the impact of stress. In forming our gratitude lists, we are essentially cultivating and retraining our thoughts to be positive.  We are stopping ourselves to see the amazing things happening around us instead of dwelling on the everyday stresses, the chaos, the grief.  And there really are AMAZING things happening despite all of those things.  And if we focus, truly focus, on looking for these things- we will begin to notice more and more and our grateful hearts will swell with goodness - with GOD.  And while stress and grief will still occur, we will not struggle as before as it will not drag us down into nothingness- for we will keep on focus on what is good.  And we will look to God. And we will conquer all.

Photo By Codesign / Pixabay
Photo By Codesign / Pixabay

Occasionally, I'll share a few tips with you to help you keep motivated in keeping your journal and making sure it stays a positive experience for you to help focus on thanksgiving rather than the complaining so many of us in today's society takes part in.

Today's Tip:  Be CONSISITENT.  Change takes intention and formation of habit.  Write in your journal EVERY DAY.  Some journal keepers suggest doing it at the same time every day.  I always start adding to mine at the beginning of the day at the same time I do my bible reading (another new habit I hope to keep up with) as that is when I am already focused on positive thinking and seeking God in all things.  That's what works for me, and I keep it handy on the kitchen counter through the day to add as I go.  But you do what works for  YOU.  Maybe it's the beginning of the day. Maybe at a coffee break. Perhaps at the end of the day when the kids are in bed (something to add to the list...).  Find a time, and make it happen!  Use the gratitude challenge to end the struggle. Remember, change takes intention!

Gratitude Sharing:

  1.  Pascha - Pascha is the feast of the resurrection of the Lord as celebrated by Orthodox Christians...  the ultimate celebration for the greatest reason.  My favorite verse from the service "Come receive the light from the light, that will never be overtaken by night, and glorify Christ who is risen from the dead" will be in my head for weeks to come!  Christ is Risen!

  2. My six-year-old spotting a rose-breasted grosbeak on our deck!  I'm not sure what part I'm most grateful for... seeing this beautiful bird for the first time ever, or the fact is was my six-year-old that spotted it- KNEW what it was- and not from me teaching him....just from all the time he spends looking at the bird book....and yes, he obviously read that name and remembered it ALL ON HIS OWN... wow.

  3. erasers -  because we don't need to be perfect; we just need to keep trying and give glory to God for second chances!

  4. Sharing gratitude with others.

  5. The sound of my husband's hum... happiness, contentment, love.

What's On Your Gratitude List This Week?  

 

I started reading Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress over again. I never completed it back in the fall when I started it and published several blog posts on the topic –

But that’s the whole premise of Lysa Terkeurst’s message in her book, Unglued, and the devotional. It’s okay that life is messy sometimes and it’s okay that I don’t necessarily finish something I set out to do when I intend to finish it. The goal is progress. And progress is what I’ve made.
So while I didn’t finish the devotional – okay, I’ll admit I didn’t even make it a third of the way – nor have I finished the video I bought to watch that goes coincides with the book (Unglued) – what I have done is kept her words and concepts in my mind and heart and made progress with it. I have kept her words (and yes, the Word of the Lord) in my mind during conflict much, much more than I ever have before. And that has kept me from becoming Unglued in moments where I know, before, would have set me off in the past. I am less loud less often. That is progress, no matter how imperfect it may be.

I am trying hard to remember what Lysa teaches. I do not have to be perfect in making my changes to call it progress. My past does not define me. Our history is not what our future must hold. We are all capable of imperfect progress.

So I will continue. I will work to learn how to react better to stress that surrounds me just as it surrounds most of us. I will work to learn to relax and not worry so much. I will continue to make progress in responding more and reacting less. Reading the devotional (and God’s word) is just part of this.

What do you do to keep yourself on your journey of Imperfect Progress?

2

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I woke up at 4:30 this morning.

Panicked.

Yikes.

There's only 9 Days Left?? Seriously?

Well, what I told myself would be my stress-free year of the hustle and bustle of December (okay, I admit it- I always shoot for that goal...) is probably the worst year ever for serious planning and doing it all (shopping, meal plans, etc. )stress free.  I have 9 days left to buy presents for my family & friends and figure out all of our plans, etc. and still somehow hold onto that holiday spirit and keep focused on the reason.

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So as I sit and write this post, I tell myself:  I will NOT come UNGLUED.  I will NOT come UNGLUED.

I realize I need to not only get busy online and order some things to put under our tree and give to others we love,  I also need to relish that part of the reason this month hasn't been all that organized is that I have taken some time to relax.  I've had some extra family time, time with my husband, time to travel and bring my daughter home from college and time to write some pretty good posts at the beginning of the month.  So these  past two weeks were productive - just not in getting my holiday plans and shopping done.

But now that the season is upon us with just 9 days left and trying not to panic, I need to figure out how to still get all that shopping done (under deadlines to get it all here on time since most of my shopping is done online as I can never find what I really want in the malls of Williamsport and it's just so much less time consuming to do it online anyway), plan our family time, travel time and yes, meal and yummy food planning and everything else that comes up ( a funeral, grocery shopping, household tasks and so on and still stay focused on the reason.

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So some things need to go.  🙁

It looks like the writing is the thing-

I've already not been able to work on the great ideas for posts I had for this December - guess I'll write those ideas down in a notebook for next year- but it is what it is. So please excuse me while I try to stay sane for the next two weeks and may not get around to posting much, or writing much at all.  It's disheartening really- after all the motivation I got from PiBoIdMo to not have had ANY time the last couple of weeks to even pick up a manuscript or even write down a single idea since December 1.   But I will try to stay upbeat about the great idea list I have written down from November and will do everything I can to get back on track for the new year -  which means I really should at least look over that resolution list and goal list I developed last year and truly think about what my priorities are to get me back on track.

In the meantime-

I hope YOU are staying focused on the REAL REASON for this holiday season.

What do YOU do, in the midst of panic and time crunches,  to stay focused on the reason?

13

I'm NOT a morning person.

My kids seem to think I am.  This is simply because I am usually up in the morning.  That doesn't make me a morning person. It just makes me what I am  - a mother who has a whole lot to get done in a day.  But mornings are never easy. They have no clue how I loathe getting out of bed and how tempting it is to hit that snooze button (and how often I actually do).

Yep, this photo from Pixabay represents my early mornings....sleepy, cranky and not all that happy.
Yep, this photo from Pixabay represents my early mornings....sleepy, cranky and not all that happy.

However, I find that to keep my stress levels down - I need to get up in the wee hours of the day and be as productive with those first few hours as I can.  It seems to set the rest of the day in motion and is sometimes the only time I have to do certain things...like work on this blog, make a Facebook post, bible and devotion time, a load of clothes, etc.  I tried getting up at 5:00 or 5:30 for a while.  That became unrealistic.  I need 7 hours of sleep which means I had to be asleep by ten.  That's just not always possible for me with my late night kids and husband...  so.  While I might occasionally strive for the 5:00 rising, 6:00 or 6:30  is my current alarm time.

I've run into quite a few articles about being a morning person over the last few days.  My favorite was another Michael Hyatt post titled How to Become a Morning Person in which Michael says you can learn to become a morning person and listed a number of steps to take to enhance your ability to become one.  I already follow a number of them (use an alarm, determine the reason, drink coffee... well, sometimes I drink coffee, sometimes I drink tea.  But there are several he mentioned that I don't do at all or at least I don't do consistently such as:  set out your clothes, change your story ( if you say you're not a morning person, you won't be), and enlist an accountability partner.  You can read the rest of his post (see link above) to read the rest.

The post got me thinking.... maybe there's more I can do to make my mornings successful.

I found several great posts including a pretty good one from Wikihow.com!

How To Be a Morning Person

How to Become a Morning Person

How to Have a Great Morning

9 Benefits of Being a Morning Person

http://www.flylady.net/d/br/2011/08/15/peaceful-morning-routine/hoto by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay

I have a few favorite thoughts on how to become a morning person that I'll share with you here.  Some of them I already do , others I'm going to attempt!

  • Believe (or at least create a new thought pattern) that you ARE a morning person.  If you say you are not, you won't be.  If you tell yourself you are, the chances increase!
  • Sleep Well!!  That means get to bed at a decent hour (no, midnight is NOT decent....sorry) and cover all those good guidelines for healthy sleep - no screen time for an hour before bed, lights off (even a lot of alarm clocks are too bright!), and schedule your bedtime and awake time to get in the right amount of sleep- you know what you need.  If you need 8 hours, schedule eight.  If you only need 7 and want to get up by 6:00, you must have lights out and be in bed by eleven!
  • Enlist an accountability partner.  I like this idea.  If you have someone that understands the importance of you getting up by a certain time in the morning and they share that goal- you can call each other or keep tabs somehow to ensure you help each other in this goal.  My husband works night shift and doesn't want to be a morning person, so..... this one won't work for me.  But I still think it's a great one and wanted to share it.
  • Drink coffee or tea with caffeine.  Only you know if your body can handle the caffeine, but if it does, drinking it in the morning may help.
Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay
  • Plan Ahead & BE READY TO GO - have a list of what you need to accomplish and have the things ready that you will need to make the morning successful.  If you want to go to the gym, have your bag ready to go.  If you want to exercise at home, have the materials you need ready to go.  Have the coffee on the counter.  Have a healthy breakfast planned.  Have your writing materials next to the computer.  Whatever it is you plan on doing in the morning, make sure your materials are ready to go.
  • Do things first that keep your mind alert and won't let you get sleepy.  I added this one myself.  When I was attempting the 5:00 wakings I was coming downstairs and trying to read the bible or a devotional.  It didn't work.  I was too sleepy.  It took me forever to get through and then I wasn't feeling drawn in to His word and wasn't productive.  I find I need to at least do a few other productive things first (wash my face, unload the dishwasher, feed the dog) and then I might be able to do the quiet devotion time with my hot cup of coffee or tea in hand. 🙂
  • No Distractions!  If I look at my phone before I get my morning routine list done, I'm doomed.  Chances are I'm going to look over Facebook or get caught up in email or reading other blog posts....  so I'm making a new rule that after I post my morning quote ( I always post a prayer, bible quote or quote from a saint on Facebook each morning) I will turn off Facebook, my phone, etc. until the moring routine list is complete.  And that's the next thing....
  • Morning Routine List -  I got this from back in my Fly Lady Days.  Yes, I use to follow Fly Lady. It drove my husband and kids nuts.  🙁   But it really did help.  It got to be a bit overwhelming though and I strayed away.  I still keep a lot of the things I learned there though and the morning routine is one of those. I really do not do well if I don't do my morning routine.  Here's a post about creating a peaceful morning routine on Flylady.
  • Reward Yourself!  What a great idea!  Besides that inner satisfaction of accomplishing those morning tasks, why not let yourself have a reward for actually getting up in time?  Maybe it's that cup of coffee with a little extra sugar?  Maybe a piece of chocolate? Hmmm..... I'm still thinking on this one. What would be a good reward to help crawling out of my warm cozy bed worth it?  (If you think of one, tell me now!!! )

Do you have any favorite tips on how to be a morning person?

 

2

 

I wasn't sure really what to call this post.... Chapter One?  No, because I  doubt that I'll go in order reading this book:

I'll probably skip around and maybe I'll just post commentaries from time to time that aren't really about a chapter at all and, after all.... this won't be the only book or source I'll use in my challenge to reduce stress and its negative effects on me.

So what to name it/them?  Well, I decided with just simply #3 since it's the third post on this topic (The other two are here and here in case you're just reading this and didn't see them...) and will hopefully be a series - more hope for more posts and more hope that I stick with it!!

So.....  onto the topic.

I read chapter one.  A lot of it was review for me.  I took psychology in high school and college.  I knew all about sources of stress, the fact that there really positive stresses, not just negative and about the fight-or-flight response, etc.  I also knew about the life events that make stress higher and how it can affect your health overall, etc., including that MOVING is certainly a big one along with several others I've been experiencing over the last year.  The first chapter did offer a chart, however, which I used to determine which chapters were probably going to help me the most as it addressed which chapters were most beneficial for particular stress symptoms.... obviously I need to read the ones that address the majority of my symptoms first.

But now onto chapter two...(The introduction recommends that I read the first two chapters before choosing on my own what to read next).  Chapter two was and has the potential to be pretty beneficial.  It was on body awareness.  Frankly, I don't have it.  Not until I am hunched over in pain from back spasms or have a major headache...though my headaches are normally from dehydration - yet another reason for developing body awareness.  Perhaps I should notice that I need liquid BEFORE reaching dehydration?? You get my point.  Our bodies register stress loooooonnnngggggg before our conscious minds do.  Muscle tension is probably the biggest way it does this.  Those of us who have particular beliefs or attitudes tend to be the ones with chronic muscular tension.  Yep, that's me.  Not the greatest self-esteem, always worried about what other's might think, always doubting myself, etc.... yeah, that leads to beliefs/attitudes that work themselves into chronic muscular tension. Anyone with me on that?

The chapter offers several 'exercises' to help increase body awareness.  I've tried them.  They seem awkward at first but I can see that if one got into the habit of doing them, it would be easier to be aware of what's going on internally.... but that will be key!  THE BUILDING OF THE HABIT! - This is the same person that sets a timer throughout the day (when I think of it) to remind myself to drink water.  Yes. I really do have to do that.  🙁  But I've taken the timer to be a reminder for something else now too.  It's sort of a body check/relax check.  It goes off, I drink my 4 ounces....and then I force myself to take a moment to breathe.  Deep breathing....at least a few and to just close my eyes and ask myself:  What's going on right now?  Am I relaxed?  Do I feel tension? Aches? What's going on around me and how is it affecting me?

I'm not keeping the diary as it suggests but I am trying to at least get a sense of how the day's events and environment affect how my body feels.  It's not a great huge leap into the world of relaxation but it's a small step and that's better than not addressing it at all.  I have, by the way, also started  to read chapter 16 on time management.  No commentaries on that today as I'm not that far into it.  But this is where I'm at with my challenge so far:

1.  Reading about relaxation and stress

2.  Getting back into my daily prayer/devotion time.

3.  Making time for writing. (So far it's just the blog here but I have reached out to my critique partners and have goals of getting back to my children's writing within just a few days if all goes well....)

4.  Drinking my goal of 64 ounces of water a day This may not sound stress related but it is!  Part of my issues, I believe, is that I don't make time for me....taking care of myself physically, emotionally or spiritually...so I need to set these things as priority!  Let's face it.  Dehydration doesn't exactly HELP alleviate stress.  With that, I weave in some deep breathing and attempt body awareness.

What changes have you made recently to reduce stress in your life and achieve relaxation?

1

Back in July, I posted this:  Stress Management and Relaxation Challenge

I haven't exactly accomplished much with that challenge because, truthfully, I've been letting stress get the best of me.  While the muscle  spasms have gone away (well, mostly), stress is still controlling my life.

So this morning....  instead of sleeping in like I have been -   when my 4-year-old woke me up to let me know the bed was wet (yes, the bed he was sleeping in with ME)....  I dutifully got up, found him a new nighttime pull up in the dark, changed the sheets, crawled back in with him and laid there......   checked my alarm on my phone and saw there was only 20 minutes to go before it was set to go off (an alarm I've grown accustomed to hitting the snooze on quite a bit lately), and decided to get up.  I've been telling myself I really NEED to get back my habit of getting up extra early to give myself that quiet time I've used and even written about on here.

Now, I sit here with my book open.  The one I wrote about above titled "The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook".  It's open to the section right before the first chapter - "How to Get the Most Out of This Workbook".  I've noted they forgot to mention in this section that having this book just sitting in a box or in a pile on your desk does not actually help.   That perhaps to get the most out of it, one should actually OPEN and READ the book.  No wonder I haven't felt relaxed!  HAHA...

Honestly, this was about as far as I got with the book.  I read this section.  This morning I'm glancing over the things I marked:  Make an agreement with yourself to set aside time each day dedicated to relaxation (and I underlined the part where I should read chapter 16 on time management if that's a problem for me).  Begin the day with a relaxation exercise (for me that's my bible reading or devotion time spent on other reading that's Orthodox in nature and, no..... honestly , I haven't done much of it - Not even this morning!  So I intend to do that as soon as I'm done here....oh...and after I let the dog out too....). Use a relaxation exercise to go to sleep quickly and sleep soundly (getting to sleep lately...NOT a problem.  Staying asleep - well that's a problem...oh, and no - I don't mean just because of wet beds - that actually has not happened for a while...).

So now to reread the section, let the dog out because her whining is annoying me and yes, she probably does need to go out...., do my bible reading and then, later in the day I am DETERMINED to read chapter one as my personal assignment for the day - boxes or no boxes (Yes, there's still a tone and so much organizing still to do!).  So the Challenge is BACK ON!  Anyone care to join me?

 

 

 

5

This past two weeks have not been ideal for my newfound decision to declutter the stress in my life.

I am surrounded by boxes.  wpid-img_20140819_073606_220.jpg

 

 

 

Only they do not look as neat and tidy as what they did in my old house.  It's more like this:

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And believe me, it's driving me crazy.  But not as much as the other things that have cropped up.... like bees  (my son got stung at least 9 times), carpenter ants (It seems they like the garage door and it would seem they are a much bigger problem than the former owners led on), water damage (that they claim wasn't here before), switches I can't identify - you know, wall switches that don't seem to operate anything..., the dishwasher doesn't work (how beneficial to them that it seemed to operate during the inspection), none of the doors had the same lock so a million different keys...okay - not a million but like 5..., the filthy pool that obviously was not properly cared for and I know next to nothing about pool care (gosh I'd love to swim in it a few times though before closing it for the year), my son already experiencing pain from football (his knee) and they haven't even played in a real game yet, the movers being idiots and leaving a bunch of stuff at the old house and packing things like potatoes in a box I most likely wouldn't have even looked in yet if I didn't have such a hard time finding my everyday dishes and seriously, packing a garbage can with a wet diaper in it!  GROSS!!!!  and we'll have to be putting down the cat (long story...probably have to do it today  🙁  ) and my husband not wanting the dog around either due to urinary issues but they 'might' be under control for now.....

Yeah, it's a long list and believe me, this isn't complete.  It's just what my mind has set on at 5:57 in the morning since being up at 4.....   Nope, not sleeping well.....  gee...wonder why??

So, I haven't done well with my stress management challenge.  How about you?  Hopefully, I'll get a better handle on the kitchen today and will better be able to get back to a little normalcy....  wish me luck!

 

6

Since I posted about challenging myself regarding stress management back on July 4th (Independence Day from stress!), I decided that I should give some updates here and there about what I have learned and what I'm doing to teach myself some stress management and relaxation techniques and how I'm fairing in actually putting them to use.

So far I've done the following:

  •  I've continued my chiropractor sessions for my back spasms.  Whether it's the chiropractor or me consciously trying to be mindful of my stress and making myself take more time to relax, the spasms have lessened in intensity and frequency. Now if I could just take that hour it takes me to drive to the appointment and back 2-3 times a week and do something for myself even when I don't HAVE an appointment...now that would be progress my friends and I'm sure it would lead to less stress induced symptoms. But.....
  • I've started reading both books that I purchased....I know...I keep adding books onto my reading list and sometimes I wonder if I'm actually causing myself MORE stress by doing that but....that's me.  And reading is supposed to LESSEN stress so that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Thus far I've only read the introductions and breezed through to see what's there. I think I'll benefit from both.  Anyone looking for ways to reduce stress or add relaxation to their lives needs to be willing to try various approaches. There really is not a single technique that's going to produce great results for every single person, so one must be willing to try several to see what's best.
  • Promised myself to start exercising again....yeah, I know...I've said this before.  But this time I'm trying to be realistic.  I simply can not do 20-30 minute workouts.  I'm aiming for ten minutes - and that INCLUDES time on the bike, jumping rope, or walking AND weight-bearing exercises with very small weights (nothing more until I'm sure the muscle spasm thing is gone).  Exercise, they say, can really alleviate the damage of stress on the body.
  • I've made more of an effort to start my days out right.  I set my alarm earlier to make sure I get up and can follow my routine of prayer time and devotion (about a half hour of various things) as well as get in a minimum of 30 minutes on my writing before my littlest man wakes up - er, uh, well, at least before he's allowed to demand breakfast.  It does make my day seem more productive and fruitful to me.  Doing it first thing in the morning helps me feel more at peace and more control in the day.  This means getting up by 5:30 in the morning when my body just begs to crawl back under the sheet but....it's worth it - it really is.  Yes, TIME MANAGEMENT is a good way to handle stress!

What have you done recently to reduce or manage your stress load?

 

 

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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
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • anger
  • irritability
  • fears
  • muscular tension, aches, pains (and SPASMS!)
  • headaches
  • neck pain
  • indigestion
  • 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!