Are you feeling emotionally and physically exhausted most days? Do you feel increasingly resentful of others demands on your time? Do you give more than you receive? Do you make yourself a priority? More than likely you have responded with an astounding YES for most of the questions. Many women are juggling multiple responsibilities all at the same time with little sleep and rest. As a result, our moods are fluctuating between frustrated and irritated to angry and depressed. That’s because we care for ourselves last. Our “emotional fuel tank” is empty and we are running on fumes.
We have been conditioned to believe that should do everything and be everything for everyone else while neglecting our needs. Picture this. Hold a rubber band between your two pointer fingers and thumbs on each hand and pull the band. On the first several (many) pulls there is much resistance and elasticity. Well…try that a hundred more times and you will see that eventually the rubber band will either snap or become limp and loose with little resistance. This is the metaphor for our minds and bodies if we continue to move at the pace we have been without taking care of ourselves. It’s important to keep in mind the physical toll our bodies take when we expend more and more energy without a rest.
The physical manifestation of prolonged and cumulative stress includes many medical illness and conditions that includes GI problems, irritable bowel syndrome, heart/cardiac distress (many folks show up in the emergency room for panic/anxiety attack diagnoses), high blood pressure, ulcers, chronic back pain, memory problems, weight gain/loss, and others. Pause for one moment and ask yourself, “At what expense is stress taking a toll on my life? Now ask yourself, “What am I going to do about it?!”
No one will do this for you-you have to make yourself a priority and here are few tips to get started.
- Set healthy boundaries…..learn to say “no”, “Let me think more about this”, “I will get back to you,” and “that won’t work for me…” Use the 24 hour rule. Pause in giving a firm commitment without thinking it over or sleeping on it for 24 hours.
- Embrace solitude, peace, and relaxation. Stop feeling guilty about taking a break, going on vacation, of getting some well needed rest. Join that Yoga or cooking class you been putting off. Read a good book. Take long baths.
- Exercise. The benefits of exercise in improving emotional and physical wellness are invaluable. As little as 30 minutes a day will go a long way in releasing stress while enhancing our body image.
- Eliminate toxic people, places, and things from your life. Negativity robs us of the pleasurable moments in life. Why waste time absorbing the bad feelings of others around you? Many us of don’t have the mental capacity (space in our brains) to take on others “stuff” while trying to cope with our own.
- Engage in the art and practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a therapeutic approach used in the counseling field to help clients become more aware of the present moment and tuned into their emotions without judgment. It is the practice of paying attention on purpose to what is going on in the present moment without making judgment. Most of us are focused sadly and mournfully on the past or anxiously about the future….neither of which we can change. There are many books and plenty of literature on mindfulness. Check out credible resources on the YouTube channel or your local bookstore.
I would love to hear from you about how you have learned to balance your life. Post any questions, thoughts, comments, below. Embracing health and wellness, Dr. Angela Clack.