Life is already busy enough and here we are entering that time of the year when it tends to enter hyper-drive!
As life gets busier and more complex, do you find you feel more tension, more of a sense of being out of control, out of time and out of energy? Have you felt obligations and responsibilities growing and taking over what used to be your life?
It is natural when that happens to begin to lose the capacity for resting in the moment and having a sense of satisfaction with what is. Pleasure seems to disappear, your sense of humor dulls and pretty soon you are not feeling happy very often and maybe your ability to feel anything good seems to have exited, stage left!
It seems to be a human inclination that as outside demands grow larger and more demanding we neglect to take care of ourselves and this is a perfect setting for not only ordinary stress but for “burn out”….a very real phenomenon that affects every aspect of your being.
Professional and personal caregivers of all stripes are particularly prone to de eloping compassion fatigue which is a fancy name for the mental and physical results of stress/burn out.
It can feel awkward to begin to focus on oneself but it is a necessary goal if one is to avoid the high cost of unattended stress.
Begin to Turn Stress Around
Begin by identifying what you need, and how much you can realistically give of your time, money, or energy. As you move through each day remain aware of your needs and physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Notice when circumstances are becoming overwhelming and learn to say NO. Giving from an “empty cup” is a recipe for stress, resentment and blame toward others for taking too much. (It is neither kind nor gracious and other people recognize this.)
Take personal responsibility to maintain your energy level, schedule and balance.
To do this effectively it may be necessary to look at the deeper roots of why self-care is so difficult. Turn up the volume on the conversations that go on in your mind. We all have them, old messages & beliefs formed earlier in life. We usually are not aware that we carry perspectives that may be outdated, or that may be influencing our behavior in a negative way.
Some of these ’beliefs’ are probably good solid values. There are others that served you well at the time, but need revision to fit effectively into your current life. Discovering and honestly acknowledging what thoughts, attitudes and beliefs are behind over-commitment, hectic schedules and lack of time for yourself is one way to begin to design a stress-less life!
It is important to recognize what needs your patterns may satisfy. Your needs are not wrong, but the way you are trying to meet them may be ineffective. Successful change requires releasing old habits and filling your needs in positive ways.
Choice and Well-Being
Creating more fulfilling choices for yourself comes from a clear recognition of how each choice affects your whole being. How different would your life be if you evaluated how your decisions affected your heart and mind before you made them? We often run our lives from our heads, from the world of ideas, concepts, shoulds, oughts and musts. Sit quietly with each decision you make and notice how your heart and mind respond to it. This process can be enlightening. When there is a conflict between the mind and heart, it is almost certain that you will experience stress and eventually a variety of difficulties will manifest in your health, relationships and performance.
We can create lives that we love. Creating change from the inside, by taking some steps toward alleviating stress and listening more closely to your heart, is the beginning. Try tuning into your inner voice more often and see if you don’t experience more ease and less stress!