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STRESS!!

Hello. Thanks for opening this Blog. I have struggled for some time on what to write for these blogs, and the last two weeks have been no exception. The stress level in my life has been just enormous and I have struggled to keep on top of everything that needs to be done. So, a wise one said to me, “So why don’t you write the blog about handling stress?” So here I am and here is what I think.

Managing stress and getting everything done on time is one of the hardest things we ever need to do. Life just grows, and problems grow every time I turn my back to take a deep breath! So, what do we do with it? We won’t get rid of it, but we need to handle it and protect ourselves from its bad effects. And we need to learn to manage it.

One of the most important sentences I have ever been taught is very short.

The sentence is, “No.”

And “no “is a complete sentence.

“No, thank you.” Is also a complete sentence, and maybe a bit more courteous sometimes.

Today I listened to my secretary decline to schedule someone on a day where I had no free appointments. The client was not happy to wait so long and my secretary was very courteous, but I was struggling, looking for that “YES!” I could not have done that as easily as Amanda did; that in me is also called codependency; and I am blessed to have Amanda to help keep my schedule, livable for me.

Some things are important not to forget: like a new medication or an important appointment. Set your phone alarm to tell you when it is time to leave, or to take that pill.

When our lives become too stressful, our brains and hormones go wild. Dopamine is used to turn cortisol into adrenalin; now we have the energy to push on through, but we lose the good feelings dopamine could give us.

So, what can we do on high stress days?

First, follow your food plan! Tell yourself you will discuss eating after these problems are solved.

Second, get more fluid. A nice big glass of cold water. Then a cup of hot herbal tea (Stress Relief by Sleepytime Teas is my favorite).  And five or ten deep slow breaths. Push them out thru pursed lips so they inflate your lungs more completely. Repeat these as often as you need to.

Third, sit down quietly (or turn off the car radio) and ask your Own Inner Core of Wisdom how you are going to handle this. If you have a Higher Power you trust, invite him/her to help. Sit quietly if you can, read a meditation book if you can, safely, look to the Universe for peace and guidance.

If time permits, call a trusted recovery ally (or three) and ask for help, opinions, guidance. Is there a professional who could help? Your doctor, lawyer, therapist, accountant, or maybe even your favorite dietitian? Talk to other people you trust.

Speak kindly to yourself. Abstain from mental blaming, shaming, or self-abuse.

Now, another deep breath. What do you need to DO to handle this? Can it be handled or does it need to be accepted as is?

Do you have time for a nap? When we are in the most stressful situations, we need regular rest and sleep. If you have not created this already in your recovery practice, begin now.

Decisions. This week I had a decision to make. I knew what I WANTED to do; my husband, daughter, sponsor, and best friend said NO to that idea. Now I have found another way to handle it. If I had followed what I WANTED to do, I would have made the situation even more difficult.

And sometimes these struggles are not going to go away today, and we have to plan for longer term solutions. Marty Lerner, PhD who started the rehab Milestones in Recovery, has a short form for long term self care and recovery :  SMERF:   Spirituality, Meetings, Exercise, Rest and Food Plan. As we plan these into our day, we see the good results.

And put a priority on being available for yourself – reduce or remove the other high stress stuff and focus on YOU and what YOU want and need as much as possible.

What do you do on stressful days and in stressful life situations?

I suspect I should write about food a little more often.  What food questions would you like answered in this blog?

Food Addiction Institute is doing podcasts with various experts, and one of them is with Michael Prager, one of my favorite people.  His recovery story is incredible and powerful.  Here is the link to the podcast:

https://www.foodaddictioninstitute.org/podcast/episode/e6f1d312/i-was-an-unhappy-fat-boy-today-im-a-joyful-thin-man

2 Responses to STRESS!!

  1. Kara Marziali February 14, 2024 at 11:57 pm #

    Oh, I desperately needed this message today Theresa! Thank you for validating how hectic life can get and for emphasizing the need for self care when I get overwhelmed. Thank you for reminding me that I have the option (and the right!) to say no. Thank you for spreading your special brand of LOVE on Valentine’s Day! “As Always” Kara

    • H. Theresa Wright February 26, 2024 at 11:39 pm #

      Thank you so much Kara,
      I’m so glad I could help you!
      Valentine’s Love,
      Theresa

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