Summer has been about re-evaluating my stress and commitments. I have been learning what stress is and how to know if I am stressed. It is not as easy as you might think.
I like a lot of things. I have always been like that. What comes with that type of person is the constant feeling of being pulled in a handful of directions mentally. It causes me to forget my end goal (which is buried deep under all of my other goals), to have a hard time being present, and to always be in GO mode (I can do more!).
Imagine a plastic grocery bag carrying fist size rocks. Each rock represents something or someone you feel responsible for/to. Such as your friends, job, health, or family. These rocks are not bad things, just things or people you have a responsibility for/to. Each rock brings it’s own weight and makes the plastic grocery bag weak in parts as it stretches, potentially completely ripping.
Maybe we do not know when we are stressed because we do not know what is causing us stress? That’s why this analogy is eye opening to me. The word stress feels negative. We hear it being used in ways such as, “you’re stressing me out..this deadline is stressful.” But positive things can be stressful too.
To say your stressed does not mean you are weak or that you cannot handle it.
I had big plans for summer planning Hope Collective Retreat. A weekend getaway for women who’ve experienced the death of a parent and wanted to dive deeper into their grief and healing journey. But instead, my stress was asking for attention. Earlier this year I had 3 doctors ask me to look at the things in my life that are causing me stress. Apparently I needed to get it under control. I thought about it for a whole minute because I did not want to come to the conclusion that, simply, stress was causing these certain physical symptoms to pop up. That would mean I’m weak (or so I told myself). I felt responsible to too many things. I had many ideas and goals and ultimately I didn’t want to admit that I could not do them all. (Which is why Hope Collective Retreat did not happen, but I plan on doing it in the future).
The final time I was asked to look at my stress I actually did. I prayed about it, talked to my husband and a friend, and cut out “noise”. Shortly after that, the physical symptoms I was experiencing went away. Stress?
Things I asked myself:
- What is my goal?
- How do I get there?
- What can just be a hobby?
Re-evaluate your stress:
- Can you take out any of the rocks?
- What is priority? Say “no” more often. Get back to the basics.
- Are you holding on to a rock that is not yours to begin with?
- Who said that it is yours to worry about?
- Can you make a rock smaller?
- Let go a little more, care a little less.
Simplify your rocks.