Remembering to relieve your stress

The following can help anyone as everyone lives with some level of stress; however, I write this with moms and moms-to-be in mind and close to my heart because, well, I love pregnancy and believe that it can be used as a gateway to learning about ourselves.

Stress is a huge part of our daily lives. For some of us, being stress-free comes natural — for the most part, you’re born like this if it does — but for the majority of us, it takes practice. Daily practice. For me, it’s not easy and has never been easy. I have an extensive relationship with depression and anxiety, and if I’ve learned anything from the years of being in this relationship, simply writing about practicing to calm down leaves me in the same position I started in, stressed out.

If you’re pregnant, it is crazy how easy it is to feel stressed. The hormones. The changes. Add creating a child and attempting to wrap your brain around the fact that you’re going to be responsible for another human being plus you … this is like the icing on the stress cake whether or not it’s a planned pregnancy. I completely “get it”. You are not alone. Let me say that again because it seems like I can’t hear that enough when I’m stressed, you are not alone!

Advising someone to practice stress-relief is not enough. It reminds me of when I look up a word in the dictionary and the word is part of the definition, it is frustrating and causes more questions! I wish to share with you one way you could practice stress-relieving tactics every day without overwhelming yourself with having to remember to practice.

What you will need:

  • An index card
  • A pen
  • A marker

What to do: 

  • With the pen, make a list of 3-5 actions that you can do to relax on one side of the index card. They can be as simple as breathing, closing your eyes, or stretching.
  • Review your list and make sure that at least one of the actions can be done anywhere. If you don’t have one that can be done anywhere, think of one and write it down.
  • From the actions you’ve written down, choose one and write it on the blank side of the index card with the marker.
  • Place the index card somewhere out of sight, but in a place that you’ll randomly see daily — marker side facing up. Examples of where to store the card: passenger seat of your car, in your kitchen’s silverware drawer, next to your television’s remote control, near the “on” button of your computer.
  • Whenever you come across the index card, practice the action — stressed or not. I recommend to occasionally pick up the index card and look at the pen-written side. When you do, try and be grateful that you have options. Gratitude changes perspective.

This is only one idea of how to practice relieving stress. I am cognizant that this one way will not work for everyone. I understand everyone has different needs. There are many more ways, and I’ll make sure to share them as I discover them.

I know it can be overwhelming, but remember that you aren’t alone and there is a community out there waiting to welcome you and provide you support. All it takes it reaching out for help. I am here for you. I see you and honor your space.

Cheers to helping each other cut stress out of our lives!

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And then there are days where stress looks you right in the face and says, “Nope, I win today.” Just like my Nuggets. Ha!

A powerful tool

I discovered a powerful tool a couple nights ago. A tool that allowed me to experience absolute love and gratitude for myself. I have never experienced a love for myself like this. I know what wholehearted, totally-invested love for others feels like as I love my better half and children this way, but for myself, never. This is why I find this tool to be so powerful. I discovered a way to love myself entirely.

Before I go any further, I’d like to put my intentions out there. It is important to me that whoever cares to read my words knows my intentions in sharing my daily experiences. I share my experiences and how they make me feel, reflect, and grow because I believe it will help someone. Someone out there is in a funk, and maybe my experiences will inspire something in them to enjoy life a little bit more. See, for me it’s like trial and error, a review on what works for me and what doesn’t.

So, what’s the tool? Acknowledgment of every bone and muscle on my body in a hot shower.

I discovered this tool thanks to my period. I got my first menstrual period postpartum with Z Nugg the day after her first birthday. It was perfect and special, and I’m not being sarcastic. It was perfect because of the day it happened, it was as if my body was like “Woohoo, no more baby! Let me show you that you can still make more!” And, it was special because my body felt the opposite of perfect and special. Let me explain.

I mentioned in a previous post that Z Nugg has shown me the grace to be a more conscious mother. She truly has. My daughter’s birth was what inspired me to become educated about my body and to care for a more conscious life in my own skin instead of wanting to be in the skin of another.

In not physically feeling my best (because of my period), I chose to focus on what was going on instead of what I was feeling. Understanding that my menstrual period is a vital sign, a sign that I am healthy, helped my focus. My lower back was aching and my body was tired from the day’s work. I accepted, acknowledged, and became friends with the discomfort. I invited this discomfort into a hot shower with me and invited it to relax. It was insane to see how discomfort needs love and acknowledgment too. I wouldn’t have known had I only focused on feeling unwell.

After showering myself, I stood in the hot water (being grateful for it as it relaxed my tired body). I started at the top of my head and worked my way down to the bottom of my feet. I massaged my fingers into my muscles hard enough to feel them and their structure against my bones, but light enough not to hurt them. As I massaged my muscles and felt my bones, I approached them by saying, “Oh, hi clavicle!” or “Hello there, armpit!”, spent some time with them, and then moved on by thanking them for their work and existence. I did that to every inch of my body. I brought comfort to parts of my body that don’t feel seen such as the pieces in between my breasts and shoulders. It may sound silly, but I felt sedated after that shower. I don’t think I’ve ever felt a surge of oxytocin like that. The oxytocin I feel when I’m with Josh, or even when I birthed my Nuggets, is different. I feel like I can now say that I wholeheartedly love and accept myself for I have seen myself in a form deeper than just flesh.

You better believe I’ll be doing that at least once a week. Period or not.

Cheers to loving ourselves!

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Day 23 – Yes, yes I am laughing with myself for thinking of this picture.

Would you like me to read to you?

 

Breathing

I have mentioned in the past that I have a queue of posts waiting to be edited and set free, this following post says I created it January of 2015. In reading it, I don’t remember what I was going through, but it’s encouraging to see that I have grown since writing it.

I enjoy reading old posts of mine because I always find good advice. No, I’m not trying to inflate my ego. I invite you to write yourself a letter with some advice today and hide it away to open it a year from now. You’ll find that you’re a wise being too.


Breathing. What seems to be a simple function of daily life is actually not as easy as you think, especially when stress is overpowering your body. Well, it’s true for me at least. It has never come naturally to me to step back from the stress-ridden situation, to look at the bigger picture and realize that this moment causing me to rip my hair out is only a wrinkle in time.  It wasn’t until the chaos that I underwent with my health that I started trying to make a change. It’s unfortunate that as humans we—often times—need a chaotic event for us to wake up and make an important change for the better.

I might have mentioned before, but I’ve been reading a book called Painless Childbirth by Giuditta Tornetta, and it has moved mountains within me. It has brought a peaceful awareness that I never thought could exist within me. It has brought on knowledge that I can have it all, and that I do deserve it all—starting with the calm that my mind needs in order to positively move forward.


I’ve taken a break here because the following doesn’t necessarily flow with the above, but I feel it contains some important information that I’d like to share with you. Unfortunately, I cannot edit it to flow because I am not living this specific situation anymore, but again, I want to share it because I feel that my experiences can (and will) help someone out there.


I am currently learning how to relax every muscle in my body, from my head to my toes.

Take a deep breath the next time you feel frustrated.
Restart yourself by feeling that breath come from the depths of your belly.
As you exhale, feel all of the tension in your muscles just melt away.
Focusing on the melting of the anxiety will help defer your thoughts on the matter at hand. (Well, it’s probably not the matter at hand anymore from the moment you started thinking about throwing your computer out the window—my case.)

Don’t have 10 minutes to regroup? I’ll tell you a little secret, you don’t need to. Seriously. I’m not a doctor or therapist, but I can tell you that taking even a minute or two to push yourself—even just arm’s length—away from whatever you’re doing, close your eyes, and feel yourself exhaling all the drama will do your body good.


And this last part is amazing to me. It makes me really curious about what the situation was in my life at this point because…well, if you’ve been following my journey, you’ll understand.


I’ve been feeling overwhelmingly happy for a few days now. I mean o v e r w h e l m i n g l y HAPPY to the point where I imagine myself running to the top of the tallest mountain and screaming like Tarzan until my voice box pops out. I want to hug everyone and transfer some of this happiness to give my muscles a break, to give my brain a break from all of the thinking I’m doing. I love it, but I want everyone around me to feel the same. I want to use this love, this happiness, this joy to lift you up, so let me know how I can help. I sincerely and wholeheartedly mean that. You know how they say “misery loves company”?  Well, I guess it can stand true for “joy loves company too”. Why not? I don’t want to be the only one jumping for joy.


Cheers to having old writings to learn from!

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Since I’m posting older words, I’ll post an older picture to keep the theme going. This picture was taken by my better half on my 26th birthday–two years ago. I love it because he caught a genuine moment of me laughing away.