I have always felt like stressful situations come in groups. It’s not just that you’re having a flare-up, it’s that it’s happening just when your work project is due.
As things pile on, it is easy to get caught in a cycle of chronic stress. Especially with illness, which is a form of stress all its own, it takes very little to begin feeling overwhelmed.
How do you know when you’ve gotten there? Many times, you’ll just know. You’ll hear an ominous voice in your head say, “If one more thing happens, I’m going to lose it.” Other times it’s more subtle: a stubborn kink in your neck that returns day after day.
That’s why I’m writing this post: I’ve had the neck kink. I’ve got lots going on with my heath (doctor’s appointment this week) and promoting the book. I noticed some tension building, and as is my policy, I started addressing it right away: I took Friday afternoon off, got a massage and recommitted to daily meditation. Now that the kink is gone, I know now isn’t the time to let up. When things get busy, that is when we need to practice self-care the most.
Here are the warning signs that it’s time for a chronic break from stress:
- You haven’t been sleeping well : Tossing and turning. Odd dreams. Can’t fall asleep. Can’t stay asleep.
- You’re getting colds, the flu or flair ups. Chronic stress dampens our immune system which makes us extra vulnerable.
- You’re feeling overwhelmed or things seem hopeless, but you can’t get up the energy to take action.
- You’ve been obsessing about something: A conversation. A deadline. The past. A doctor. A diagnosis. This is our attempt at controlling something we can’t control. Our mind looks at every possible angle, 100 times each, hoping to make things turn out how we want them too.
- You’re easily upset. All of a sudden triggers are everywhere. You find yourself crying, angry or sad for over small things that don’t normally impact you.
Do you notice any warning signs of chronic stress in your own life? If so, share this article…much appreciated, order a copy of Chronic Resilience…even more appreciated, then turn off your computer, close your eyes, take a deep breath, again, again and again…