Hey. It’s been a while.
Let me explain.
I’ve been through some nerve-racking situations in my life. Like you, I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve been broke, and I have broken things and rendered them unfixable. This = uninvited stress. And up until this point, I’ve been able to deal – sometimes not very well, but I’ve been able to pull myself up and regain balance and see brightness where I genuinely thought it was impossible.
In the past, I’ve been able to burn some incense, make an enormous salad, bake, write or run – and the weight of the stress lessened and dissipated. Not this time.
This past month or so has been rocky. And admittedly, for a minute there – I lost myself. (Karma Poliiiiiice …) A stressful and emotional situation got to me and instead of keeping my head above water, I sunk. (This explains the cigarette cravings exactly 1 year, 9 months and 24 days after my quit date)
And I can feel it physically – which I’ve never felt before. My body aches and I’m SO tired. I feel sick to my stomach. I’m getting headaches. Exercise has fallen to the wayside. This. Is. Stress. I’m burning out.
Why is this time SO MUCH HARDER? I’m trying to figure that out. I’m thinking:
1. I have friends here in Toronto – amazing, supportive friends. But I’m still new. And there’s still that “Well, I don’t want to be a burden…” feeling. I don’t have that tight knit group of leaning posts (yet) that knocked on my back door in Winnipeg and chilled with me on my porch until I calmed down.
2. Alcohol doesn’t fix things. Particularly in a state of emotional distress, your body rejects it – mentally and physically. Never forget that it is indeed a depressant.
3. Sometimes you have to let your guard down and be weak. You have to let yourself cry. This year has been full of major events – a move to a new city, my Dad in the hospital, a new job – even when you’re tough on the outside, these things are TAKING A TOLL on the inside.
4. I don’t have a freaking clue how to relax. It was discussed at work the other day (in the most compassionate of ways): Griff, you just need to chill. And that’s when I realized – I don’t know how. I’m not the kind of person to binge on Netflix or unwind with a bubble bath. I don’t know how to turn off my brain. That gets dangerous. I need to find something that levels me out that I can actually do.
It’s a shame that I’ve only started realizing how stressed / emotionally exhausted I am now that I can physically feel it – and it’s late, but not too late. And last week, that scene popped into my head from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory:
“Wait a minute. Strike that. And reverse it.”
These are the steps (that I’m taking) to do so.
1. More water. I drink a lot of water as it is but DOUBLE that. Your organs need water to function properly. Dehydration puts stress on your organs. Hydrate. Limit alcohol – (I’m trying my hardest to limit caffeine, but ..) This won’t cure everything, but it will definitely reduce the magnitude of that weight.
2. Communication. Ever shake a can of soda for a looooooong time then finally open it? No good. Bottling feelings up isn’t good for anyone. Whether it’s venting to a friend, a therapist (I’m a firm believer that everyone should have one), or even to the individual who is the direct root of your issue, have at ‘er.
3. Nutrients. What you ingest has a profound influence on how you feel. A balanced diet will help you stay focused, alert, energetic, and healthy during times of stress. Think foods that are nutrient dense. Think vegetables.
4. Sleep. I’m a recovering (+ diagnosed) insomniac. I know the effects of no sleep. Say no to something. Get into bed early. Your body will thank you.
5. Make “me time” – be creative. FIND YOU. Remember you. This city is big and this city is busy. This city is always go, go, go and I don’t think I’ve stopped since I landed – 7 months ago?? But guess what? You don’t always have to go. You don’t always have to be on. The city will wait. There will be more shows. Those restaurants will still be there (if not, there will be a better one in its place) People will understand. Ground yourself again and locate your creativity – God knows I’m trying to pull mine up from the ashes.
6. Move. Exercise. Endorphins are magical little chemicals that boost your spirits just by working your body! My boyfriend constantly checks with me, “How are your levels?” It’s important we are in tune with our bodies and keep these levels as high as we can. I’ve recently discovered Spin Class and there is nothing like the high after leaving one of those sessions. Also, this ClassPass thing is rocking my world – tomorrow I’m gonna try some hot yoga on my own.
7. Music. Need I say more? Lifeblood. Lately, it’s Jason Collett. It’s fixing me.
So there you have it. I’m admitting that I’ve been weak – I’m human. And guess what? That’s okay. Now it’s time to stand back up and knock it out of the park for the rest of 2015. Any of your tips, tricks, tales of personal experience – all welcome. Expect more posts – for my sanity. 🙂