Let’s talk about stress, baby

I recently came across this video in my internet travels:

Stress is not glamorous.

Back when I was working retail, I was the most stressed I have ever been for every reason you can fathom, including not being able to find a job that required my master’s degree. (Pity party of one, please?) I gained 20 pounds, I had trouble sleeping, I was irritable and grumpy AF, and I had periods of severe depression and anxiety.

The weight I gained caused my cholesterol to skyrocket. I was also sighing a lot- I literally could not breathe. When I couldn’t sleep I would refuse to get out of bed, lying in the dark listening to my mind whir. When I did sleep, I would snooze my alarm for hours if I had nowhere to be that day. I would eat my feelings (and I would annihilate bags of veggie chips.) My body was trying its damndest to raise every red flag it had, but I wasn’t paying attention. I was too busy being a hot mess to realize that I needed to do something.

Eventually I figured it out (after almost two years), and I started this blog. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?

Today, I’m not necessarily less stressed, but I have learned to pay attention. To my body, to my moods, to my eating habits, to my cravings. I still experience stress (because I am a living human being (with an admittedly overactive amygdala)), but I am so much better at dealing with it.

And 75% of that is just being able to recognize the feeling of being stressed. If I know I am stressed, I can be gentle with myself when I struggle, and give myself a healthy outlet for all of my feeeeelings. Like reading, or going for a walk, or meditating, or watching an episode or two of something on Netflix, or getting a big, all encompassing hug from Mack. You know, the kind that makes you want to cry because you feel so safe and free to be quite frankly, vulnerable. (Here’s a really great article on ways to combat stress and anxiety with mindfulness. )

The moral of this story? Pay attention to your body. Check in regularly, and be kind to yourself if you find you are struggling. You are human, and you are going to be okay.

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