“Today, whatever is good for your soul, do that.”Author Unknown
Sometimes life gives us surprises and that is okay…most of the time. There are times when it feels overwhelming. It may not even be a big deal, but it feels that way. Sometimes it really does become a big deal because of one small nugget that pushes us over the edge.
Everyday “stuff” piles up and we keep pushing through it, telling ourselves it will be okay. Then there is one day, a small moment in time, when it is just too much. Our resolve to just keep pushing comes tumbling down.
You have a lot of responsibilities and you are so busy. You have a great attitude and you are happy. You love your life. You love your family, your job, and all of your day to day activities.
You are making it work. You are tired but that’s okay, it’s all worth it. That’s what you tell yourself and you are right, it is worth it.
The question is, can you keep doing it when one more thing is added to your pile of “stuff”. Can you? Hopefully. But what if you can’t?
You may not realize you are feeling stress. When you operate on overload day in and day out, it feels normal. You don’t want to acknowledge that something could go wrong. Even when there might be little niggling doubts circling around in your peripheral vision. If you do not recognize it, it is not really there.
Some people thrive on stress because it pushes them to be more productive. But how much stress can you handle?
That’s a good question, one that is difficult to answer and will be different for everyone.
How will you realize when enough is enough? When will you recognize it is becoming too much? There will be signs. You may have been experiencing them for some time, not realizing what they were. Those little niggling doubts, that you chose to ignore.
What are some of the possible signs? Here they are:
Fatigue – it is one thing to be tired, you are used to that, it is normal. Fatigue is something different. When you are tired, which happens to everyone, a good night’s sleep will usually take care of the problem. You wake up refreshed and with energy. Fatigue is overwhelming. A good’s night sleep will not eliminate fatigue. You may find that, although you are so very tired, it is difficult to sleep. You may develop anxiety, have difficulty concentrating,and experience a decrease in stamina.
Headaches – when you are stressed your body may react by increased muscle tension. Stress can also cause your body to release chemicals which dilate your blood vessels causing a headache.
Sickness – Your immune system can be affected by your stress level. You may be at an increased risk of multiple colds which may lead to respiratory infections. Sniffles become normal, and you blame them on allergies, but they may be a result of stress.
Digestive issues – I know this one well. I was experiencing a stressful situation and all those niggling doubts all cascaded at once. I developed IBS, Irritable Bowl Syndrome. It was excruciating, embarrassing and very inconvenient. Having IBS was stressful which, of course, made it worse.
Appetite – Stress has an impact on your eating habits. You may lose your interest in food and lose weight, or go in the opposite direction and eat when you are not hungry. Many people eat to attempt to make themselves feel better.
Anxiety – Anxiety is a person’s reaction to stress. It is not a physical reaction so much as an internal or mental response. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event, or something with an uncertain outcome. Let’s face it, we may all experience anxiety on some level, like when you have to give a speech, or you are having an interview. That is normal and it is okay. It is when anxiety becomes excessive and recurring that it becomes a problem. It is a concern, and considered a disorder when it is severe and lasts for an extended length of time.
“I was a little excited but mostly blorft. “Blorft” is an adjective I just made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.”― Tina Fey, Bossypants
We all know about stress on some level, but none of us want it to become overwhelming. None of us wants to live a life filled with the negative, mind numbing issues listed above. What can you do to get back to your “feel good” place? How do we nourish our soul?
You may be wondering about “soul”. How do your define it? There are many theories about what the soul is, and what entity has a soul. Do humans, animal, earth, etc.? I won’t attempt to discuss that here. As far as humans are concerned I do believe we have a soul. It is your essence. It is not physical, you cannot see it. It is more ethereal consciousness, an awareness of ourselves, our energy and emotions.
Here are some ways to feed our soul:
Breathe – We rarely think of our breathing. It is an involuntary action, automatic. We rarely think of it, but on some level we should. Make it a practice a few times a day to stop, and just breathe. Think about the movement and relax into it. It will calm you and make you feel better.
Smile – Smile often and mean it. When you smile there are all sorts of good neurotransmitters activated that make you happy and relieve stress.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”—Thich Nhat Hanh
Be Still – Stop, be quiet, Rest and take time to listen to yourself. Listen to you soul. What is it telling you? Find a quiet, restful spot. Somewhere peaceful. Sit in the shade of a tree, look at the sky, watch your child sleep. Let yourself go and find peace. Learn meditation and practice it, if for only a few moments each day.
Go outside – I have mentioned many times before, being outside is my happy spot. It will calm me each and every time. Take a walk, go to the park. Take a ride in the country, some place where it is quiet and little traffic.
Spend special time with special people – Your family and the people your always feel good being with. Spend quality time, have a quiet conversation and be sure to smile and tell them how important they are to you. Give out more hugs!
Music – music soothes your soul. It is relaxing, refreshing and can transport you to a calm contentment. Everyone has a different type of favorite music. Sing along, maybe dance, and let the music work it’s magic.
Read – Transport yourself into another world by reading a bit of fiction. I love Science Fiction, Fantasy and a good Mystery. Relax and read, if it is just one chapter a day, it will make you feel better.
There are many things you can do to feed your soul and you need to do it each and every day. You also need to recognize when you need to make some changes to eliminate the cause of any stress.
It is important to take a step back and look at the cause and effect. It may be time to make some important changes in your life. Life is short and it is precious. Do not let stress ruin how you experience life. Accept how you feel, that you are stressed and that it is negatively affecting you. Start making changes.
“Let your joy be in your journey—not in some distant goal.”—Tim Cook
As always, thank you for reading my blog. Don’t be “Blorft”, relax and do something joyful today.