Here’s a guest post from one of our clients, who believes she beat a stressful period of her life by making simple lifestyle changes. She is a very compassionate and empathetic individual who was forthcoming in sharing her stress story and success with lifestyle management, hoping she can guide people who are looking to change their life to the better like she did.
In her own words:
It was the fall of 2016 and I had fallen into shut-down mode. I vividly remember that state – I felt as if I had nothing more to give to life and nothing seemed like it would ever change for the better. I had lost my steady boyfriend to a road accident four months ago, had two affairs on the rebound already (that resulted in nothing but more tears), and my job that already sucked big time was about to be chopped – the company I worked for had been acquired by a big retail group and they no longer required direct channel salespersons like myself. I had been surviving on cheap takeaway food for months and during one ‘crying myself to sleep’ session at night, the realization that I was perpetually stressed dawned on me. And suddenly everything became crystal clear – the reason behind frequent fights with boyfriend, inability to hold on to job/relationships, lack of interest in most things, etc. I was constantly worried about the future, without actually doing anything at all to improve it or even live in the present. I did reach out for chamomile tea, massage oil, and slept facing downward when I felt my stress levels were high but off late, these stress busters failed to cut it effectively for me.
I knew I had to change my life around and that it would require changing my lifestyle upside down. But I was extremely tired of the perpetual stressed feeling and more determined than ever to take the monster by its horns this time. Here’s what I did:
#1 Followed a routine: There’s nothing like a routine to see you through bad days and make the good ones better. A proper routine makes it possible to get loads done in the same time as you don’t waste precious hours and energy procrastinating. My routine involved getting up early in the morning (I’ve always loved being a morning person and stress was taking that away from me), going for a walk, eating healthy, followed by the daily grind of job hunting (its serious work!) and evenings mandatorily included either a hobby (guitar sessions/zumba/clay molding) or a 30-minute meditation session.
#2 Ate right and started cooking at home more often: Emotional eating was a big part about my reaction to stress. I ate sugar-laden chocolates and brownies at odd times, felt guilty, and then ate some more (I realized my pattern after a friend sent me this link http://dailyburn.com/life/health/how-to-stop-stress-eating/). As for meals, I was often so sleep deprived due to constant stress that the thought of cooking a near decent meal was enough to push me out of the kitchen and towards ordering takeaway. When I began my makeover, I gave away all the stock I had of chocolates, brownies, cakes to friends and replaced that with fresh fruits, vegetables, juices, and cereal in my kitchen. Armed with super cool cooking apps on my mobile, my journey towards eating healthy began and I am loving it every day! Another plus – I’m able to save considerable money that I previously wasted on eating out frequently.
#3 I started disconnecting, often: One of the very important rules to keep stress at bay, I learnt this one from my meditation mentor who said “If you are available 24×7 for work, family, friends, etc., you are exposing yourself to a multitude of stressors that make it difficult to renew your personal energies (mental, physical, and emotional).” I now disconnect – electronically, physically, as well as mentally from everything else at least once a week, to be able to truly connect to my inner self and rejuvenate from within.
#4 I began outsourcing my work and life: There were so many unnecessary parts of my professional and personal life that could easily be done without my doing them. Tasks that I hated, yet couldn’t do without – gardening, shopping for groceries, home cleaning, giving and picking up clothes from the dry cleaner’s, taking Jojo my dog for vaccination and periodic grooming sessions – the list was endless. When I saw my friend Sarah delegating all such tasks and more to her dedicated personal virtual assistant (imagine, the VA arranged a surprise birthday party for Sarah’s son Maddox to perfection without actually being here in Michigan at all!), I realized what I had been missing in life all along. After some misses, I found Habiliss (I compared VAs here https://www.virtualassistantassistant.com/lowest-cost-virtual-assistant-services) and boy! Am I stress free now that I know someone has my back always!
#5 I learnt to let go: Beyond a point, there’s no sense in running after that coveted work assignment or that guy who though checks all the boxes on your list of prospective dates but hardly has time to care for you. Fight for what you believe is yours or should be, but know when to stop overdoing it. Some things and some people are just not meant to be a part of your life and though it may hurt badly to give up (try these tricks to beat anxiety and fear in such situations http://www.businessinsider.in/15-scientific-tricks-to-beat-stress-anxiety-and-fear/articleshow/51017736.cms), it is ultimately the best option. Beating oneself up against destiny never won freedom from stress for anyone.
My journey to attaining and enjoying freedom from stress has taught me a lot about life in general. With stress out, I have made tons of room for fun, laughter, and relaxation in my life and feel grateful for this second innings of life.