So here's the deal friends, lately, I've been putting some serious thought into how stress impacts my body. It's no secret that my body has had issues with stress in the past, there's a whole Instagram highlight reel of my stress-related injuries but I don't think I really realized what was happening to my body in those situations.
99% of us work at some form of desk/screen combo, have you ever considered how that setup works with your body?
I'll be honest I really didn't think about it, I went to work, did my thing and went home without really understanding that my desk, chair and even the way I sit and carry myself were impacting how my muscles work. And slowly but surely my body started giving little hints it was struggling. Let's run down some super fun symptoms shall we?
- golfball-sized cyst in my wrist
- tingles down my left arm
- loss of feeling in my fingers
- chronically tight shoulder muscles
- general exhaustion
- breakdown in mental health
- acid reflux and stomach issues
Super fun right! Little did I know that all these bits and pieces all could be traced back to one source - STRESS! My doctors, RMTs and physiotherapists could treat the symptoms but I was the only one who could treat the source, and ya'll that's hard to do.
Sometimes it feels like stress is as much a part of our daily lives as breathing and eating but it doesn't have to be and it's amazing how much my life changed when I started making changes to help decrease stress. Those symptoms I listed up there, most are totally gone or are on their way out and that to me is telling on just how crucial stress management is.
So what did I do you ask? Well here's a few things that worked for me and a few special shout outs for the people who helped me along the way
- Change your job. We spend a LOT of our life working and we deserve to be working in a job we like and that isn't causing us to breakdown.
- a quick note on this one, I know this isn't an easy one to do. Not everyone can change jobs and good jobs are hard to come by, but it never hurts to look and to keep feelers out for opportunities that might help you live your best life
- Get good doctors. I've been very lucky in that I've had a fabulous doctor for years (and she hooked me up with a great one where I live now as well), but doctors are there to help you so you want to make sure you trust the person you're seeing for your health. My doctor referred me to everyone under the sun to try and help with my symptoms and I'm grateful that she took me at my word and got me the people I needed to at least take the edge off the issue.
- again a little note here, I live in Canada with benefits through work and health care is amazing
- Meditate, do yoga, find inner peace...or eat a damn cupcake. It's ok to treat yourself if you feel lousy. I love yoga and I'm trying to get better at meditation but honestly, I really do it to unpack the shit in my head and reorganize my brain. Taking the time to focus on nothing helps you focus on everything else. And on really bad pain days I would order fried chicken and a slice of cheesecake and that made me feel a bit better too. It's about balance and doing what works for you.
- Find your people. Surround yourself with people who love and care about you, people who give a shit if you're ok. Your life will be better for it trust me.
- Journal. Let your brain explode on a page in a notebook, on your walls or in a blog (hello friends ;) ). You don't have to show anyone, just let yourself spew out your thoughts and feelings somewhere without judgement it really helps get a handle on the things impacting your life.
- Remember it's ok not to be ok. That's it, just remember that it's ok to feel things and to not be ok sometimes. Find your center, take a breath and take a step forward. You got this.
- When in doubt dance it out. Seriously a 30-second dance party works wonders. no lie.
What do you do to manage stress? How has stress impacted you? It's something that's been in my brain for a while so I'd love to know what you do! Leave me a comment, dm me, hit me up with your ideas! Let's share together and get better together!