Because I was never taught how to handle stress in a healthy manner, I have been sharing tools, tips, strategies and ways on stress management for years in hopes to help others avoid the burnout I experienced.
Two important things you must understand about stress: 1) We will always have stress! We never arrive and conquer all stress because life is stress. 2) Stress can do wicked things to you if you don’t mange it well. I recently vlogged about stress brain, which I’ve had for a couple of months. It feels as if you are losing your mind! You become forgetful and distracted because of stress. I have been combating it, and one of the ways has been to be gentle on myself.
Like Scarlett O’Hara said in the movie, Gone with the Wind, “I will think about that tomorrow.” Since Scarlett was a bit of a brat, this line can appear to be lazy and whiny like she is avoiding her responsibilities and procrastinating. Well, if you have seen the classic tale of the South, you know she ends up being humbled and beaten down, but her spirit remains in tact. And one of the ways she coped was by not worrying about tomorrow because she had enough to deal with today.
I love yoga for that very reason – it is a discipline that forces us to be present at this very moment in time. We aren’t in the past or future; we are in the present. Breathing and meditating certainly help with stress, but sometimes, we still get overwhelmed. I have learned to embrace Scarlett’s mantra, and when things are going hard or not coming together, I simply say, “I’ll revisit that tomorrow.” How many times have I sat at my computer and banged my head against my desk with computer glitches and issues? More than I can count, and it got me nowhere. It was completely unproductive. I really do believe there is a time to walk away and try again.
Sometimes stepping away and coming back to a problem allows us to gain a fresh perspective we would have missed otherwise. We can try to force creativity but sometimes it just doesn’t come. Table it. Do something completely different and try again later or tomorrow. Some of my most creative moments are when I have given up and gone for a hike or run. When I am not focusing on it but rather breathing in and out while exercising, the solutions or creative element floats in on a gentle breeze. Boom – there it is! Ninety-percent of my poems were given to me by God when I wasn’t expecting it.
From a spiritual perspective, we must allow space for God to speak, move, and work in and through us. This cannot happen if we don’t sometimes walk away and let go of our preconceived notions and ideas. Most of my vlogs and blog ideas are given to me at unusual times like while I’m showering or walking the dog. If I was to sit down and decide I needed to blog, it would go must harder and slower.
If you are struggling with a major decision or feel utterly stuck on a project, follow Scarlett O’Hara’s lead and think about that tomorrow for tomorrow is another day! And if you want to carve out time to clear your head, breath, meditate and stretch, my Yoga with Lorraine DVD is an excellent tool for just that. You get two programs: one gentle stretching and more strengthening.