When I first got married my husband would always say “Wow, you really are addicted to stress.” My response has always been the same “No, I just get bored and like to keep busy.” But the truth is I am an addict. A stress addict. It has taken me 48 years to realize this. I think when you are raised in a family with high stress levels you tend to crave that lifestyle. Your body releases adrenaline in stressful situations and that becomes addicting. Stress is similar to exercise but there is no health benefit. In fact, it can lead to many health issues like weight gain, depression, headaches and heart disease according to WebMD (WebMD Stress Related Information)
In my opinion, children that grow up in households suffering from alcoholism, abuse, over scheduling, higher stress levels and intense behaviors are more prone to becoming ‘stress junkies’. I grew up in a high stress household. Because of this I find myself wanting to keep busy and always on the move. It is hard for me to just hang out and relax. The exception is a rainy day or if I am just mentally exhausted. When things are calm and under control I tend to get bored. I need a hit of that stress adrenaline. So, I find a project to start or some other form of stress inducing activity. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
I recently went to my doctor to discuss my inability to focus lately and increased anxiety. Of course I chalked it up to motherhood and age. My doctor had me go online and take a test. The result of this test was surprising to me. Apparently I have some level of ADD and have learned over the years to overcompensate for it by being hyper focused and over organized in several areas of my life. These coping skills have only added to my feelings of stress and anxiety. When things are calm I feel like I am forgetting something or that I am not being productive.
So, how do you break the cycle? I have been exploring different ways to destress!
My first step was to eliminate 5 things that cause me the most angst:
-Discontent with my job
-Over scheduling myself
-Decreased physical activity due to over scheduling myself
-Overthinking and sweating the small stuff
Next, I needed to fill the voids of those stress inducing habits and incorporate some stress relieving habits into my day:
-Exercise of any kind. For me yoga or walking help
-Trying new and healthy whole foods
-Time outside embracing God’s beauty
-Time with friends- the ones that love you unconditionally
-And yes, my essential oils! They enhance my day, immune system and mental health.
These baby steps have really made a difference in my psyche. Although I have more growth on the horizons I think back to the words of my dear friend ….”Life is a journey and not a race.”
My journey has brought me to this very moment.
Thank you for being part of that journey.