Stress management has been on the top of my list for the last few months, and I've finally made it the priority it deserves. I know that all of this cortisol coursing around in my body isn't good on several levels (contributing to higher blood pressure, hyperglycemia, impaired cognitive function ... wait, what was I saying?) and I can't let this go on any longer without making considerable efforts to change.
So, I'm taking on the Stress Management Six. My ways of dealing with the chaos that comes along with ... life, it seems.
1. Better Manage My Time. Between work, personal projects, and the wedding, I often feel overwhelmed by the tasks that need to be done and instead of tackling the "to do" list, I end up intimidating and spinning my wheels. I need to really isolate the things that need to be done and prioritize them appropriately. Do I really need to update my Twitter status every day? No. But do I need to make sure that the wedding invite list is completed by next week? Yes. Knowing what truly takes priority and not assigning myself too many tasks can help make better use of my time.
2. Sleep. Oh blessed sleep. I have a tendency to stay up too late, throwing off my whole mindset for the next day. More sleep is pivotal to achieving a lowered stress level. So I'm buying new pillows. And mushing my face into them for at least 7 hours a night for starters, aiming for 8 once I get closer to the wedding. Part of getting more sleep also means cutting waaaaaay back on the caffeine. I'm used to be a four-cup-a-dayer, but I'm trying to cut back. Over the last month, I've worked my way down to two cups, and this week it has only been one cup of tea a day. I'll eventually switch to decaf tea, I think. Weaning off the caffeine will help lower stress, help me sleep, and keep my brain from imploding due to the jitters. (I'm like Tweek from South Park when I have too much coffee.)
3. Meditation. After speaking with my doctor this week and describing the anxiety and stress issues I've been wrangling with for a few months, she strongly suggested a meditation class to help keep me centered and help me let go of the things in my life that are tossing me into the spin cycle. So I'm currently looking for a meditation class near my office or house. (Which, here in Western CT - aka Soccer Mom Central - shouldn't be that hard. It's all the rage to sit on a yoga mat and breath deeply these days.)
4. Breathing Exercises. Even if I'm trying my best to avoid stressors, they will still find me. (They have some kind of honing device, I think.) I need to find ways to deal in the heat of the moment. I've found some breathing techniques that I can use while I'm, oh, say sitting in traffic, watching the email inbox total climb into the stratosphere, or for those moments when I mash my hand in the bathroom cabinet by accident.
5. Disconnect From The Internet. I spend entirely way too much time on the computer, especially for someone who is completely social and chatty. It's unnatural for me! When I am at work, almost all of my day involves the monstrous computer screen (I do so enjoy the WorkMac, though), but I need to make more of a habit of disconnecting when I go home at night. Usually, my evening includes the gym, dinner, and then more computer work. Chris and I are resolving to spend less time online in the evening and more time hanging out. Work can't suffer and tasks need to be completed, but being online all day and all night doesn't do much for my stress levels. I need a freaking break.
6. Take A Freaking Break. Lately, I've been mostly work and not enough play. ENOUGH OF THAT. I am young, healthy, and part of a wonderful network of friends and family. I'm resolving to spend more time with my friends and less time mucking around on work-related items. Last weekend was nice, spending it exploring a new city. This weekend, Chris and I are tucking ourselves away into a bed and breakfast - no cell phones, no internet, and no tasks. And next weekend, I have some fun plans with friends on tap. Life is going by so quickly these days - I need to take some time to actually enjoy it and make some memories.
So the plan is way less stress, which should have a positive impact on my diabetes and my overall health in general. And if that doesn't work, I may have to move permanently into a hut on the side of a mountain. Only it will have running water. And a wireless connection. ;)
Have a stress-free weekend and I'll catch you, all mellow and whatnot, on the flip side. Yo.