I could have been like my Dad.
Laid back. Always calm. Always cool. Never worried.
My dad has such a calm spirit about him. In fact, I can only remember two times in all of my life that I have ever seen my dad angry. One of those times is when my brother and I proceeded to pillow fight while my grandparents were over after my dad told us not to. The other, was an instance where I put a fork covered in peanut butter in the dishwasher. It makes me laugh to think about it, now ... and even then, he wasn't really all that mad.
And worried? Well, to tell you the truth, I've never seen my dad worried. Not once. Not in the slightest. Everything that happens has some kind of logical answer, will fix itself, or isn't really a reason to worry in the first place. I love this about my dad. I know he is level headed and that if I need to talk to someone about a stressful situation, he's my guy.
But I'm not like my dad.
I'm like my mom. And bless her heart, she stresses. But before I elaborate on that, I feel like I need to explain why.
You see, my mom is selfless. She is a people pleaser. She wants everyone to be happy. I can't even tell you how many Holiday Meals have been spent with everyone at the table enjoying their food while my mom was running around the kitchen making sure that everyone's drinks were filled and their plates were full. She is giving. She is thoughtful and considerate. She would spare her comfort so that everyone else could have theirs. She has always been that way. Not that my dad isn't a giving and selfless man, because he is. But he just does it in a different way. My mom stresses. And she hurts when other people hurt. Which, I got from her as well. Which means she worries herself sick when one of her children has an illness, or she hasn't heard from a friend in a while. And she hates for people to be upset with her. It tears her up inside, all the while, pretending like it really doesn't bother her.
I'm like my mom.
And today, as I was driving home from work, I was thinking about stress. Not because I am feeling it right now so much, but because my Relays are about to begin... and every year, I try to make everything work out perfectly and make everyone happy and figure out where that extra $40,000 is going to show up from in order to make my goal, to the point that I break myself down physically and emotionally. I let myself get so busy that I almost forget to take care of things in my personal life, like paying bills or going grocery shopping.
But this year,
I refuse to stress.
Not because I am going to work less or not try as hard. No way. I'm still giving my 100% to my job. I'm blessed to have this job. In fact, the other day I was asked by a medical professional what I do for a living and quietly waited for my answer like it was going to be lame. But when I told her that I worked for the American Cancer Society her face lit up, and her eyes got big, and she said - "Wow. That's great. What a fantastic job to have." Yep, I'm lucky to have my job, and it won't be because I slack off that I don't stress this year. But because I refuse to stress. It's a choice. It's not something that my circumstances or those around me make me do. I choose to stress. It's me. And with all of the illnesses that can be brought on by stress, and thinking about how many years I can take away from the length of my life just by stressing, not to mention the happy moments I take away in the WIDTH of my life .... I'm not doing it.
I'm going to think of my dad. I'm going to strive for his calm spirit. Knowing that you can only do in a day, what you can do in a day. And I'm going to pray for wisdom and patience and say one of my favorite verses over and over again in my head.
And I've already started fighting back against stress this year, so I am ready!
Here are some things I am doing to make sure that my body and soul reacts accordingly to my most stressful time of the year:
The truth is that what we eat can help us cope with stress. Unhealthy eating puts stress on your body as it contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and other health conditions. When your body is stressed, your emotional state becomes increasingly fragile as well. I've made a decision. It started because of medical reasons, but I'm making it my lifestyle because of health and personal reasons (not religious or political reasons)- I'm officially a Vegan. And it's great. I feel wonderful. Do I miss milk, you might ask? Not so much. Because blueberry Special K cereal in a bowl of vanilla soy milk... is Yum.
Exercise releases chemicals in your brain that help promote feelings of well being. Physical activity can provide you with an outlet for frustration and stress. Even a brisk 30 minute walk in the morning can make you feel ready for the day! I start my day off with either Zumba, 30 Day Shred, or just walking and some weights. You might have to wake up earlier to fit it in, but it is well worth a stress-free day all day!
Getting good sleep QUALITY.
I always thought it was how MUCH sleep you get that mattered, but that's not entirely true. Poor sleep quality increases ragged emotional states and can lead to increased stress. Working to relax before bed time can improve the quality of your sleep.
and lastly... just a few little tricks that help me relax...
like -being more aware of my breathing and taking deeper breaths, listening to my favorite music, taking bubble baths, laughing with my co-workers (thanks Ashley and Karla!), reading before bed,
and last but certainly not least -
Remembering to be like my dad. :)
So let the Relays begin!!
[And stress AND cancer can both EAT MY DUST. ]