I have been coping with an overwhelming amount of stress for a while and I will be the first to admit that I have not been using the best coping strategies, especially lately. In the past when I have been stressed its usually been work or money related (which is not the case right now) and I have learned a lot of strategies to help me deal with those kinds of stress. The stress I am dealing with now is different and is accompanied by a lot of anxiety, lack of sleep and, when I do sleep, nightmares.
As I am typing this, it is 3:50 am. I went to bed about 11:00pm tonight and slept until about 1:00am, this has become my sleep pattern for the last couple of weeks. I am getting anywhere between 2 and 4 hours of sleep a night. My best night of sleep was almost a week ago, and that was only 6 hours. I know that the lack of sleep is severely impacting my ability to cope with the stress, but until I get the stress under control, I am not going to be able to sleep… quite the catch-22.
I have found that I have resorted to an old stress behavior and have started stress eating over the past week or so… this certainly doesn’t help my weight loss goals! While I am not necessarily making bad food choices in content, I am certainly making bad choices in quantity and eating way more than I have been. I have also started drinking more alcohol than I usually do. I am not drinking to excess, but I have been indulging on an almost nightly basis, which is certainly not my norm.
There is one good strategy that I have employed in the last week, however! I have been running and that certainly helps to clear my mind for at least a little while. Unfortunately I am a new runner, so I can’t run that long or every day right now. On the days that I don’t run, I am still walking, but find that my mind is still too engaged to really decompress for any period of time.
In the past, I have found that meditation and stretching have helped me to deal with stress, so I want to bring those back into my life now. We do a “daily flex” at work every day and I find that helps me to relieve some of the tension at least, so I plan to fit stretching breaks throughout my day, starting now. I also want to fit in at least 15 minutes of meditation each day to hopefully disengage.
I just really need to find a healthier way to relieve some of the anxiety so that I am not feeling on edge 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, like I have been for the last few weeks. And while my lack of sleep hasn’t started affecting my work performance yet, I know its only a matter of time before it will. I also know that my anxiety has already had an impact on some of my relationships, and I really don’t want it to create additional issues. I’m at the point where something just has to give, I’m moving backwards right now and I need to put a stop to that and start moving forward again. And once I have a better control of the day-to-day stress and anxiety, maybe I’ll be able to diminish the actual triggers as well, so that what is so stressful to me now won’t be in the future. I hope so anyway.
I would love to hear from you! If anyone has any healthy strategies that you use to deal with stress and anxiety, please let me know.