Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Sometimes, as hard as you might try to avoid it, life just gets stressful. Sometimes it’s the kind of stress that can be relieved just by coming home after a long day, taking off our shoes, and kicking back for a little R&R. Sometimes it’s the kind of stress that takes something a little more, like maybe a long soak in the bathtub or a little ice cream. Perhaps you find yourself needing someone to vent to, or a shoulder to just simply cry on. Sometimes it’s the kind of stress that builds up, becoming more and more apparent in our words and our actions. We get grumpy, start snapping at others, even occasionally building to the point where there are full blown fits and breakdowns. Parts of our physical selves become affected. Headaches, backaches, our shoulders hurt. Besides pain, stress causes a number of other physical and mental issues. It can cause our immune systems to weaken, our focus to dull, and a loss of sleep that only adds to the destruction. Although it is, unfortunately, a constant factor in our lives, stress is not healthy. That is why it is so important to find healthy ways to manage this beastly piece of our existence that work for you as an individual. Manage it, not just cope with it. I see so many people making choices that are influenced by the amount of stress they’re under. Choices to skip meals, or to overeat. Decisions to push their negative feelings out on to those around them. Sometimes they turn to harmful substances, like drugs and alcohol, to make them feel better. But that kind of relief is so very temporary, and brings its own wave of problems along with it that they now have to face as well. I’m not about to say that I have never done any of these things, or that you’re some kind of monster if you have. You are certainly not. We’re only human, and humans mess up. We have emotions, beliefs, priorities, peer pressure, rational and irrational thought, cravings, etc. that all play huge roles, both for good and for not so good, in thinking clearly and making the choices we make. We’re not perfect. And when you throw stress at us, it makes it even harder to avoid doing what we think will make us feel good, even if we know that what we want may not be best for us. So today I want you to think of ways that you can help yourself to relax. Ways to relive the stress of living. Try different things. Go for walks, exercise, dance, take deep breaths, drink hot tea, sing your lungs out, do something you love. Take time to talk to your friends and family, even if it’s about nothing. Laugh with them. Ask them for help if you need to. Maybe they’re needing you too. Try to let go of things that you can’t control, mistakes you’ve made, don’t beat yourself up. In fact, go one step further and forgive yourself. Take pride in achievements, and give yourself that pat on the back that you deserve. I guess what I’m trying to get across here is that yes, you’re going to get stressed, and yes, it is going to be unpleasant. But you don’t have to let it get the best of you. You can get through it, and you will. Find healthy ways to make yourself feel happy, even if it’s just doing something that seems tiny. Get yourself outside to soak up some sunshine, listen to your favorite song, put on your favorite outfit and go walk someplace where you can show it off. Thank yourself, give yourself a hug. Smile. And don’t sweat the small stuff 😉