Photo Credit Steph Brown Photography
Driving to work recently, I had the realisation that I’ve had many times before – I was completely failing with the whole working mum/school holiday juggle. You’ve heard the saying too many balls in the air? Mine were all dropping faster than I could actually think or act, like hot pies splatting on the concrete. It didn’t feel nice. The kids would talk to me, but I was absent – my mind was on other things, trying to remember what hadn’t been ticked off for the day or the conversations I needed to have to staff or colleagues. Chris would have asked me twelve times to bring magnesium home from work, I kept forgetting. The overdue bills knocked, not because we couldn’t pay them, but because I just kept darn on forgetting.
Thankfully work stuff got done, patients needs were getting met, staff were happy – at least that part of my life felt semi sorted. But going to sleep at night was hard, kind of like I had unfinished business and the icky feeling in my gut of guilt would sit as work often took priority. The kids are growing up fast and this is not how I want to remember those early years. I needed a dose of perspective. I chose my career for some freedom in life, not a jail sentence. I had to choose better. That much was up to me.
Kids or not, life can be hard at times. Reality is, there are many of us going about life in this exact same way, as if each day melts into the next and we wonder how the heck we got to Friday week after week. Worse still, stress, that devil that sits on our shoulder for so many of us is uglier than ever before. So much of what I do and teach is around helping us cope better with stress. You’ve seen me time and time again talk about how it is running havoc in most of our lives. Stress ages us as it affects our DNA according to numerous studies. We now know that all kinds of stress will do this – be it perceived stress or the chronicity of stress, it’s all one and the same when it comes to how it damages the telomeres – those little caps that sit protecting DNA. On top of that, stress makes us grumpy, unpleasant to be around, messes up our hormones and if that’s not enough, it makes us look old. There isn’t one good thing it does internally other than save us from danger, which I guess only goes so far if you’re constantly feeling frazzled, miserable and over it twenty four hours a day.
But can stress REALLY do ALL this? Lady, YES! Stress may be leading us to an early grave. I don’t want that for my family or myself.
In my research, stress is being linked to every serious illness known to man. It’s said to speed up cancers, it’s linked with heart disease and heart attacks and strokes. It is an absolute disaster for those with fertility issues, as it contributes not only to infertility but equally to conditions like Endometriosis, Adenmyosis, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome and the like. It equally pushes our hormones out of balance since cortisol (one of our stress hormones) pulls rank when it comes to our sex hormones meaning we not only feel all about the place, but your normal monthly cycles follow suit. This explains why my neck is a disastrous mess right now with acne and congestion. Problem is, the more we tell ourselves ‘don’t stress’ the more we find ourselves feeling it’s pull. Tell a woman trying to conceive that all she needs to do is take a chill pill only makes things 100 times worse. It’s not that we can always remove stress (although sometimes we have to) but it’s about how can you lead your body to better health and help it along to cope better.
It’s because I completely understand just how stressful life is, that I keep coming back to topping up my very own tool kit in wrangling my own stress. I’ve got tools that resemble spanners, wrenches and some that are like bolt cutters when it comes to my own tackle pack. Because I’m human. I get it wrong just as much as the next person. The reality is, it’s not that once you know how to mange stress better that it all magically dissolves. The key lies in three things:
- Identifying exactly what stress if for you (it’s not just being busy – is it that you’ve got an underlying infection or an emotion that’s ‘suck?’)
- Realising that you are in fact stressed. (Game changer! You are human after all)
- Actioning change to receive a better outcome and help our body’s cope better with stress. Choosing again.
We can’t expect to continue to do the same thing day in and day our, yet our health miraculously take a turn for the better. It doesn’t work that way. We have the option once we’ve identified what stress is and actually owning that we are ‘stressed’ that we can choose again. It all starts here. In a single moment, we can look at any situation and ask ourselves, what am I choosing?
Am I choosing stress because I’ve adopted this crazy mentality that stress equals success?
Stress isn’t a magic bullet to success. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. But I am here to help. Last month, in my Wellness Collective Membership Webinar we explored how sleep is one of the contributing factors to poor health. Poor sleep is, you guessed it, another form of stress! Just for you, this month’s webinar topic is all about “Finding your stress spot and how you can fix it.” We’re going to dig in deep and help you identify first and foremost what stress is exactly for you. You know, the Membership is all about making your life sweeter, and the webinars are just one of the ways we do it! You can learn more here.
Sadly, I can’t do complete justice to this topic in a blog post which is why I continue to create resources like webinars, memberships and e-courses – it’s all to help you with real life factors like stress, lifestyle, hormones and the rest. Because it’s what you do day-to-day that counts most. But tapping into your own needs often requires talking through your own signs and symptoms that allow us to make real conclusions.
I have however, chosen again. Chosen to recognise what is making me stressed in these holiday moments and working out how I can help my body better. And you know what, my stress right now necessarily isn’t stemming from being overworked or because the kids are being any different to any other day of their lives (although the 24/7 part of it is quite intense!). It’s because I have a big decision to make which is actually contributing to it all. I’ve the opportunity of a lifetime right in front of me, but it means leaving my family behind for a few short days and I don’t really like that idea. That is actually the crux of the matter. The vortex of my current situation. I’m a mum, with a business, a family and all that and the struggle for me is real. I wonder what the crux of your matter is? Can you pin point it? Sometimes we can’t in a single moment, but the more we are able to tap into that, we can make decisions to turn things around.
Above all, in every stressful situation, you can do one thing.
It is our body’s very own little ‘reset’ and one of the only ways we can diffuse the auto stress response. Try that on for size.
Oh before I love you and leave you…
As you are so very well aware, I’m a mum. And somehow even though I’m winging it, I’ve been nominated for the AusMumpreneur Awards. Perhaps, you could vote for me? Click here and you’ll find me under ‘influencer’. Why so? Because my absolute mission is to lead women of all ages and stages to better health through information so that they can make educated choices for themselves. It’s all about a sweeter life, no matter what the situation. If that feels like something you’d like to support me in, please find the drop down box under the ‘influencer’ tab, find me and vote. Thanks a BUNCH!