I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not good at dealing with emotional stress. I mean, I’m really not good at it. Unlike my ability to thrive when working under pressure, emotional stress is a whole other beast that I still haven’t figured out how to tame. But this week, I’m hoping that with some active preparation, I’ll be able to hold myself together.
Since going to see Susan Nott to receive Bowen Therapy treatments, I have learned that I’m not a very good breather. Obviously I know how to breathe – I am alive, after all – I just don’t breathe in a way that lends itself to anxiety-reduction and a healthy mind and body.
I’ve been working at recognizing my typical shallow chest breathing, and actively switching it to belly breathing (or diaphragmatic breathing). This is going to be really useful to reduce stress, and hopefully reduce the probability of me getting a debilitating migraine while we’re spending time in at waiting room at the hospital.
I am notorious for not drinking enough water. Often times, I can go from my morning coffee to my dinnertime water with nothing in between. It’s so bad! But gearing up for this, I know that I have to keep hydrated. Just sitting there, sipping water, will actually increase my cortisol levels to help me cope (check out this article on Water and Stress Reduction).
Creating a vivid picture in your mind of what you want the future to hold is actually how you use your energy to influence life around you. I have been reading the book Creative Visualization: using the power of your imagination to create what you want in your life, by Shakti Gawain to help me understand and apply this concept to build the life I want. Instead of spending time creating visions of a perfect wedding, successful career, beautiful children, or dream vacation, I am going to spend this week thinking about one thing: my dad coming out of a successful surgery and beginning his journey to healthy living.
I had a girlfriend give me a few page-turning novels that require zero emotional investment, but also won’t put me to sleep. I think mystery books might be the go-to genre to maintain sanity and pass the time over the next little while.
My family has always been good at this – cracking a joke at an inappropriate time, finding something to laugh about when it almost seems impossible. Later this week, I might be cuddle up with my mum and the iPad to watch some of our comedic favourites on Youtube: Ron James, Danny Boy, anybody that can get us smiling.
Eating, Drinking, and Trying To Be Merry
Food is my crutch. I know, I know, it’s not a good thing. But I can’t fix it right now, so I might as well use it to my benefit. We’re going to try new places, and new things. My boss even suggested a great Chinese restaurant nearby the hospital that we plan on checking out. We always seem to find a good, convenient Chinese restaurant when the going gets tough and we need some comfort in the form of fried rice and So Gai.
We also have a rooftop terrace at the place we’re staying, so we might even bring our take-out up there, uncork a bottle of wine, light some candles, and enjoy Toronto’s skyline and the moment as much as the circumstances will allow. And if that’s just not cutting it, our hotel also does Friday night pubcrawls. So ya.
Life is stressful, especially when it comes to health-related concerns. Nothing else really seems to matter when things like this happen. But what does matter is being together. Everyone needs a supporter: a hand to hold, someone to remind you that it’s going to be OK, that you need to drink your water, and that maybe it’s time we get out of here for a walk or some chicken balls. I think my mum and I are going to take turns at playing this role. We just need to remember that we have each other, and we’re in this together.
Do you have any stress-relieving tips or tricks that help you get through the hard times? Let me know – I can use all the advice I can get!