For as long as I can remember I have been a bundle of stress. Even during the most happy and relaxed days. There was always an undertone of stress. I can’t escape it. I never will.
Chronic stress is forever
It has taken me a while to come to terms with this. Honestly, the first step was changing DifferentBeings description from relief to management. Living with chronic stress is managing the condition, never really being able to relieve it. However, it doesn’t have to be a stressful life (harhar).
I had to learn to stop trying to escape stress
I’ve tried what seems like everything and anything. I just couldn’t bring myself to believe it was only stress. Something I have heard from so many people.. “It’s only stress.” “Relax.”
It wasn’t always just stress though. Before I started getting things under control (and lets be honest, still am getting things under control). Stress caused inflammation in the body, meaning I wasn’t absorbing nutrients well, cravings were extreme and I was falling into them. Inflammation led to immune system problems and always being sick. Feeling sick, fatigued, hungry, moody. You name it. I was struggling.
I tried to pretend I had a normal life, with normal struggles, I just wasn’t handling them as well as others.
What Chronic Stress is
Chronic stress is stress that lasts longer than a few minutes, a few hours or a day. It is stress that lasts weeks or months. Financial stress, family, loss, bad work environment, you name it.
However, chronic stress is also something that can be permanent. Like anxiety and depression, and often worsened by them. It is more than anxiety. It is the constant and persistent feeling of being stressed, even when there is nothing to stress about. Similar to the fight or flight response with anxiety.
The things we do to escape
Sometimes the chronic stress is long term but temporary. Financial, loss. We tend to find ways to distract ourselves. Through hobbies, through volunteering, binge watching television. Ignoring the problems until they go away or solve themselves.
Now this isn’t to say we all do this, or this is all we do. Everyone’s different. Stress however, still affects us all.
Sometimes, the things we do to escape stress only make it worse. Whether that’s ignoring the bills, not facing our feelings or the person who hurt us. Maybe it’s not seeking help, counseling or burying our feelings in food.
The many many hobbies
Is it a hobby, or is it an escape?
Sometimes, and me especially. We turn to hobbies. We throw ourselves into our work, we play harder, we “do more.” Could be hobbies, or anything in life that can distract us.
If this sort of thing goes on long enough, it starts to feel like a chore. Every hobby, everything used to love doing. I lose sight of what makes me, me. Who I am out side of the stress and what I love to do.
It has been quite the journey. Coming to terms with this sort of stress being permanent. There is still a long way to go. A long way to getting healthier. Stressing less. Enjoying more.
So here is my plan.
Step by step. Day by day.
Fix the little things first. – Eat healthy and move more.
Plan for the big things, one little thing at a time.
A better neighbourhood.
A better job.
One seed at a time.
One step at a time.