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Posts Tagged ‘stress’

I am often asked how is it that I am able to cope with all the stress that goes on in my life. People often say “I don’t know how you do it!  I’d go crazy!”  I do take these comments as complimentary.  But I also think people tend to underestimate themselves. My response to them is usually,  “You’d be surprised at what you can handle when you don’t have any other options.”  That’s also where God comes in.  When things seem impossible, I know it’s God who is giving me strength to not drive  voluntarily into a brick wall. 

*ok here’s my little disclaimer:  I would never drive into a brick wall…….. on purpose.  If you really know me, statements like that are all part of my sick sense of humor.*

Nobody is immune to stress.  Everybody has different ways of coping with stress.  Some coping methods are good. Some are bad.  And some are just kind of odd. My husband’s way of coping with stress is by doing Tai Chi. A very good method. He does this every morning.  He is very interested in martial arts and has been doing it for the past 13 years.  He also runs 4 times a week.  He has been trying to get me to do the Tai Chi for the past 12 years.  I’m still not interested. But that’s ok, because like I said, everybody has a different way of coping with what life throws at them.

I prefer running. I never run immediately after a stressful moment has hit its peak. Like right after Matt throws a full glass of juice at the wall, I’m not in the mood to do a 5 miler. I think of the running as maintenance.  It gives me energy to face the day.   When I go too long without running, I find myself becoming moody.  Lately, I’ve been getting bored with the running which could possibly explain my irritable mood these past few days.  Time for me to get out the old bike trainer.

Another way I am able to cope with the stress is by doing this blog. If nobody ever  read my blogs, I would still write them.  It’s good therapy.  I know that someday in the future I will take a look at the blogs and say “Wow, I forgot how hard life was then.  We made it!” 

As I mentioned earlier, people may sometimes have odd coping methods.  My odd coping method begins after the kids are in bed. I pop in an “Everybody Loves Raymond” dvd and watch it till I fall asleep.  That will take anywhere from 10 min to 2 hours. I have seen each episode countless times.  John still can’t figure out what the appeal is.  Especially with that show.  He hates that show. Not me.  I explained to John how our lives are full of surprises, noise, and chaos. I just want to sit down and watch a program where I know exactly what is going to happen.  I can always count on Ray being helpless, Robert being jealous, and Debra being irritable.  I can always count on the father-in-law being repulsive.  Best of all, I can always count of the mother-in-law being intrusive, critical, and loud. I find all of this hysterical.  John finds the show stressful and annoying.  I would like to note that the characters in this show don’t reflect our family.  I happen to have the best in-laws anybody could ever ask for! I just enjoy the predictability that comes with watching those dvd’s.  It’s my escape and it makes me laugh.

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Running keeps me sane

In the big scope of things, it’s God who keeps me sane. I like running. It’s easy. There isn’t much thinking involved.  Strategy isn’t all that important unless I am competing in a race.  Let’s be honest, I’m not exactly a Boston Marathon qualifier, so no stress there. 

I used to run in high school and I loved it. I wasn’t the fastest by any means but I think I did a pretty good job.  But after graduating highschool, I just couldn’t get motivated to run anymore.  So 12 years, a husband, and 2 kids later, I got back into it.  I love it! I actually look forward to my workouts.  My energy level is up and all my stomach issues have vanished.  For years I struggled with chronic stomach aches.  Then dizziness started. After turning 30 I became a hypochondriac.  I was certain I had cancer, or ms, or…..something!  I would go to the doctor’s to have all sorts of tests ran.  No cancer *whew*.  Just Acid reflux.  Ok, thats common. I can work with that. Doctors have always pointed to the idea of stress. “You have a stressful life, try not to stress so much.” One of them would say.  My thought is “WOW!! Why didn’t I think of that!!?!(intense sarcasm) ”  I’m paying a $30 copay for that!?!  For one thing, I was irritated because it seemed to me that is what all doctor’s diagnose people with as a default…..stress.  Come on.

The thing is, that dr. was absolutely correct.  Lets face it, stress is going to happen especially if you have children. But I finally stopped being so stubborn and made the decision to manage it better and not just internalize everything.

 Running. I began with one mile around the park. Next day two miles, then 3…you get the pictures.  Not long after I was running 10 miles. Not every day but I was able to do it without burning myself out.  The end results were amazing:

No stomach pain, more joy, more energy, less tummy…….

For the first time I was doing something that had nothing to do with kids, and autism, and IEP’s (Individual Education Plans)….what a powerful outlet.  I’ve made a great group of girlfriends too through my workouts.  A couple of them convinced me to participate in a triathlon with them last year.  So, not only did I get into running, I got into biking, made a great group of friends….I actually had a life!! 

When you start exercising, no matter what kind it is, this domino effect starts to happen. Anytime you are doing an endurance exercize, endorphins–which are what I call “happy chemicals”– are released. It puts you in a good mood. You even stop craving junk food. At least I did. I indulge Stone Cold Ice cream now and then but without the guilt.

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