It’s time for a bit of honesty
I Get Stressed, Too
One of the things I think a lot of people assume when they come to one of our courses is that practitioners at Valleys Steps never get stressed, that we’re somehow immune to it because we teach people how to manage it. Unfortunately, being a practitioner at Valleys Steps and teaching people how to manage stress doesn’t mean I’m immune to it myself. Stress is a normal human response to situations where we feel challenged. You see, it’s not that I don’t get stressed or anxious but that when it happens I have tools at my disposal that can help.
Now time for a bit of honesty. As I’m sitting here writing this blog, I feel stressed. As of today, I’ve been working from home for 10 weeks, and we’ve been in lockdown for 9. Usually, I’m very reliant on my social circle and I love being around people. I’m also a very busy person, I like to have a full and active lifestyle: I go to the gym 4 times a week, I attend Church and also volunteer there; I rarely spend a whole day in the house unless I’m ill, and frankly I’ve always hated that. In the past few weeks my life has drastically changed, it’s pretty much been flipped upside down. And while I feel I have generally coped with the challenges well, I’ve had difficult days too. So as I’m sitting here writing, I can feel stress. I didn’t sleep well last night, I can feel my heart rate is raised, I can feel a tightness in my chest, and my mood feels low. I just want to be able to get back to my usual routines and my normal life again, but at the same time worrying about how things will look post lockdown. And it’s ok to feel like that right now. This is an extremely difficult time for many of us, and it’s ok if we feel more stressed than usual or we feel like our wellbeing is suffering. But you know what? There’s still things we can do. Once this blog is written, I’m going to put some of my favourite music on, close my eyes, and slow down my breath for a few moments. Then I’ll journal some of my thoughts and feelings, sometimes I find just getting things down on paper can be helpful. Once I’m done with work later, I’ll get outside for a walk or a run (distanced obviously!), breathing in fresh air and listening to the sounds of nature. When I get home, I’ll make my favourite dinner, then take a hot bath with some of my favourite herbal tea and a good book. Finally, I’ll do my gratitude journal (writing three things I am grateful for today), do some muscle relaxation in bed, then get myself off to sleep for an early night.
And once I’ve done all that, I know I’ll feel a bit better. The stress might still be there a little, because this is a difficult situation that I can’t control, but I’ll be doing what I can to manage it. We might not always be able to totally get rid of stress, but sometimes even just the simplest of self-care tools can give us a huge amount of relief during these difficult times.
If you’re struggling to manage stress at the moment, why not attend one of our free online Stress Management workshops?
By Bethan Jones
Well-being Course Practitioner