I don’t often talk about my stress and anxiety issues because I like to pretend that they don’t exist. If I don’t acknowledge them, they aren’t real. At least that’s how I like to think. And because I don’t acknowledge them, I don’t deal with them, and they get worse.
Also, its a really private thing. But I feel compelled to talk about it. Maybe it’ll help me feel better, maybe it’ll help one of you feel better, who knows?
Lately I’ve been feeling increasingly more stressed. Work is pretty crazy. Not in the way that everyone likes to say when they are making small talk, but really very busy. I don’t think wedding planning itself is really stressing me out, but the change associated with marriage. And those of you who deal with stress know that sometimes even really good things stress you out. Simply because it is a change from the normal; even when it is something you are so excited for!
My stress and anxiety came to a head this weekend when I had a benign but scary cardiac episode. I was feeling very stressed and very jittery. Michael and I were celebrating his and my dad’s birthday with family. I had had a little extra caffeine and I thought that is what was irritating me, but then I realized that my heart was pounding and my heart felt like it was “skipping” a beat.
My dad noticed that I looked unwell, asked me about it, and since he’s in the medical field, he listened to my heart. My heart rate was high, my blood pressure was high, and my heart was fluttering. He said I have something called Premature Atrial Contraction. Its benign, happens in healthy people and does not point to a serious heart issue. It is usually brought on by stress, anxiety, and high alcohol and caffeine intakes. I’m still feeling anxious, and still feel that flutter in my heart every once in awhile, but I feel much better.
It is not something that requires me going to a doctor unless its extremely bothersome, or I feel like I cannot reduce my stress/anxiety levels. However, I don’t like to treat things with medication until I’ve explored more natural ways of controlling it.
One of the other things I don’t talk about much on here is my faith. I’m a Christian and my faith is very important to me. I tend not to talk about it here, because I’m mostly talking about running and fitness and only about my personal life when it intersects with those things. However, I am going to bring it up here because it is pertinent to the topic. I love that my fiance reminded me to rely on God, when so often we try to rely on ourselves.
I talked to my fiance about it today and he gave me some really good advice, some of which I’ll highlight here for you:
“The best thing I’ve found is you really should look at all the things that are on your plate, remove the ones that aren’t as important and focus on what’s really important, then rest and relax and enjoy your life, not trying to accomplish too much at once.I was like you once and I had to really make an effort to “feel” and recognize when I was anxious and stressed and take the steps I mentioned above to keep healthy mentally. Nothing is worth putting yourself through that. Mainly because we should be trusting God in a lot of our circumstance versus trying to control them.
I can’t say it enough….it’s VERY common to be in the position you are in, especially in your mid to late twenties, you’re going through a lot of major life changes and sometimes it’s not always one thing you can put your finger on but a combination of things. The best thing you can do is pray for peace and ask God that he reveal what it is that’s stressing you. Sometimes you have to put up the white flag and trust God.”
No matter what you believe in, it is no secret that sometimes you have to look at something outside yourself for strength. Whether it is your family, or religion, or yoga and meditation, or something else entirely, there is something that helps keep you grounded.
I’m working very hard to find ways to reduce my stress and anxiety. Its a process and it won’t happen overnight. But recognizing it is always the first step! I feel that with taking proper steps in taking care of my spiritual and mental well-being, I’ll feel a lot better. Of course, taking better care of my body is a large part of that too.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? What keeps you grounded and gives you strength?