(Ironically — this post somehow didn’t save correctly and I just lost about 15 minutes of work. Talk about stress!)
I’m a fairly regulated person when it comes to emotions — I don’t get too high or too low. I’m Goldilocks. 99% of the time, my life feels just right.
(Eating a bowl of steel cut oats, I’m sure)
And why shouldn’t it? Despite some personal and professional challenges that could have really brought me down, the last three years have been the happiest of my adult life.
But every once in a while…say, every 6 months or so…all the little things build up and culminate in a FREAKOUT. Like, an “I suck at everything, I’m failing everyone around me, I’m a fraud” panic attack.
Rational? Nope. Even during the freakout, I can usually acknowledge that most of the things that feel so heavy are really not such a big deal. But until it runs its course, I’m usually held hostage. For me, the freakouts generally go through these stages:
- Physical manifestations (not always conscious — for example, I clench my jaw until it aches, or bite my cuticles until they bleed)
- Sleeplessness (my mind races, I either can’t fall asleep or can’t stay asleep)
- Crying fits (hard and fast — if I try and talk, it comes out in a blubbery mess)
- Acceptance (usually helped by writing down my thoughts — I come to terms with the fact that everything on there can be handled)
- Contentment (at the very end)
I had one of those freakouts this weekend, but for the first time — I nipped it in the bud before it became one big bitchin’ bloom.
How? Putting aside the cake and ice cream dinner I had on Friday (what? I was celebrating Lucas’ one-year blog-iversary!)…
Sweat and smoothies.
The sweat came in the form of 90 minutes of booty-shaking at Dance Trance Orlando, and left me looking like this:
And a 90-minute cycling session (brutal!) at Gold’s Gym Orlando, which left me looking like this:
The smoothie? A banana-blueberry-almond butter concoction that had an OSG-style overflow:
(Sidenote: I will never make a smoothie without nut butter again. I’d always assumed it was a waste of 200 calories, but just a tablespoon of almond butter in this bad boy permeated the whole thing, and each strawful was like those amazing but soooo bad-for-you Friendly’s sundaes).
Is it some huge breakthrough that working out really does help deal with stress? Obviously not. Study after study backs it up.
But for me, having been through these moments of madness before, the decision to deal with it in the gym and not under my covers made a huge difference in the length and intensity of the freakout.
Other things that helped me this weekend:
- Writing down the things that were bugging me and getting them out of my head and on paper
- Cleaning (yeah, seriously — it helps)
- Blogging (my own and reading others)
- Listing — out loud! — the things that I’m blessed to have in my life and acknowledging that my worst day would be others’ best
Of course, having loved ones to lean on helps, too…
For my friends and family that read this blog — I am OK. I am better than OK…I’m great. No worrying needed! (That means you, mom…I love you.)
What do you do when you’re stressed? How do you get through your own freakouts?