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#IWSG How Do You Handle Stress?

An unpleasant surprise…

Is anyone else stressed out? I like to think of myself as a mellow person, but lately I’ve been struggling!

It’s not just a subjective feeling: Recently at the doctor’s office, my blood pressure was 166/88, which is not my norm! It’s usually on the low side, like 120/60.

And, of course, learning that my blood pressure was through the roof only increased my stress… Plus, I was supposed to get lab work done the next day, but I got the flu that night. Then, the day I was well I flew up to spend time with my parents while my mom had surgery. So the labs kept being put off!

Echocardiogram (photo by Tui Snider)
Echocardiogram (photo by Tui Snider)

How do you handle stress?

So that’s my big insecurity this month. I’m not trying to whine about my life. I just think that I’ve fallen out of some healthy habits since my  father-in-law moved in with us last summer. It’s not his fault! He’s a sweet guy and I’m happy that my hubby and I are able to take care of him, especially now that he has dementia. I’m just not sure exactly how to take care of myself right now, and I seem to be out of balance.

In addition to being a health concern, stress is not helping my creativity. My writing output has gone way down. I’m not one of those people who loves tight deadlines and writing under pressure. I guess it’s because I deal with anxiety, so I’m always looking for strategies to get a lot done while minimizing stress. Up ’til now, I thought I was doing a pretty good job.

I have started meditating twice a day. There are a ton of meditation videos on YouTube, plus I have a book full of different breathing exercises and meditations to try. It’s actually pretty fun!  And, I did finally get some lab work done this morning – finally. (Hopefully the results won’t be too scary!)

I want to stick with my meditation practice and try to incorporate any other de-stressing habits that I can come up with. Like, I used to play the piano nearly every day before Bob moved in. I used to sing around the house all the time. And I used to have quiet time to myself each day. Wonder how much habits like those were helping my stress levels?

How do you handle stress? Do any of you meditate? What helps you destress? I’m open to suggestions! 

What is IWSG?

IWSG stands for “Insecure Writers Support Group.” It’s a monthly check-in for writers of all stripes. Its creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh, describes ISWG like this:

“Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!” – Alex J. Cavanaugh

1-Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

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  1. Please take care of yourself (says the person with stress-related health issues and caretaker’s burnout).

    You know how on planes, during the safety presentation, they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then help anyone sitting beside you? So it goes with the rest of life as well.

    The care you give out must be balanced with the care you need for yourself. We love to fetishise self-sacrifice in this society, but the truth is if your health and well-being do suffer, you get tutted at for “letting yourself go”.

    Please make sure you jeep your strength up.

  2. I’m not one to meditate but I really do enjoy stretching with yoga. I’m almost 70, way out of shape, lots of aches and pains along with arthritis, but I feel much better when I do it.

    Hang in there…you are being so patient with your father-in-law. Hugs!

    DB McNicol, author & traveler

    A-Z Theme: Oh, the places we will go!

  3. Hi Tui! I’m making the rounds today as an IWSG co-host. I’m the wrong person to offer suggestions on distressing. Mellow does not describe me! I do try to walk outside in nature to relax a little. I’ve tried meditating, but I’m not too good at it. I get distracted easily. One place I really relax is floating in the water in a ring at Waikiki ~ Like that happens a whole lot!

    You are kind and brave to look after your father-in-law. It’s a difficult time. I have heard that people with dementia really enjoy music, so maybe playing your piano would help you and Bob.

    Good luck with your writing this month!

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