Everyday Stressors

I started listening to a 7-day Stress Management series provided by the Calm App (iOS).  The narrator said something quite enlightening; something along the lines that “us humans are not yet ready to take on the stresses of the 21st century.” IMG_0937

Stress is normal everyday life now; however, our Fight or Flight Response System is a little behind on the times. There is just too much going on for our Fight or Flight Response System to process, thus, our bodies are thrown into constant high alert making us feel stressed all the time.  Practicing mindfulness and changing our thinking habits allow our Fight or Flight Response System more time to re-evaluate and accurately process the world around us to ensure our bodies appropriately respond to the right stressors.

Stressors are everywhere.  From the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we rack out asleep in our beds at night.  I don’t know about anyone else, but my alarm clock is my first everyday stressor.  After avoiding the snooze button, my alarm clock turns into a thirty minute count-down where I am having to rush everyone to get ready for the day.  Drag my husband out of bed and push him into the shower, so he can wake up enough to get his butt to work.  Argue with a two year old about which cereal she wants but never eats.  Coax my preschooler to join the rest of us as she whines about it being too cold to get out of bed, even though the house is comfortably warm.  Lastly, after everyone is ready to go, with just a few minutes left on the clock, I have to get ready!  Every morning is chaotic and I have the power to change it! Just by changing up my morning routine and focus on better time management, I can eliminate my everyday morning stressors.

What is your first stressor of everyday? 

Uncontrollable Stressors

Life is full of funky lemons and we can’t always control what funky lemons are given to us.  We can try to make lemonade, but all we get is funky lemonade.  Simply, we are often forced to cope with stressful situations that are out of our control.

Life is full of uncontrollable stressors, like traffic.  Traffic becomes stressful when it causes us to be late for work or somewhere else that is really important.  OR, like getting laid off; it’s just something that happens and even the best employees get laid off sometimes.  Another uncontrollable stressor, is being a scheduled speaker with a nasty mustard stain on a favorite white blouse just before the start of a board meeting and no jacket to cover it up.  Or life’s worst funky lemon, for me, is finding my textbook all chewed up just before an open-book exam!  We encounter uncontrollable stressors everyday, but it’s how we respond to these stressors that make or break us.

Always try to make the best of every stressful situation!  For instance, if you are stuck in traffic and running late for work, loosen your tie, roll down your window, turn up the radio and sing your heart out!  Despite being chewed out by your boss for five minutes, your job is still gonna be there.  Don’t let a little traffic ruin your entire day.

Overcoming the stress of getting laid off, is all about changing your attitude.  Sure, money will be tight, but when a door closes another one opens.  That sounds cheesy, a little cliche, but it’s so true!

That mustard stain…I say wear it proud!  It may be embarrassing at first, but everyone will understand, because you are human!  You can also get creative by covering it with a sticker, snag a scarf, or if possible, tuck it in.  Often times, because offices are cold, someone with a sweater will likely allow you to borrow theirs while you speak to the board of directors.

And, for the chewed up text-book…well, good luck!   

Small Breaks To Knock Out Big Stressors

Sometimes we can’t make the best of a stressful situation.  There are some serious uncontrollable stressors out there that just cannot be resolved with a little creativity and a positive attitude.  When forced to endure an uncontrollable stressful situation that cannot be resolved, we must find other ways to better cope with stress.

Really big uncontrollable stressors is a job for our Fight or Flight Response System.  Although we cannot do anything physically productive to eliminate a big uncontrollable stressor in our life, we do have the ability to take small relaxing breaks to help our bodies cope with stress.

This includes practicing mindfulness and acceptance, meditating, reading, taking a walk, exercise, having a spa day, or distracting yourself with something fun while the body does its thing (you know releasing those feel-good chemicals to reduce stress).   So, even if we cannot eliminate the stressor, we can help our bodies cope with the stress the stressor is causing us.

Breathe and Smile

Whatever type of stressors are in your life, always remember to stop, breathe, and smile.

Do you have any effective coping skills for major stressors in your life? Share with us, so we can try them too. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Secret To My Clean House Is Not “OCD”

As I write this, I am sitting in chaos.

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Due for fresh flowers

Towering piles of dirty dishes in the sink are conquering new territory over the counter tops.  Trash, lying just mere inches away from the empty trash can, look as if they were too exhausted to complete their journey.  My bathroom floor looks like a game of “Lava” with a trail of clothes leading to an empty hamper.  My living room is an endless mine field of toys, snack wrappers, and half-eaten snacks protecting the entrance to the kids room.  Lastly, my desk is completely covered in a blanket of white crumbled up tissues from a night of horrible allergies.  There is nothing about this scene that says, “OMG, you are so OCD!”  But, oddly, my husband is convinced otherwise!

I clean my house everyday.  Okay, allow me to rephrase that…I “pick up” my house everyday.  95% of the time, our house is pretty much clean, in which is saying something considering we have two little sticky and extremely messy kids.

Personally, I enjoying waking up to a clean house and I enjoy going to bed to a clean house; however, during the day is free game.  There are messes, spills, unexpected discoveries of old food in the couches, and toys in places I would never have thought to look.  My point is, our house looks very much “lived” in during the day,  but this is a side my husband rarely see’s, for that he often comes home to a house that looks as clean and organized as a museum.

Perfection is an Illusion

My husband thinks I am an “OCD clean freak,” because in his eyes, the house is generally always “perfectly” clean.  My OCD has nothing to do with my cleaning habits and surprisingly, my OCD has nothing to do with perfection.  I was raised in a world where everything had to be perfect; perhaps, that is why I despise perfection so much.  I just grew tired of it.  In my opinion, perfection is nothing more than an illusion.  What I may consider as perfect may be different than what another person may consider perfect, thus can create unachievable expectations.  Honestly, that doesn’t seem healthy, so I do not strive for perfection.  Sure, I have my moments when I want something to be “perfect,” but I do not allow the idea of perfection to consume me.  I usually just end up with, “eh, that’s good enough for me,” and move on.

Although I live a somewhat minimalistic lifestyle (except for my kids, they own everything), I do not feel the need to strive for order and cleanliness; instead, I “value” order and cleanliness.  For the most part,  I try to keep my house neat, clean, and organized, but only because it makes life so much easier.

Keeping A Clean House Is Part of Stress Management

If it doesn’t have a purpose or serve a function, out it goes!” is my motto for living a somewhat minimalistic lifestyle.  It has nothing to do with being frugal, environmentally friendly, or OCD; its just makes life easier and reduces stress for everyone.  My husband and I both have anxiety disorders, so I do my best to create a somewhat stress-free environment.

Here are some of my core beliefs about keeping a stress-free environment:

  • Waking up to a clean house is refreshing whereas waking up to a messy, dirty house can immediately impact a persons mood and create anxiety with an overwhelming thought of must-do’s.
  • Everything has a designated place to make it easier to find things and avoid the anxiety of having to look for something, especially in an emergency.
  • Clutter can clutter the mind as well as make excellent hiding places for things we’ve lost.  Plus, clutter is home to annoying little dust-bunnies!
  • Clothes are washed and put away in a timely manner to avoid the anxiety of not having anything to wear for work.
  • Clean dishes encourages a home-cook meal, instead of going out for fast food.
  • Going to bed to a clean house puts the mind at rest for better sleep.

Just A Little Everyday Work

There is no extreme labeling, perfect organization, or even a strict chaotic routine I follow everyday to ensure the house is maintained to create a somewhat stress-free environment.  Living a minimalistic, clutter free house cuts down majority of the work for me and after that I have only four everyday tasks:

  • Laundry (if any)
  • Pick up and vacuum the house before husband comes home
  • Clean kitchen after dinner, take out trash, and do dishes (cheat with a dishwasher)
  • Pick up the house just before bed

But of course, I do deep clean the house once or twice a month, but the rest is just kept up with daily maintenance.  This allows me to feel guilt free when I encounter days where I just don’t feel like doing anything at all and leave the house a mess for a day (because even the messiest of days are not that bad).

OCD plays no role in keeping my house clean.  Well, maybe, if you factor in that I keep my house clean to reduce anxiety, in which greatly helps my OCD, but OCD itself is not the reason my house is clean.  My only actual goal is to pick up the house at the end of everyday before my husband comes home.  Where then, it is my husband’s personal idea of perfection that makes it seem our house is maintained by an “OCD clean freak.”

Can your cleaning habits be mistaken for OCD?