Identifying your stress points is so important if you are going to reconnect with yourself and live balanced life. It is said that those who cannot listen must feel. I have had to feel my way to this point. People used to tell me about the importance of planning and knowing what stresses you so you can plan to be exposed to the stress as little as possible. However the stubborn extrovert in me looked down on planning because I thought it took the spontaneity out of life. My approach worked up until about my first year of university.
However when I needed to take ownership of my assignments and studying and not have a teacher tell me what to do every second I experienced stress. I quickly learned that failure to plan was indeed planning to fail. Now failure is relative. I was one of the blessed ones who still managed to get good grades but my health suffered. I started to have palpitations and was constantly tired. I had no energy to do things that I enjoyed and frequently fell asleep on public transport. Sometimes I find myself falling back into bad habits but generally I have changed the way I work and arrange my day so that I am rested, energized and in the best frame of mind for my day ahead.
These are some things that work for me to keep stress away. I have a long, soaking bath at least three times a week. It is great to just chill in the warm water and reflect. I also read a good book. At the moment I am reading a lot about leadership, business and spiritual growth. Other times I prefer a good novel. Generally I find it is not the type of book it is about taking myself away and out of myself; to develop and stretch and expose my mind to new things. I also paint my nails and watch tv or have a long chat with someone close to me (usually my sister). The power of someone you can confide in and trust to be completely honest with you certainly does ease some of the burdens life can bring.
Another great escape is cooking. I love to cook. I am currently reading up on the paleo diet. It is not really a diet, more a change of life – eating things that are not processed and would have only been around during the cave times. Baking is also a great way to clear my mind. Essentially different people wind down in different ways – just make sure you make time for yourself and what you enjoy.
Now to the not so fun stuff. I find that I am stressed when I have overestimated what I am able to do and not kept to my word. So to avoid the tension that comes from putting myself under unnecessary pressure I am learning how to be honest with myself and others about what I can and cannot do. I am learning that Rome was not built in a day and some things just have to wait. Everyday I am learning and I am learning to be patient with myself when I do not get things right. To be honest I am happy I am getting more self aware and with that developing as a more rounded, grounded individual.