So stressed and exhausted that you’ve had an ugly cry? Here’s how to lighten your stress load so you can get your energy (and sanity) back.
I’ve been there many times (too many to admit!). I bet, like me, you’ve been carrying a whole load of stress for some time. This accumulated stress load depletes your energy and vitality, mood, your tolerance for stress, emotional resilience, patience with loved ones…. the list goes on.
Then, one day, you crack. You’ve had enough and the waterworks turn on without you having much of a say about it.
If that’s you, I’m sending you so much love! While a good ol’ cry can help relieve some tension, your stress load still remains. So take a deep breath, and let’s lighten the load a little and ditch what’s draining you!
The following exercise will help you declutter your stress load. In doing so, you should feel lighter, even energised, by the end, from having freed up some space and energy in your mind and body.
Here’s the stress reducing exercise that I call ‘ditch your drainers’
1. Grab a cup of tea, a pen and some paper and find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed.
Take a few deep, relaxing breaths – then put pen to paper and get it ALL out! Write down everything that’s stressing you, numbering each stressor as you go.
Consider work, relationships, family, health, finances, human suffering etc.
Write about how you feel about these situations.
Are you feeling anger, fear, frustration, grief, guilt, shame…?
Write until you can write no more!
2. Next, go through your list of stressors and consider these questions:
a) What are the ones you can act upon, that are real and directly in your control? Place a circle around the numbers of those.
b) What of your worries are imagined?
Hint: imagined stressors tend to be about worrying about the future, or things you only have a little bit of information on. We often blow things out of proportion when fear and worry set in.
Ask yourself – How do you KNOW the outcome?
Remember: “Worry is interest paid on money not yet borrowed.”.
Can you start to draw a line through carrying these stressors, given they’re not even real, and the outcome is impossible to know?
Cross out the ones you’re ready to release. Make a conscious choice to release them as you strike each one off your list. Say ‘I release myself of this unnecessary stress’ as you cross each stressor off your list.
c) What aren’t even your stressors to worry about?
Hint: these are worries that are out of your control, like a family member’s relationship problems.
We often carry other’s problems on our shoulders, when in fact it isn’t ours to carry. If we cannot take action on a problem, then really all we’re choosing to do is take on someone else’s suffering without any power to release ourselves of it!
Worrying about someone doesn’t make their pain go away – as much as we hope it does!
We’re each given our own set of challenges to carry… isn’t that enough?
And in fact, worrying about another’s challenges tends to place a burden on that person.
Answer this question – would you want your loved ones to carry the weight of your worries as well as theirs?
Relinquishing yourself of other’s worries does not mean apathy.
By choosing to lighten your load, you’ll have more ability to support them with love, care and strength, which is really what we all need in hard times.
d) What can you let go of that’s no longer serving you – only draining you? What will you no longer tolerate?
Is it a relationship, a situation, unnecessary drama?
Once again, cross out the ones you’re ready to release and make a conscious choice to release them.
Say ‘I release myself of this unnecessary stress’ as you cross each stressor off your list.
e) Finally – what stressors are actually playing out right at this very moment? Put an asterisk next to those ones. (You’ll likely find there are very few!).
You should now be left with a much smaller list of stressors that are in your control. Of that list – some questions to ponder:
– What can you start to take action on?
– What can you start to accept for what it is right now?
– What stressors are here to teach you and help you grow? What are the lessons in them?
A final word on stress:
We’re all given challenges in life to help us grow.
This is a fact of life that none of us can escape.
We often strive for a ‘perfect’ world where everything runs smoothly. However, we cannot have happiness without sadness, we cannot have good without evil – the world is full of these dualities.
They’re part of nature and so we must embrace both sides of the coin.
To resist one side is not only futile, it makes us live in a state of chronic stress.
The stress of a situation we’re faced with is here to teach us something, to help us grow and expand so we can experience more of this beautiful human existence we’re blessed with experiencing.
So, stress is good for us if we choose our stressors wisely (which I hope the above exercise has helped you do!) AND we act upon them in a positive way that keeps us propelling forward to fulfil our greatness.
Another way to look at stressors: pain is unavoidable. Suffering is optional 🙂
I’d love to hear how you get on, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Enjoy the process of ditching your drainers!
Melissa is a naturopathic nutritionist and coach who helps exhausted women get their energy back. She consults with people worldwide via the web from her home in Melbourne, Australia.