“I was a little excited but mostly blorft. “Blorft” is an adjective I just made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.” – Tina Fey
Can I just say that I am pretty blorft this week? Things have been crazy at work (understaffed and those of us who are there are making up for it with much more significant workloads) which, of course, makes things harder to maintain at home as well. I can’t really go into details (really annoying, I know. Sorry!), but I do want to share some thoughts regarding stress and self care.
There are many different ways that stress can manifest and affect our lives – each person has their own inherent coping mechanisms as well as their own breaking points. What may drive one person into utter madness may not be meaningful to another. What I’m learning right now is that this is okay. It’s okay if I can handle more than another person. Or not as much as someone else. The important thing is that I listen to myself – body, mind, and spirit – and take care of me.
I have a ridiculously high work ethic topped off with a huge case of perfectionism, so taking time away from something else to take care of me is really hard. I like to work. I like my job. I feel satisfied when I complete tasks and know that they were done to the best of my ability. Sometimes, though, there is just too much to do. Sometimes it’s overwhelming and I ought to take a time out or find a way to care for my own needs before continuing with whatever is causing my stress. After all, if I don’t take care of me, who else will?
Since self care is not my strong suite, I have been researching and trying different methods of relieving stress. Hopefully you can benefit from some of my findings and ideas.
In the Moment Self Care/Stress Relief
Take deep breaths. Sounds silly, but this is actually pretty helpful. If you tune out the rest of the world for a minute or two and just focus on breathing, you increase the oxygen flowing to your brain. You also provide a small break for your brain to rest and reorganize before continuing with the stressful situation. This is great for social situations when you’re uncomfortable and need a quiet way to cope.
Use essential oils. Essential oils can be smelled, used topically, and some may be consumed (do some research before jumping in to ensure its right for you). Lavender, chamomile, and frankincense are commonly used to help people relax and find calm. I find lavender to be very comforting, so when I find myself feeling overwhelmed, I use a little lotion on my hands and pressure points to help.
Make a list. I love making to do lists. It can turn a pile of paperwork (or dishes, laundry, and vacuuming) into something organized and manageable. Once I have a concise, organized list, my brain is suddenly free from the fear of what I might be missing and can focus again on whatever I’m supposed to be working on.
Long Term Self Care/Stress Relief
Exercise and eat right. You had to know this one was coming, right? Right??? But really, getting your body in motion (even just a short walk or sitting on an exercise ball) makes a difference. Don’t get me wrong, I hate exercise. I’ve never been to a gym. But, walking my dog after work really gets my mind in a good place again so I can be present at home. Endorphins are your friends. Eating right is pretty self explanatory… if you eat crap, you’ll feel like it. Poor nutrition also affects the ability of your mind and body to function. Seriously, just eat something green once in a while.
Pray or meditate. Take a little time to focus your energy towards God or a helpful mantra. Just let yourself be quiet for a little while. This is easier said than done, I know, but if you can make it a habit, your spirit will thank you.
Plan something fun. Have a girl’s night, go on a date, or curl up with your favorite book. Just take a little time for enjoyment! Plan for it and keep that time as sacred as any other meeting or chore you have. If you aren’t taking time for fun, then what’s the point in everything else?
All of these ideas are just that…ideas. There is no magic formula to living a stress free life. What works for me won’t work for everyone. The best thing I can suggest for when you’re feeling blorft like Tina and me (yup, I’m totally on a first name basis with her… she’s my bestie) is to try something. If it doesn’t work, try something else. And once you’ve found what makes you feel better, do it a lot.