We all have to deal with stress every day. But when you're living with PCOS this can exacerbate your symptoms and make your life much more challenging. (read the PCOS Diva's take on stress here and here)
So how do you deal with this? How many of us can quit our stressful jobs right now for a less stressful one? How many of us can walk away from a stressful moment and not continue thinking about it? If you can, that is wonderful and I commend you!
I daydream of how much more I would enjoy every day if I didn't spend 8+ hours running from one urgent situation to another trying to find a resolution that will please everyone.
I actually dream of work-related problems or chasing after unknown objects or running away from things in my dreamworld. I wake up some mornings from these dreams and roll out of bed knowing that I need to keep working on dealing with the many ways that my life is full of stress.
Here's what's working for me now:
Work Stays At Work. By the time I get out of the car when I get home, any venting or complaining or thinking about work has to stop. I'll call someone and debrief on my way home. I'll talk things through to myself (yes I'm one of those people that loves bluetooth because now you can't figure out if I'm talking to myself alone in the car or talking to someone!) or spend time just reflecting on a situation. But that's where it ends.
Eat! I have demanding work days and in the past I would skip all meals because I didn't have time to stop for a regular lunch. Which was horrible for my body and my mind. I keep my lunch bag on my desk and pack snacks I can eat in 1-2 minutes throughout the day and a lunch meal that I can easily heat up and walk with or that doesn't need to be heated at all. Yes, I am the one walking down the street eating out of a mason jar because that's the time I have for lunch. But it's working and I'm eating and feeling so much better.
Regroup. I can't do everything and respond to every situation at the drop of a hat. Now when I need to clear my mind I'll take the long way to the copier or I'll exit the building at one door, walk around the building and enter through another door instead of walking down the hallway. When it's really bad and something's happened where I'm about to lose my cool, I'll take a brief break from work and go for a short walk. Lean on my husband to listen to me vent, take a deep breath and regroup. Regrouping, or re-examining a situation and starting to formulate a plan that will lead to a resolution is an empowering practice.
Acceptance. I cannot do everything. I can only do what I can do. I can only work my hardest to be sure what I do is my very best. I won't always make the right decision or have the perfect day. But I'll be doing my best and learning from the things that don't go right. I'll regroup and move on. This is especially helpful when I'm at home and catch myself thinking about work. In these moments I think to myself "yes, that's an important issue. I'm at home now so I'll put it to the side until I'm at work again." It's important not to beat yourself up when faced with a mistake or a slip-up. They happen. Regroup and move on being empowered in the knowledge that you can handle it and you will handle it one step at a time.
Find Support. Turn to your coworkers for help when you need it on the job. Communicate with your supervisor. Reach out to your friends and your family when you need to bend an ear. Be there for them in return. Reach out to your family and friends when you don't need an ear... your relationship will grow stronger. Look for others dealing with a similar problem. Find them online or in person and connect.
Take Care Of Yourself. This is the biggest lesson. It's not just about eating the right food, educating yourself on your diagnosis, making lifestyle changes. Taking care of yourself means doing something you love every day. Something that's just for you. It's loving yourself without needing validation or love from others. It's being your own biggest supporter. You are important and perfect and magnanimously wonderful. Own it!
How do you manage your stress?