Going extinct?

No one LIKES change. I mean, if it’s in our favor (like a raise at work or free sandwich -lol) it’s all good but when we get a new boss, the company we work for mergers with another, our work role changes, we’re having issues with our partner, etc. we dread having to deal with it.

I remember when nursing charting went from paper to computer. I personally knew a few older nurses who actually took early retirement. They said it was just too much for them (like a whole new job to learn). I really felt for them because most of us, though annoyed with all the computer glitches and program hiccups we had in the beginning, adapted just fine. We’d been talking about it as nurses for years before it happened so it wasn’t really a big shock. Still, to those nurses who were older and felt they were “computer illiterate” it was too overwhelming. It may have been the healthiest thing for them to do.

I’m pretty sure there are enough forward thinkers in the human species to keep things going in the right direction for a really long time.

But what about you, as an individual? Are you adapting to the changes in your life or letting them kill you? It may sound quite dramatic to be put that way but let me ask you this: When you’re faced with unexpected change or an unfavorable condition, how do you handle it?

Do you take it in stride? Find someone to work with as a team? Hold your frustrations inside? Get stressed in a bad way? Procrastinate and dwell? Lose sleep?

If you’re stressing over change in a negative way (that fight or flight way that elevates your cortisol, blood pressure and weakens your immunity), then, my friend, you’re not adapting, I’m sorry to say. Instead, you’re speeding up the process of death. That kind of stress kills. It weakens our immune system and takes our vital energy and happiness.

I know it all sounds like gloom and doom thus far but here’s the good part: in recognizing this you are on your way to better adapting to change!

It’s those who don’t even recognize they are killing themselves (or those who recognize it and do nothing about it) who end up killing themselves, unknowingly, and die at an earlier age. Or, maybe worse, live a long miserable life.

Sometimes people think they are relieving stress by doing something like watching tv, having a drink to unwind (or hanging out with friends who drink alcohol or do drugs). Sadly, those types of things aren’t relieving stress at all. They are a bandaid. They dull the stress momentarily but it comes right back.

True stress relievers are:

  • 1. Exercise: a dance class, hiking or anything else that gets the heart rate up for preferably 30 minutes per day.
  • 2. Doing something creative
  • 3. Being able to talk to a friend, family member or therapist in a healthy way (Avoid hanging out with “friends” who aren’t supportive or are drinking buddies. I’ve witnessed a lot of younger people do this.)

    4. Being in nature (fresh air, sunshine, getting away from the hustle and bustle of life)

    5. Meditation, prayer, yoga, relaxation techniques

    6. Being able to say no and having good boundaries (removing yourself from a negative person or situation when possible and appropriate)

    7. Laughing

    8. Taking care of your health (balanced hormones, proper nutrition, lots of water, enough sleep, resting and treating yourself at the first sign of illness or injury).

    9. Being authentic to yourself and able to express your emotions in a health way.

    10. Continuing to come back to the present moment over and over again.

    Things like napping, listening to music, reading and going out on a date are all good too, in combination with the things from the list above, but are not substitutes for them. Just because you read every night and go out to do something fun every weekend doesn’t mean you’re relieving stress. It could be adding to your stress if you’re not getting enough sleep, eating properly or are stretching yourself too thin.

    I actually have a post it note in my dressing closet that I see every day that has a list of stress relievers (in more detail than the one above, with ways that I can relieve stress every day) to remind myself to do at least some of those things every single day; to make them a part of my life and not as another “to do” list. These are things I WANT to do, which makes a huge difference. My list looks something like this:

    (“The boys” are our grown sons by the way!)

    If you hate exercise and absolutely dread getting on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day, don’t do that! It’s just creating another stressor! Find another way to get your heart rate up. Take the stairs, go on a brisk walk, offer to walk the neighbor’s dog if you don’t have one, do housework quickly to upbeat music, take a dance or exercise class, meet a friend for a walk, join a gym, take up hiking or bike riding, skiing, swimming or any sport, check your local area for meet ups for exercise, try tai chi, take a karate class, do jumping jacks or dance to music, skip rope. The possibilities are endless. Truly there must be SOME activity you will enjoy.

    Make your own list of ways to reduce stress and start incorporating them into your life. I, for one, don’t want you to go extinct. You (and I) are here for a purpose which isn’t just to pay bills and die.

    Love to you,

    Printer friendlier version in case anyone wants to print it out!

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