What to Do When Life Happens

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to call myself a hypocrite. I do try to own my faults. Some faults I love to own, it’s just more fun! So please take this blog with a grain of salt but please take it seriously.

Most of us think of ourselves as able to handle whatever life throws at us. We have our own special ways of handling stress when it comes our way. We honestly believe that these things work for us. And for the most part, I am sure they do. Once in a while, life throws us a doozy. Normal stress relievers don’t always work for doozies. A lot of you know that my husband has had a rough time lately with his health. That is my doozy.

I thought I was handling things okay for the most part. Yes, I have been under extreme stress, but I usually have my ways of dealing with it – working on curriculum to me is a stress reliever. Weird, I know, right? It allows me to block all of the stuff I don’t want to currently deal with as I become focused on what I am doing. Lately, I haven’t had access to that which has made it very tough for me to let some of the stress go. Coming to work is also my freedom to walk away from the stresses at home. I’ve also lost some of that.  When we lose our normal way of dealing, we forget to replace it with another means to accomplish relief.

As a massage therapist, I know better than to let all of this stress accumulate in my body. This is where the hypocrite part comes in. Every second we stress, cells in our body are dying off. They can’t deal with it. Then our muscles get all tensed up and starve for nutrients. Unfortunately, those muscles also learn bad behavior. They start to believe that being tense is their normal state of being. If left long enough, the area of discomfort start to recruit friends to join the party. Massage students should know this from time spent going over the neurological laws. They’re a real thing!

So I decided a week ago that I should take the advice I would give anyone else and go for a massage. Something for me. Two words:  Wonderful, Owwww! It turned out to be a two hour massage, which was great. It also pointed out how terrible it was that I had waited so long for that massage. The second thing it pointed out to me was that I was most definitely not dealing with the stress on any level when I believed I at least partially was.

I was watching 60 Minutes the other day and happened to catch a segment on Mindfulness (watch it here). Such a simple concept. I know about Mindfulness, but hadn’t realized how big of a movement it is becoming. We as a society have learned to block stress but not how to really deal with it. Me working to redirect my focus only gave me what I felt was relief. It doesn’t actually make me confront my stress or acknowledge it on any level. It’s kind of like drinking to forget for a short while; the issue is still there when the alcohol wears off and you’re stuck with a hangover. My way is no different except the hangover is replaced with painful tight muscles, which unfortunately don’t go away a couple of days later.

I guess my point to this whole thing is that when life happens, find good ways to deal with your stress. Face it head on and find healthier ways to deal with it. The company I work for offers a wonderful incentive to deal with it by reimbursing us to take care of ourselves. Get a massage at least once a month for starters. If massage isn’t your thing, try a pedicure. Look into Mindfulness. It’s such a simple thing to be focused on the moment without thinking of a hundred other things all at once. It’s in those quiet moments that ideas come forth that are solutions or ways to alleviate whatever we are going through. Barring that, watch the funniest thing you can think of and laugh, laugh, and then laugh some more!  Do whatever it takes! I will try my best to not be a hypocrite and find better ways to deal. Promise! Well, maybe…


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