Stress Management: What NOT to Do to Avoid a Burnout
Well my loves, I’ve officially reached my post holiday burnout. Why I thought 2020 would be the year I was finally able to skip this pesky annual slump is beyond me. I’ll admit, I’m a glass half full kind of girl, overly optimistic is my trademark and I’m not mad about it. Despite my mini christmas vacay, I have completely burnt myself out! I’m talking zero energy, unable to peel myself out of bed in the morning, vilely ill with the flu kind of burnt out (this is not my best look).
As I’m sitting here confined to my death bed (send help) I’ve had nothing but time to reflect on exactly what’s brought me here and wreaked havoc on my otherwise healthy immune system. Low and behold, it’s my inability to properly manage my current stress levels! Stress management is SO important and often gets overlooked due to over packed schedules and pressing deadlines. But you know what? No amount of stress, healthy or otherwise, is worth sacrificing your mental and physical well being. It’s just not.
Luckily for you guys, I’ve made ALL of the wrong decisions these last few weeks and have lived to share my experience (hanging on by a thread). So if you’re interested in what NOT to do to preserve your energy and prevent a burnout, I encourage you to keep reading.
Oh 2019, the lessons you’ve taught me have been plentiful. One painful and confusing hurdle after another, leaving me to question everything I’ve ever truly known about myself. Who am I? What am I doing? What is my sole purpose in this beautiful and messy thing we call life? As I sit here reflecting on the last 365 days, I’m honestly mind blown by the amount of change and personal growth I’ve fought for in order to catch a glimpse of the woman I knew had been hiding inside me all along. This transformation has been pure magic my loves, but it didn’t initially feel that way at all…
In fact, the woman I was back in January doesn’t even exist anymore! Perhaps I lost her somewhere between my impulsive lesbian uhaul or my attempt to drive a limo smack into the middle of my house? It’s possible she drowned herself in the bathtub during one of her many raging blackouts or got kidnapped in Hawaii upon deciding to hop into a strangers car after one too many glasses of Soho. Wherever she is, I’d like to thank her for teaching me one very valuable life lesson, and that’s that I deserve better.
Tis the season to be burnt out and running on fumes. I don’t know about you guys, but up until this year the holidays for me have been pretty chaotic and overwhelming. Stress levels are on the rise, banks accounts are dwindling, and it feels like every other person I know has caught some form of bubonic plague (myself included)!
On the surface, it is truly the happiest time of the year. Christmas lights twinkle along darkly lit streets, dazzling trees strewn about the city, and the lingering scent of cinnamon and cloves permeates the crisp winter air. Magical isn’t it? There’s just one thing that seems to be missing…my sanity. Perhaps she’s been wrapped up in a beautifully decorated box nestled under the Christmas tree by mistake…
Let me start by clarifying, I am no Grinch nor Ebenezer Scrooge. I LOVE Christmas as much as the next person and become easily distracted by the glitter and magic surrounding the holiday season! Ugly Christmas sweaters, handmade cookies, and curling up with the perfect cup of eggnog on a chilly winter’s night sparks my holiday spirit like no other. As comforting and extraordinary as it all seems, it can be equally as taxing on my mental health. Acting as a gentle reminder of the most important gift we can truly give ourselves this holiday season, and that my friends is self-love.
Yes, you read that correctly. I’m delving into the not so glamorous side of my femininity and exposing my menstrual cycle for what she really is; an evil, satanic force to be reckoned with! Am I being over dramatic? Maybe. Do most of my girlfriends out there relate to this statement? Probably. PMS is a real son of a b!*$h. Not to mention the fact that our cycle occurs every month…365 days a year…averaging approximately 10 years of actual shark week for the majority of us! I’ll just let you sit with that for a minute.
If only the Tampax commercials held an ounce of truth. Tanned, sporty women running around in white tennis skirts, full of energy, not a single blemish (although how could you tell? You’re too distracted by the misleading smile spread across their face, vom). I’ve never loathed marketing more than a deceiving tampon commercial.
Now take a second to imagine your worst case of PMS. You know, those days when you don’t even know how you’re feeling because you’ve cycled through every human emotion over 10 times. Your bloated, lethargic, and in such excruciating pain you’re contemplating your interest in daily living. Are you there? Great. What might happen if your brain chemistry was teetering back and forth or not functioning as it should? Better yet, what would happen if you were diagnosed with bipolar in addition to your PMS? Girl Interrupted psychosis, that’s what.
Oh Vancouver, how I adore your vibrant fall weather and moody beaches this time of year. Autumn is SO nostalgic for me! I sit here reminiscing my first real westcoast fall, complete with an abundance of PSL’s and brisk ocean walks at sunset. The colours, the leaves, the smells, all serve as a gentle reminder that nothing in this life is permanent and transformation in and of itself is infinite and unpredictable.
I’ve recently attended enough therapy sessions to recognize that I can no longer carry around or be weighed down by my daddy issues. Surprise surprise! This trauma occurred over 25 years ago and I’m still walking around with the belief that everyone in my life will ultimately leave and abandon me. Uhm, wtf? You can only imagine how difficult this makes building strong and healthy relationships with others. But in order to heal from my demons, I must face them head on. Let me tell you, this has been the furthest thing from a walk in the park…
It has always fascinated me how human beings cope with the end of a wild wind romance (or just an overall shitty relationship). No matter who you are, you’ve most likely engaged in some pretty questionable antics post breakup. I get it. You’re grieving the loss of someone you have been planning a future with for x amount of time and you aren’t quite sure what your next move should be. Do you impulsively cut off all your hair? Go on a drunken bender? Have a one night stand, or 5? I’ve heard that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else…at least that’s what they tell me.
We’ve all been in that relationship where something just doesn’t feel right. We spend more time arguing (or trying to avoid the next outburst) than we do enjoying each others company and frankly it’s flat out exhausting! Of course things don’t typically start off this way. The honeymoon phase usually lasts just long enough that these recurring conflicts show up disguised as minor setbacks instead of red flags. And who doesn’t love ignoring big, shiny, red flags?
This week’s topic is brought to you by tonights unexpected, emotional meltdown. I realized soon after that I’d been subconsciously letting little things build up without addressing my feelings or communicating with my partner. Simply put, I was really angry. I couldn’t exactly pin-point what about which resulted in impulsive word vomit over several issues all at once (I hate when I do this). To make matters worse, my anxiety was kicked into high gear as I was approaching a weekend visit with my biological dad who I haven’t seen in over 12 years! Top it off with the fact that I had just finished my period…the whole thing was a recipe for disaster.
Until 9 years ago I didn’t even know that pet therapy was a thing. I knew that I had always loved being around animals, yet never really took the time to acknowledge why that might be. It wasn’t until 2010 when I was struggling with an extremely bad bout of depression that my therapist at the time suggested I try pet therapy. Antidepressants and regular therapy sessions just weren’t cutting it for me anymore. Before fully understanding what this form of therapy might entail, I jumped at the word “pet”! Why hadn’t I considered the companionship of a four legged friend might actually be able to pull me out of my miserable slump? At this point I did what any impulsive 17 year old would do; I went puppy shopping!