Awareness is a starting point for change. Becoming aware of our posture allows us to sit and stand taller reducing back pain. Becoming aware of how our bodies utilize the food we eat allows us to lose weight, lower your cholesterol or feel more energized. Becoming aware of our stress level and how it affects others can help us make adjustments that will benefit us and those we care about.
This past week I ran around quite a bit more than usual. I accepted a job offer and suddenly found myself having a ton of things to get done before my first day of work. My daily schedule instantly had little routine and with appointments that were changed at the last-minute, my days were packed to the gills. Through all of it I knew there was some elevated stress, but I was doing pretty good, I was handling it. About half way through the week, my dog started to show symptoms of being sick, and within a few days it was apparent that I would have to get her into the vet. They checked her over and did not find anything wrong with her. Then the vet asked me if there are any major changes happening in our lives or our schedule? I shared with her that I would be starting a new job and this week had been unusually busy. She indicated that there was a good possibility that her symptoms could be related to anxiety. Suddenly I became aware of the fact that between the interview prep, interviews, waiting to hear about the job and then the sprint to get ready for starting day, my stress was elevated and this had a negative effect on my sweet dog.
It suddenly dawned on me that we all deal with stressful things on a daily and weekly basis. We deal with them as best we can, but like me, many times we forget to realize that our stress does have an impact on those around us, most importantly, the ones we love.
Becoming aware helped me in three important ways:
- My awareness helped me slow down, breath, and intentionally reduce my stress. I was reminded of a book a I read years ago called Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, And It’s All Small Stuff. One of the things I took away from the book was that my “To Do” list will still be here tomorrow. Our chores never end and I needed to remind myself that stressing myself out and trying to get everything done was not good for anyone.
- My awareness prompted me to make sure I continued to prioritize those I love. The greatest gift we can give is the gift of our time. I made sure I stopped and distributed as much love as I could. Low and behold, it made me feel much better too!
- My awareness reminded me that it’s ok to ask for help. Many times we feel we need to take care of things ourselves, but that is a lie. There are times we simply need help. I don’t know about you, but it is hard for me to ask for help. In order for me to prioritize my most important things, I had to ask for help.
If your stress level is on the high side right now, take a moment to think about how your stress is affecting those you love. Did a late night project keep you from snuggling and tucking your kiddo into bed last night? Did your lack of rest cause you to snap at your spouse or co-worker? Are you always thinking about work, and not asked your loved ones about their day?
Life involves stress, but becoming aware of it, how it impacts our lives, and the lives of others is the first step in making a change for a better future.
Here’s to taking care of ourselves, then passing that onto others!