What Do You Do When the Stress is Weighing You Down?

The Secret to Stress Relief

Last week I gave you the great secret to dealing with your stress, just do something. Every single piece of stress relieving advice is a specific case of that simple advice.

I’ve talked about stress from the biochemical standpoint of cortisol buildup. Today instead, let’s talk about the psychological aspect. A major source of my stress is the things I haven’t done, and I feel that stress as a weight.

Man lying in bed, crushed by the weight of stress
Stress weighs you down

Remove the Weight

Note the language here, “I feel that stress as a weight.” There is no physical weight to stress, but there is a psychological one, and the way to relieve that stress is to remove the weight.

The question, then, isn’t, “What do I do?” because you already know the answer, “Remove the weight.” The question is, “HOW do I do it?” and that is where the various and sundry strategies for dealing with your stress come in.

Here I is again, a list of things you can try to lift the weight:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Physical exercises
  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Hobbies
  • Pets
  • Connecting/reconnecting with those close to you
  • Disconnecting from the insanity of modern life
  • Taking a walk in nature
  • And more

Pick one and do it. Do it regularly and do it with intent. Do it like you mean it.

Not Enough

Okay, Andrew, I’m exercising regularly. I take walks along the river trails, petting my dog, while I get together with friends. It’s not enough. I know.

There are stresses you can do absolutely nothing about, like this fucking Wuhan Flu. If you’re not an immunologist working on a vaccine, or a biochemist working on an antiviral, there is a whole lot of nothing you can do about it, except try to stay healthy and wait it out.

I told you I’ve been suffering some stress in the background, from changes that are coming upon me. Changes I cannot avoid, and can do not do anything to resolve, one of which just hit. Another has been going on outside my back window for the last 6 weeks.

A funny thing happened when they hit. The waiting, the anticipation, the fretting? Gone.

There’s a line in a terrible Steven Seagal movie…okay, they’re all terrible. At least the ones I’ve seen are, and for the first ten years of his career, that was all of them, so I know of what I speak. Anyway, the line is:

Anticipation of death is worse than death itself.

Now, I know nothing of death, I haven’t done it yet, but know of the stress that comes from change. The anticipation of change is always worse than the change itself. The human brain fears the unknown, and reality never seems to measure up to the mental build up.

My parents’ cottage sold; the boys and I are losing our summer getaway retreat. The moment I got the news, I felt the weight lift because I was out of anticipating the change, and into dealing with the reality of the change.

Stress is still there, we have generations of memories, and memorabilia, tied up in that place, with only a few weeks to get it sorted, and only a few more chances to enjoy a family retreat up there. But I can handle that.

The final ingredient

But remember the complaint, “It helps, but it’s not enough.” Well, the recipe for stress relief is to do something, do it regularly, and with intent. This means it takes time, and time is the final ingredient. Time to:

  • Get the cortisol under control
  • Fix your sleep
  • Improve your diet
  • Get in shape

In short, time to get a handle on the stress, while time works on the stressor.

So hang in there. Exercise, meditate, pray, pet your cat, do what you have to do to keep on keeping on. Sooner or later the crisis will pass, and the weight will lift.