Archive

Tag Archives: stress management

Another post, and I still haven’t found time to be a whale. But I was encouraged by lots of positive responses to that post. I think talking about being busy and stressed out has struck a chord with many of you, which is simultaneously sad and pleasing, as if we’re all in some kind of crazy club.

And the first rule of crazy club is… you definitely CAN talk about it. In fact you definitely SHOULD talk about it, if you’re feeling stressed or anxious. These feelings may seem like a normal part of everyday life, especially if (like me) you have Asperger’s but you’re still trying to get lots done. But these feelings can also be dangerous. They can separate us from our loved ones. They can snowball into something so big you can’t sleep properly and you struggle to leave the house. I suspect a lot of my readers have already been there and done that, so let’s not go back!

Anyway, this isn’t exactly what I was intending to write about when I sat down. The title of my post refers to a James Acaster sketch, which I really like, so I’ll try to find a clip of it to link to. Just in case I can’t – or for anyone who doesn’t want to follow a YouTube link, I’ll summarise…

The sketch is about how we define our day by all the jobs we have to do. When we go to bed, it’s not explicitly to sleep. It’s because “no more jobs!” – either we’ve finished or we can’t stand to do anymore. This has been my life for much of the past few weeks. I enjoy most of the jobs, but I still get overwhelmed sometimes and a bit stressed trying to fit everything in. And yet, I’m really stubborn, so even things like my volunteering, which only happens once a month but always stresses me out because it takes time away from more important stuff, I don’t want to quit. I don’t want to let my team down. I know I enjoy the recording sessions when I get there, and I like seeing my team mates. So, I have lots of good reasons not to give that up… and it’s the same for everything else I have to get through each week.

I can’t cut work – that’s too much fun, plus the money!

I can’t cut play dates – my daughter’s social life shouldn’t suffer just because I’m frazzled!

I can’t cut yoga or book group – they’re actually good for my physical and mental wellbeing!

I can’t cut studying – I’m enjoying that and it’s good for my career!

I can’t cut shopping and laundry – because we’d starve and stink!

So, I guess I’m stuck with all my jobs. But that’s OK because I can come and vent here – at my crazy club.

Right. Time for more JOBS!!!!

PS. I’ve not forgotten the clip – I’ll try and add it in later. It’s worth seeing!

Advertisements

If you read my last post, you’ll have some idea of why I’ve been quiet lately. My feelings may have fluctuated, but the busy-ness has been constant!

Today, I’ve been inspired to take time out to talk about regrets, and holding onto negativity, which is something that affects everybody in some way, even if you’re (lucky to be?) neurotypical.

The festive period was certainly joyful in our house, but I found the sheer quantity of guests, engagements, and ‘things I needed to do’ really overwhelming. By the time I got back to work I was frazzled and stressed, wondering where my holiday went.

Luckily my emotions have evened out a bit since then, but I realised I’d been holding onto negativity when I really didn’t need to. Just a couple of days ago, I realised I’d been going to bed feeling stressed, almost every night. From 8pm, I start looking at my watch, wondering when is early enough to get to bed just in case one of the children gives me a bad night.

I’ve been a mother for almost 6 years. Almost 7 if you count ‘brewing’ time. Those years have taught me to cling desperately to my sleep, because children can go through so many phases, and so many bugs. But my two are relatively good sleepers. Sure, there have been plenty of nights where I just wanted to be unconscious so badly… but there have also been many more nights that were good. Yet for more than half a decade, I’ve been holding onto this idea that if I’m not in bed between half eight and nine, I might be an emotional wreck by morning.

When you contextualise the worry like that, it seems ridiculous. And maybe it is!?

So – what does this have to do with whales? I hear you ask. Well, I thought if I started to practise mindfulness that would help, and a friend of mine recommended becoming a whale. The idea is, you have to imagine all the negativity being blown out of the top of your head – like water from a whale’s blowhole.

When she told me this, my first instinct was to laugh, and maybe that’s the point. It’s hard to be negative and stressed out when you’re really laughing at something.

I actually haven’t tried it yet (because I’ve been so busy) – but just knowing that I’ve been holding onto stress has made me a bit less worried. I think dealing with stress will always be a work in progress. Knowing that it’s there is the first step to fighting it.

Do you have a good mindfulness tip to share?

Another long gap between posts – and I already used the last one to apologise!

The truth is, I’ve spent the last few weeks feeling totally overwhelmed. I suspect this is a common Aspie feeling, after all we are prone to stress, at least partly because (I think) we’re also prone to over-thinking everything. But first, (well, second now) the good news.

I got a job!

It seemed to come together very easily, and if any of you have read some of my previous work-related posts, like this one, you’ll know how astonishing that is to me.

So, now I have an office job 2 days a week, plus I still do some freelance work from home, plus the kids, plus the housework, plus plus plus…

So you can see why I might be a bit overwhelmed. I am very pleased to have my new job – I really enjoy being there! But at the same time it cuts into what was already a busy week for me. I am at least 70% staying on top of everything, but it always feels like a stretch and I’m wondering if I’ll ever get really good at spinning all these plates.

Fellow plate spinners – how do you manage? Does it get better with time?

 

I have recently acted as a sympathetic listener for a friend who has been stressed out by events in her family life. This is not a new activity for me. Over the last three decades or so I’ve often been the one that friends turned to for somebody to listen openly, and advise. My aim is always to find a solution, for any problem, and I don’t like it when friends make lots of excuses not to resolve their problems or attempt a solution.

And yet… And yet today I find myself the victim of my own stifling stress. I’m tired and grumpy and I want to stay in a dark room and just avoid the event that’s stressing me out. But I can’t.

What I want to do is stifle the stress but actually, the stress has been stifling me. It makes me inactive. I can’t focus on work. Household chores are too boring. I couldn’t possibly study today… all because I’m worried about going away for the weekend with my husband and child, to visit some of my husband’s friends. How dumb is that? I’m ready to throw in the towel over a weekend party.

And it is a party, with some lovely people, and I know my daughter and husband will have a great time…and yet.

I’ve been to these parties before and they always stress me out. I have to talk to lots of people that I only see once or twice a year. There will be lots of background noise and distractions because there will be so many children there. I will be worrying about my daughter’s ability to cope with how busy everything is. And I have to stay the night in someone else’s house. If my husband read this, he wouldn’t get it.

Parties are fun!

The kids will have a great time!

They’re being really kind hosting everybody!

As usual, I am the killjoy. Or rather, my Asperger’s is. Anyway, like the friend I mentioned earlier, I really just wanted to vent, so thanks for that!

On Saturday I shall be taking my own advice and going to the party. It’s a small price to pay for my family and my husband’s kind friends. Until then – I hope I can be a little less stressed, and a little less useless because of it.

Do you find stress stifling?

 

I have realised today that I am incredibly lucky.

For the past week, I’ve been ill. I got a stomach bug that never quite seemed to go away – I even started to get dizzy spells. On top of that, my beautiful daughter got croup again. I was SO stressed, and actually started to get the kind of thoughts I used to get when I first got depressed, about half my life ago.

Today it occurred to me that my stomach pains had made me eat a lot less, which was probably the cause of the dizzy spells. I also realised that my continued stomach ‘flare ups’ were probably still happening because I’d been so stressed.

Today my daughter is much better, and I’ve been eating more. I’ve had no dizzy spells yet – touch wood! I made a conscious effort to think more positively, and I did some yoga. I also realised that all the changes at work that I’ve been worried about, should actually put me and my family in a much more secure, and less stressful, position than before.

I am slowly starting to unwind.

I have often noticed how different people cope with stress. What I’ve seen (in my limited experience) is that non-Aspies, such as my other half, seem to deal with stress a lot better than people like me. I’m not sure if this is generally true.

Something else I’ve noticed is that men seem to cope better than women – but this might be because they have been raised with an expectation of stress, or taught to have greater confidence in their own resources.

Whatever the reasons, I know that my body does not cope well with stress. When I get stressed a whole host of symptoms appear: mouth ulcers, tiredness, sensitive bowel, insomnia, dry skin, comfort eating or loss of appetite. I’m also open to any germs my toddler happens to send my way – mostly colds and sometimes diarrhoea.

This sucks. I am fed up of it.

I have had so many changes to cope with in the last 12 months and no immediate sign of any respite. I always seem to have too much to do.

I suspect, I need to change, rather than waiting patiently for life to ‘calm down’.

So, how do you do that? How do Aspies – or anyone – cope with stress?

All tips (and sympathy) welcome!