Handling The Stressors In Your Life
Most of us who live with chronic illness know that stress can be a key factor in how we feel from day to day. What many of us fail to realize is that there really is something we can do about stress in our lives. This particular blog is dedicated to Mary Ellen Neal, A.R.N.P. from Gulf Breeze, Florida, who taught a dear person in my life that stress does not have to kill or wreck your life. That you can control a lot of the stress in your life, and thus make your life a better place to be.
According to Mary Ellen, we all have stressors in life. Isn’t that the truth? But stop and think for a minute about your stressors. Look at them. Examine them. Learn where they come from. Be aware of how they affect you. Then decide, are they a stressor that you can do something about, or stressors that you cannot control? Once you have that answer you are on your way to controlling or eliminating the stressors in your life, and possibly you are on your way to controlling or even eliminating some of the flares you experience.
Note: The following should be taken as examples only and not construed as fact. Most things in our life can be altered, changes, or eliminated. Understand that everyone’s life is different so no representation of fact with regards to any individual’s particular situation.
Examples of stressors you cannot control are your children, work (unless you are willing to quit or change jobs), spouses (though you can talk to them and hope they can lower the stress level they add to your life), medical problems (for the most part), medications (though you may need to change from one medication to another with less side effects), money and bills (though in many cases we can keep from creating new bills), legal issues, and the daily tasks we must all do.
Examples of stressors you can do something about include your extended family, acquaintances, casual friends, tasks you take on for others (you can be your own worst enemy), shopping (it has to be done, but there are many ways to change how it is done), being perfect or believing you have to be, exercise (don’t eliminate it, but if it causes stress change your form of exercise), holidays (you can’t eliminate them, but you can change how you approach and celebrate them), meals, house work, travel, most relationships, food, schedules to some extent, and all the non-essentials in your life.
Some of the stressors that are stated as being under your control, may cause you to stop and say “no way”. I can’t control my family. I can’t control friends. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. First look at your approach. If you think you can’t you have immediately doomed yourself and the outcome will be exactly what you expect. You can and should explain to the people in your life what your needs are with regards to your illness and well being. If they don’t understand, or refuse to comply with what you need, then it is up to you to take control of the situation. Set your boundaries and then do what you have to do to enforce them. This may sound strange, or even a bit strong, but you have to be the one who is control of your life, your illness, and the stressors you can control.
Making the changes necessary to control, change, or eliminate the stressors in your life that you have control over is never an easy process. But, the results are certainly worth the effort you put in to it.