|Stress makes me want to Scream|
Stress is my worst enemy. My body as a whole reacts very badly to stress, but generally mentally I am fine. It takes quite a lot to have me sobbing into my tea feeling like I'd rather crawl into a hole and go to sleep.
Unfortunately this last fortnight has been one of those times. A combination of factors, including an essay from hell and a random bout of PMT (I don't have periods because I have a Mirena, but I still get the joys of PMT at times) have led to some predictable but annoying physical symptoms.
Obviously the best way to deal with stress is to attack the cause of the stress, but in acute situation this simply isn't possible. No matter how much I plan or study early, I still get stressed about essay deadlines. So I thought I'd share with you some of the symptoms I experience and how I deal with that immediate problem.
My skin goes to hell
I have stress triggered acne. This appears to be a family trait, as my sister also suffers. My skin would suggest that I am permanently stressed about something, and I guess that wouldn't be far from the truth! When I'm really really stressed my liver acts up (according to the herbalist I saw last year) and causes me to have spots on my chin and jaw. It doesn't help that I have sensitive skin as well, which has a tendency to be dry.
The Treatment: A face mask, such as Boots Botanics Conditioning Clay Mask, which doesn't dry my skin out but makes me feel like I'm doing something. I wash my face with Lush Angels on Bare Skin, Nivea Pure and Natural Cleansing Lotion and hot water. I also make sure I keep up with my supplements.
I get very bloated
Stress triggered IBS. I can thank my ex husband for that one. And maybe a dose of genetics. I take aloe vera tablets daily to try and keep these kinds of symptoms at bay, but when I'm stressed one thing that tends to go to pot is my supplement regime. The bloating is very uncomfortable and while I'd love nothing more than to sit in a room passing wind, that isn't the most pratical or friendly thing to do in the office.
The Treatment: A hot bath works well to relax the abdomen. Drinking plenty of water, particularly when you add barley grass powder, and Aloe vera is very good, whether taken as a gel or tablet. Do not eat a large Dominoes Reggae Reggae pizza all to yourself. This will not help. Brown rice and wholesome grains will.
I want to eat carbs by the bucketload
I get really hungry and want to eat crisps and biscuits. Sometimes that is ok. I devoured half a packet of Hob Nobs in an afternoon whilst tackling my essay last week. Today I ate a whole bag of Nando's Peri Peri Chicken crisps with my lunch. This week I've drunk nearly 4 litres of Coca Cola. Healthy eating has gone out of the window!
The Treatment: I never stop drinking the barley grass water, especially when I'm at work. It has become so ingrained in my life now that its easy to keep it up when the rest of my routine goes to shit. And then when I'm done, I do a massive refeed of good proteins and lots of vegetables. In fact, I think this weekend there will be a stirfry full of tofu, vegetables, served with brown rice noodles. The Beard and my visiting best friend will love me for that! The main thing in situations of acute, short term stress, is just to do what your body tells you to do. As a very wise friend told me: Tomorrow is another day.
Late nights become de rigour
Essay writing tends to mean late nights. This week I've been up until 2am every night, and still had to be up for work at some stupid hour of the morning. I am, understandably, knackered.
The Treatment: plenty of caffiene, sugar and apples until the weekend, and the SLEEP. There will probably be some falling asleep on the sofa in that time, but maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to sleep for a good 8 hours on Friday night.
I am acutely aware that the reason I suffer so badly with acute stress is my tendency to internalise everything, and my complete and utter inability to ask anyone for help. I like to think I'm superwoman (I think exploring that will be another post!) but really I'm not. I am incredibly grateful to those around me who put up with my crying, staring into space, inability to think about anything other than the task at hand, forgetfulness and my general inability to organise my life properly. Especially The Beard, who deserves a frickn' medal.
How does stress manifest for you? How do you deal with it? Do you have any super zen tips? I'd love to hear your comments and experiences :)