The Worst Possible Ways of Dealing With Stress

*Huge apologies for the lateness of this blog post, which should have been posted in late February. I have moved house and this process almost carved me a new arsehole. Apologies once again.

I’ve realised recently that I’m absolutely shithouse on the healthy coping strategies front.

My coping strategies are that advanced and intelligent that I go straight to eating food that is high in sugar (usually chocolate) when I’m a bit stressed.  Sophisticated and innovative, I know.  Actually I allow myself to eat food that is high in sugar once a day every day anyway, I just eat more of it when I’m feeling under the hammer.  And as my boss used to say of himself when he was eating his lunch, I’m also the sort of person who is in danger of losing a finger in the process.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with chocolate and it does contain some amazing feel good components, it unfortunately does not have the power to automatically solve all the problems of the person eating it.

As far as positive self talk goes, I’m a long way from using this successfully to make myself feel better and reduce my stress levels.  I actually sometimes feel rather distant from myself, and I don’t really want to talk to that angry bitch who is lurking in the background.  She is liable to bite my head off, and her leadership track record is at best substandard and at worst pitiful.  However, considering we do spend rather a lot of time together it would be grand if we could learn to get along better.  Positive self talk sounds bloody awesome for a change!    

Paradoxically I tend to respond to stress and to situations in my life that I feel unable to handle by becoming ridiculously over busy.  The idea is that the busy-ness blocks the pain and everything else out and helps me move on with my life.  I’m rather like one of those wind up toys, but instead of losing momentum as the wind up wears off, the wind up just gathers speed and I get busier and busier until I explode in hysterical exhausted tears.  It is of course completely bizarre to say yes to everything and get busier and busier when you are in a difficult situation, because what you actually need to do is to say no to things and reduce pressure in your life.   Being busy but not doing things that are either important or meaningful to you also of course makes you feel depressed, worthless and even more exhausted.  Yes, this one has proved a winning strategy every time I’ve tried it, and embarrassingly, I’ve had a go at it more than once!

When I’m really under pressure I’ve also made the mistake of cutting out making time to see my family and friends, feeling that I was just too busy and too tired to fit anything in.  This one has proved absolutely the worst strategy ever for me.  While I’m probably the least social person I know, I need my network of beautiful people to make life worthwhile.  The amazing people in my life rejuvenate me and remind me that my life journey means something to someone other than just me.      

© Annemaree Jensen 2020