And how it affects your relationships.
|Kirstie Taylor||Apr 17, 2020|
Welcome to another edition of, "I've worn these sweats for the last four days."
I'm still hunkering down with my beau at his parent's home, north of LA (where I live). Specific to that, I had my first essay published in a major publication, Cosmopolitan Magazine. It's a funny little piece about quarantining in my boyfriend's childhood home.
I don't know about you guys, but I feel like my patience and sanity are tested daily. I've mentioned this before, but the analogy of Shamu inside his tank at Sea World is on point. On top of worrying about the future, being stuck in the same confined space is taking its toll on me.
Maybe you're feeling the same? If I had to name the emotions, along with anxiety and worry, I'd say I'm stressed. And for a lot of people, stress leads to decreased sleep, feelings of lethargy, increased arguing, and a shorter temper.
And if you're quarantining with a partner, family, or are constantly bombarded with Zoom invites to chat with your fam, that stress can affect your relationships.
You're not alone, though (hello, I feel it too). And there are some tools to help you manage these rather unprecedented times.
Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we're stressed out
Last week I snapped at my boyfriend while we were playing pool. He made a joke that felt like an attack on my pool playing abilities—which aren't remarkable but still. My outburst led to a talk that needed to be had.
"I'm stressed, to be honest. I'm worried about my future with writing, and it's hard for me not living in my apartment," I said.
And then, we had a pleasant little conversation about open communication and making the house feel more welcoming for me.
Stress is a natural response for humans. It triggers hormones that flip the switch on our "fight or flight" mode. Stress prepares us to handle dangerous situations as they come.
But your kids driving you crazy or your partner not doing the dishes, again, isn't exactly "dangerous." And though the virus can be scary AF to think about, for most, it's not an immediate threat. So it's important to do what you need to manage your stress levels, for the sake of your relationships and sanity.
Getting a handle on some of your stress
Be honest with yourself
Trying to act like this crisis isn't getting to you won't do you any good. Before you even think about trying to get a handle on things, you have to admit to yourself how you're feeling.
There's no need for judgment. It's ok to not be ok during these times.
Talk about how you're feeling
If your stress is affecting your relationships, opt for honesty. Lay it all out on the table that you're struggling. Whether it be your partner or your family, it'll give them a chance to understand what you're going through instead of coming to their own assumptions.
Talking about feelings out loud tends to give them less power, too.
I feel like a broken record using the term "self-care." It seems to be the go-to advice for just about everything.
But you'd be surprised how much we forgo pleasure for the sake of work, family, responsibilities. We only have one life to live and if you're not taking baths, doing hobbies you love, reading a good book or playing the guitar, then what kind of life is that?
Get some D
The vitamin kind. Being out in the sun gives our bodies Vitamin D, known as the feel-good vitamin. So go out in your backyard to get some work done. Better yet, go somewhere public, that you can socially distance, with your partner or family. Spend some quality time together while soaking in the rays.
It's even better if you get your sunlight in the morning because it helps your body's natural circadian rhythm.
Get a good night's sleep
This one shouldn't be that difficult to achieve. I mean, we're stuck at home. We're probably a mere 5-20 feet from our beds at all times.
Sleep will help you feel better prepared for the day. You might be thinking, but if I'm stressed, how can I sleep? Well, all of the above that I mentioned will help guide you to a good night's sleep.
Prioritize your sleep. It'll do you and the people in your life a lot of good.
Lastly, talk to a professional
Going to a therapist in person isn't an option right now, but online therapy is. Zoom is for more than work meets that could've been an email.
Talking to a professional helps you work through things that the other people in your life aren't equipped to handle (not to mention they're objective). If your relationship is really being tested at this time, couple therapy is an excellent way to talk things out with a mediator.
Some helpful content…
Look, if you don't want to take my couple's advice, fine. Listen to this therapist. Then try out a meditation or two, if that's your jam. Relate to someone with anxiety or a comedian on how he's handling things. There's no need for stressful grocery shopping. Again, personal essays kinda rock when you're feeling isolated by your struggles. And let's not forget about the kids or the pets.
Until next week... stay sane & healthy.
All the love,
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