Stress and anxiety. Are you addicted to them?
You may shake your head and think, nah, how could I be addicted to stress! That’s not something I want to be addicted to!
But see, sometimes we don’t choose our addictions. Or, we get so used to this way of living and behaving that we aren’t aware that they have evolved
It started in this toxic job I recently left. (Read these posts to find out all you need to know about toxic jobs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
I was constantly tired, lacking in energy, frustrated. I dreaded work. I was always, and I mean always rushing around for work. I was rushing to work and then I was rushing around getting my work sorted. I ran fieldwork, and we had to finish our discussions in a specific period of time. That gave me alot of anxiety.
In fact, each time I had to run fieldwork I couldn’t sleep the previous night. I was running on adrenaline and caffeine and by the end of the day, I’d be getting migraines. Oh yes, the migraines were frequent in this job. Something that I never experienced since college.
Weekends were too short and I barely felt rested before I had to hit the ground running again early on Monday.
Did rushing do me any good?
Nope. It started to take its toll. I was always tired. So. Freaking. Tired. The migraines would be constant. The lack of sleep was also a usual occurrence.
The form you have selected does not exist.
I’ve always had a bad habit of mistiming things and leaving the house too late, which resulted in the mad rush for the bus, and then getting super impatient if traffic was too slow, and constantly texting my friend/date to apologise.
I wasn’t stopping to see the beautiful things around me. I always felt I didn’t have time for anything important. I was eating in a rush.
This sort of adrenaline kept my body going. But for how long? I did a health check early this year and it wasn’t great: weight gain, cholesterol, early-stage osteoporosis.
I wasn’t treating my body well. I made poor food choices. I wasn’t drinking enough water.
When you are constantly in the state of anxiety and stress, your body is constantly producing cortisol. And that is not good news. A state of constant cortisol production can wreak havoc on your body and cause all sorts of illnesses – high blood pressure, cholesterol, even cancer in some cases.
Worse – I couldn’t hear my intuition. I couldn’t connect fully with my spirit guides. I made decisions on impulse and based off “emotions”, which weren’t always for my highest good.
Oh and one physiological response I had towards stress, anxiety and the constant rushing around is that I perspired alot more than I would like. Not very fun when you are arriving to a business meeting and feeling icky and sweaty.
So I’m making a conscious effort from now on:
I am going to make this addiction to stress and rushing unfamiliar
Yes. I am doing the absolute opposite.
I’m relishing and savouring everything I do. Every minute.
I’m taking my time to eat my meals.
I’m enjoying walks in nature.
I’m indulging in art – painting, and going for walks at the gallery.
I people watch in the cafes.
I am reconnecting to myself, to what I want and take time to celebrate myself.
I listen to my intuition, I feel my emotions, I make decisions consciously.
I consciously and actively choose a slower pace of life. Although I know this is countercultural to what we experience in society.
We live in a hustle society. Everything is do do do, go go go. Oh you want to take a break? What a lazy, useless, unproductive member of society you are. We live in a society that thinks that stress, overwhelm and anxiety is the norm and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Well, I make a conscious decision to not want to live like that.
The form you have selected does not exist.
Even self-care rituals espoused by people do not feel truly relaxing. They always sound like some KPI-ticking exercise. Oh run a cold bath, do your 30 min meditation before breakfast, walk in nature, do yoga poses then only do you start work.
These days I’m consciously choosing to go slow. I savour. I enjoy. I live in the tiny moments that make up the big delicious, wonderfully chaotic puzzle that is life.
I no longer feel or think that being busy or productive is some badge of honour I want to earn.
I no longer feel guilty for wanting more time and space to do something and enjoy the moment. I don’t feel ashamed that I’m not rushing around like other people are.
As long as I’m started to feel rush, I feel my heart beating faster, I’m perspiring more, I’m holding my breath, my thoughts are racing – those are signs to slow things the heck down. And that’s how I am going to live my life moving forward.