Saturday, September 5, 2009

When the world crushes down on your shoulders...

We all fall on hard times of one variety or another from time to time. It's a given fact of life that challenges will arise but I think a lot of us feel like we're due some sort of guaranteed, constant happiness. People do all sorts of things when they face these stressers: they take it out on those around them--sometimes resulting in a sort of emotional blackmail, they fall into depression, and many even turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope. We all have problems. Even I--SunnySideUp Lisa--have problems! This week, in fact, has been a most challenging one for me.

My stepmom, after several months of illness, went to be with our Lord a week ago. My dad, siblings and other family members knew that it was coming but of course losing somebody to death is never easy. Her passing may well have been the best thing for her, as I was reminded, but that fact doesn't make the missing her any easier! It hurts! What hurts even more is that, due to pressed financial times (and that's putting it lightly) I could not get to Georgia to be with my family during any portion my stepmom's illness and not even for her funeral. What kicks me in the ribs the most is that, through their own grieving, I really don't think that my extended family truly knows neither how serious our situation is nor how upset I am that I could not make the trip. This may be my own sensitivity preying on me and making my mind work overtime (as my personality type usually allows) but I dont know--I'm sickened over the thought that perhaps they feel I blew it off. This is not so.

Add to all of that whole thing the day to day worry of making our bills that my husband and I have been facing right. It's rough for so many of us right now. Like my husband, many of you may have had to take pay cuts. Many of you may have actually lost your jobs! Many of you know exactly what I'm talking about (and you know who you are). ;) A couple of months behind on both the mortgage and the vehicle payment is not a happy place to be. We've cut back and skeletoned down even further--just when we thought we were as bare bones economically-minded as we could be. The bill collectors are a callin' and dropping in with pleasant little visits. These are full stress-potential times like no other for us!

Stress precursors come and stress precursors go. The world keeps on spinning and I've found a few ways to continue to move forward right along with it. None of these tips that I will share with you diminish the fact that the challenges are very real and that we have to face them and deal with them but they do help me to keep things in perspective and not get stuck in a pit of despair. I've got an incredibly fantastic husband who is right there on the same page with me, I have some loving, supportive and understanding family members, and I have more than my share of both longtime, dear friends as well as newer, growing friendships. Some of these folks are in the struggling financial pit with us and know first-hand the pains of being behind and others are just really great at showing empathy and compassion. Regardless of who you have in your life, RELATIONSHIPS are the first key. When you are facing a huge challenge it is the relationships that you have been nurturing that will become a most invaluable tool. Here's a little clue, too: we should all be nurturing those relationships continually---not just when we are in need! Relationships with others are what we were created to have and sometimes those are the first things to get dropped. Stressful times can be a good reminder as to how important our friends and family are and how--moving forward--we should place them high on the heirarchy of our lives if they've fallen short in the past. Sharing your problems with a close friend or relative who cares is such a freeing experience. Please don't bottle up your pent up emotions. Find somebody to share them with.

You probably know what I'm going to emphasize next. I have found that, without a doubt, staying physically active helps keep my emotions and feelings on an even keel and helps me to find balance and peace--even in the most stressful of times (actually, ESPECIALLY in the most stressful of times). It's been shown that our bodies store up our tensions even long after we think we've processed the situation in our minds. That's why it's so important to exercise regularly and consistently and not just in little occasional bursts here and there. If I'm feeling tightly wound over something and absolutely ready to explode with frustration, a run outdoors is just the ticket for me or sometimes it's a fast ride on my road bike, Creamsicle. The P90X Plyometrics and Core Synergistics workouts are other examples of intense workouts that drain me of every bit of stored up tension and put me right on time. Then there is my close buddy: Yoga. Yoga and I have become great friends and I would LOVE to introduce you! A good yoga session should provide you with such a harmonious blend of strength, balance, flexibility and relaxation poses after which you will undoubtably feel your troubles melt away. I try to do at least 2 yoga workouts each week (but usually more) and change it up between the 90 minute YogaX that comes with the P90X program and our Yoga Booty Ballet series. Yesterday afternoon was a particularly difficult time for me but after Matt and I did YogaX I felt so much better--it was a night and day difference. I slept well and woke up feeling great.

That brings up another important thought: rest, water and healthy food. We hear so often about the importance of staying hydrated with water, about being careful about what you fuel your body with and about getting plenty of rest. I'm not going to drone on about that now but I do want to emphasize that all 3 of these things are crucial to your overall good health and your ability to effectively and positively deal with stressful issues. Don't turn a deaf ear on the suggestions. Drink your water, eat healthfully and go to bed on time, if not early, people!

Nurturing relationships, physical activity of a high enough intensity and particular type, healthy good, water and rest are all pieces of the puzzle that I've found to help me weather the storms with a smile on my face. I also have to take a moment to mention that, in all of this, I give credit to my maker for the positive outlook I default to and for the drive to stay focused and stick with these uplifting and freeing outlets as opposed to allowing myself to be crushed. For me, living a healthy lifestyle is such a beautifully harmonious process involving a balance of mind, body and spirit through which God works to bring about beauty---even during the ugly moments.

Are you struggling and looking for a way to hold your head above the water? I'm not a counselor but I have a love for people and for helping people get healthier (thus happier). I'm an Independent Beach Body coach and would love to hear your story and help you find your way out of the mud. I'd be happy to tell you more about P90X, Yoga Booty Ballet or any of our other programs. I'd also be happy just to listen :) ~~To your health and happiness~~

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