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I remember the feelings that washed over me in that moment: shame; frustration and anger with myself for how I’d over-reacted; wanting to respond differently. I realized that the problem wasn’t my toddler. It wasn’t even the lotion that was all over my bed and floor. The problem was that I had so much built up stress and anxiety in my life that it was spilling out and my kids were taking the brunt of it. It had to stop.
When I had a chance to reflect, I sat down with a piece of paper and made a list of all the things that were adding stress to my life, both positive (like having a baby) and negative (relationship stresses). It turned out to be a list of about 8-10 things. Then I made a note of which of these stresses I could change or eliminate. As it turned out, most of the items on my list were stresses that I couldn’t change or eliminate completely (welcome to adulthood, right?). So from there I made a list of things that I could do to release that tension in constructive and non-destructive ways.

You might be wondering: What does this have to do with sleep? Well, fast-forward two years: I was pregnant with my 3rd child, and often found myself lying awake at night with anxiety and fear. Some of my fears were real, others were imagined. Either way, the anxiety was stealing my sleep, and along with it my ability to function during the day. Because I had my cheat-sheet, I was able to quickly address my stress rather than just hoping it would resolve on it’s own.

Create your own cheat-sheet

As you answer these questions, don’t worry about practicalities. You may find that some of your answers surprise you.

Download your Stress-relief Cheat-sheet Worksheet to use as you go thru this post:

What are you doing when you let out that big sigh of relief?

the one you were looking for subconsciously but had forgotten that you needed? Is it a cup of tea? Solitude? Creative outlets? Exercise? Music? List at least 2.

What is the one thing you’d do if you were uninhibited (by other’s opinions, messes, etc).

Do you want to break things? Would you socialize non-stop? Would you leave town for a week (or a month)? List at least 1.

What would you do if you could drop everything? all your responsibilities, all your engagements.

Would you sleep non-stop for a week? Would you finally have that night on the town? Would you wander around a public garden or zoo and draw nature sketches? List 2.

If you could change anything about your livingquarters that would change your stress levels, what would it be?

would you pay someone else to clean for you? spring for a larger pad? move to the city? isolate yourself in a cabin in the woods?

Right now, look through your answers and pick one thing you can do right now to release some stress. Want to share? Post it on Facebook and tag @LorasWeightedBlankets 

Download your Stress-relief Cheat-sheet Worksheet to use as you go thru this post:

Just to get you thinking, here are some of my answers (psst: yours are going to be different!):

* Get some fresh air — walk or play outside with my kids or go to an aerobic class (I love Zumba).

* Breaking things — turns out that breaking ice in a bathtub was the perfect subsitute

* Travel! If I could drop everything, I’d hang out on the beach listening to the waves and sorting my thoughts.

* Laugh!! with good friends or comedy entertainment. Not a cure-all, but definitely a stress-relief

* De-clutter/clean. I call this “regaining my sanity”. Apparently my surroundings effect my whole system. [et_bloom_inline optin_id=”optin_4″]

Since making the initial list [from the story], I’ve added to and modified it to fit what works well for me. It wasn’t the first or the last time that Life brought stress or anxiety, and I’m sure I’ll get to expand and hone my list a few more times.

Disclaimer: As it turned out, the list I created that first time ’round indicated to me that I needed to find some professional help, because at the time I was already doing everything I knew to do and it wasn’t enough. Don’t be afraid to seek outside assistance when life throws more at you than you have the skills to manage constructively.

Next week: 6 ways to develop a network of support

For a series of helpful emails that will aid you in your search for the perfect weighted blanket, add your email address here:

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