Today was a very stressful day. It started with an early, tired morning and the long drive up to the CFO’s office for work. I was so tired that I stopped to get gas in my car and made the poor choice of getting a diet coke and a doughnut. What can I say I had a weak moment! Then it was a busy day at work printing checks and sorting sales tax returns. Then there was the drive home and 4 more hours of work (until 8 pm so including driving 12 hour day) because I have to take Friday off for Slam the Dam.
I also finally decided to purchase my bus ticket to Las Vegas for Slam the Dam. On one hand this excited me but on the other it kind of freaked me out. It is refundable so if something happens like my illness flairs up I can get out of it but it just felt like a large commitment in time and money to this race. I honestly think I would be less stressed out if I hadn’t been sick all of last week and had hardly any training. Of course, eating a doughnut and not getting a workout today didn’t help my stress levels.
And then as I was absorbing my feelings I realized I think it is just a Monday. Monday’s are always the most stressful day of the week for me. Wouldn’t you agree? There is always so much to be done- especially on a week where I know I am going to be away or busy later in the week. It puts extra pressure on Monday. Plus, it just feels like you are never going to finish everything, fit it all in.
Evidently I’m not the only one who feels this way. I was texting my trainer about the woes of the day and she agreed with me saying ‘I agree with you on today. It was a MONDAY. So glad it is over’. My thoughts exactly. She also reminded me to ‘stay positive’ and that ‘everything will be great’ (She is the best. Such a blessing in my life). The same sentiment was repeated by my Dad, Mom and many of my friends. It also helped to hear from a couple of my open water swimming friends about their similar anxieties and worries about racing. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.
When you’ve worked so hard for something you just want to do your best. You want it to be a success. It is easy to analyze every moment you could have done better (ie huge guilt complex over eating a doughnut. As if that is going to stop me from finishing the race!).
Sometimes I am glad I’m single and someone doesn’t have to put up with my stress-out sessions (my Mondays!). I’ve gotten better at handling things over the years but I still have those days.
There are even songs written about how Monday stinks:
What do you do to handle stress effectively? How do you face a week full of busyness without feeling a little nuts? In other words, how do you deal with your Mondays?
I personally am a big believer in processing your emotions honestly and completely. Even it if seems dumb like the doughnut worry. If it is adding stress to my life then it is not dumb. I take a big breath, maybe shed a tear or two, create a plan and give my self as much positive self-talk as possible.
It also helps to deal with the worst possible outcome of the stressful events- to ask What’s the worst that can happen? Usually once I ask this question I realize I can handle it, even if things don’t go my way. It’s amazing what a difference these techniques can make in my overall well being. My pulse goes down (sometimes my sugars will literally go down when I manage my stress) and I physically and spiritually feel at peace.
If you want to read a great book on handling stress, depression and anxiety read David Burns classic on cognitive therapy Feeling Good. One of my roommates gave it to me and it has truly helped me time and again to create plans for dealing with my emotions. I think it should be a part of every person’s personal library. (It is over 700 pages so it is better as a reference then to read outright- although I’m sure that would be very helpful).
Some may think it is strange that I admit to such emotional struggles, but I do so because I think everyone deals with these issues in some form or another. I also want to be clear that my problems are manageable and certainly not the type of debilitating depression and other mental illness that some people face. My triggers are of the ordinary, garden variety stressors. Perhaps my strategies can help others in some small way?
Also I must say thank goodness for Dancing with the Stars on Monday nights! If I’m having a bad Monday at least I know somewhere out there a celebrity is having a worse night on the ballroom!