How I Allowed Stress to Run My Life

Like many people in this world, I have always struggled with stress. I can easily get so in my head about something and my life slowly starts to spiral out of control. It doesn’t take much to truly set me off and get my stress levels rising. When I started to really analyze my stress and things that trigger it, I realized a lot of my stress revolves around the future. I am constantly worrying about what’s going to happen 2 weeks from now, 2 months from now, 2 years from now. I can’t stop myself from worrying and over analyzing every possible outcome of something and preparing myself for all the possibilities. 

This is where I feel my stress begins. I’m a natural planner, I like things organized and always have a plan A that I am determined to achieve while keeping plans B, C and D stored away in the back of my head. I like to be prepared and I don’t really know where this streams from because I grew up in a stable home and this need for myself to always be prepared for potential situations completely runs my life. 

The past few weeks I have been stressing myself out to the point of absolute exhaustion. I can’t sleep, I toss and turn all night and just stare at my ceiling while my body is exhausted but my brain is wide awake thinking…analyzing…and preparing.

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The things I stress about too are so small. I have a good life and if you would ask me how I’m doing I would say “great! Everything’s good!” because when I step back and really look at my life I’m healthy, I’m happy and surrounded by so many good people. But this need for myself to over prepare myself for situations is just completely exhausting and I know I can’t be the only one who struggles with this. 

So instead of hiding this part of my life from you guys, I’ve decided to just open up and start talking about it because that’s how I process bad situations. I just need to talk them out. Some people can hold everything inside and work better processing things internally but I’ve always been a sharer and just talking things out helps me process things. Why am I putting so much pressure on myself? Why must I over analyze every possible scenario that might happen to me? Why am I letting stress completely run my life? I’m not really sure the answer to any of those questions, but I do know I need to start figuring them out because I can’t keep living by putting this much stress on myself. 

This is a topic that I’ve really struggled to share with y’all because in my head I don’t want to burden anyone with personal things that are going on with my own life. I want this to be a place where you can come and see pretty photos of me in pink dresses spinning around gallivanting. But earlier this week I realized how that’s completely un-transparent of me to hide all this inside. My mission statement for my blog is to inspire the modern woman through lifestyle and everyday advice and to make life a little brighter. I want to use my own challenges and experiences to help others through similar situations. My life is not perfect, so far from it and I want to be a resource for other people going through similar situations and lean on this community to get me through the tough times.

So where does that leave me moving forward?

I’m honestly not really sure, sharing that I’ve been carrying all this internal stress is already helping me compartmentalize why I am letting myself get this way. It is definitely something I need to work on moving forward and prioritize letting things go. I am leaning a lot on those around me and Pierce and my mom have been so great in just letting me vent and talk about things aloud. Writing all this down has helped a tremendous amount too. I think the next steps are to stop myself from spiraling when I start to see signs of me falling into a stress frenzy. 

Signs I have noticed about my stress include: 

  • Worrying about things I can’t control 
  • Stressing about things that don’t affect me 
  • Criticizing myself for not being more prepared 
  • Taking on more than I can realistically handle

I realize that my stress is never going to completely go away and stress is a natural part of life. It can protect us from dangerous situations and help us control our reactions to things. But when stress levels become overwhelming and start to affect other areas of your life such as your relationships and your daily functions of life it’s time to intervene. 

How I’m working to not let stress run my life

The biggest thing I want to stress (lol) here is that I am not perfect and these things that I am hoping to achieve I have not done a great job at doing recently.

 I know the biggest thing I need to do to keep my stress levels at bay is to make time for myself. I am so much happier when I make time to workout or take a long hot shower after a busy day. I have so much on my plate sometimes that I forget to take care of myself and my stress levels only rise when I do this to myself. 

The other thing I really, really need to work on is to stop stressing about things I can’t change. My stress has a way of jumping onto those around me who I care about the most. When I am stressed about something in my own life it’s like my body has this internal reaction to then stress about everything else around me. I start worrying about something in Pierce’s life or my parents that has nothing to do with me and I can see the internal battle I put onto myself. My mom always used to say to me when I was little, “is this Mom and Dad’s problem or Zoe’s problem?” or “Is this something Zoe needs to worry about or for Mom and Dad to worry about?” I wear my heart on my absolute sleeve and care so deeply about those closest to me that I want their problems to become my problems. But I can’t always take all that stress onto myself. I can still care about someone without piling all their stress onto my own. 

Lastly, I really need to work on forgiving myself. Sometimes I stress so much about how stressed I am I start criticizing myself for being so irrational. It’s like this vicious cycle where I let stress absolutely control me. I need to take a step back and focus on how far I’ve come in my stress. The things I have now I was stressed about a year ago or six months ago, everything always works out the way it should and I need to focus on positive outcomes instead of preparing myself for the worst. Learning to forgive yourself can be harrdddd… I’m my own worst critic and can easily start criticizing myself for not doing enough of this or that. I’m happy and healthy and I need to remember that when I start to fall into a stress spiral. 

So there’s my long winded, (possibly unorganized?) compete brain dump of everything I’ve been struggling with in regards to stress. I know this journey is long from over and it is going to take work to get to where I want to be with my stress levels. I hope if you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed you don’t keep it inside and let someone know what you’re going through. The only person in charge of your stress is you. Stress management is all within your own control and can be managed through lots (and lots) of practice. 

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