I’m a doer. I don’t do “relaxation” or “boredom” well. I accept challenging jobs because I can’t handle complacency or stagnation, and I take on extra opportunities and obligations because spare time freaks me out. I tend to be at my worst when I don’t have enough going on.
But the line of “just enough” and “too much” can be paper thin.
In the weeks since my last post about registering for a half marathon to force myself into a routine, life has sped up. My day job has seen some major changes and challenges for which I’m grateful but have still caused some major feelings of inadequacy or frustration in the now. Wedding planning is progressing, and I’m enjoying the planning process; however, wedding planning has a way of bringing out the crazy in people. Relationships are tested, and everyone — from your closest confidante to your most distant acquaintance — has an opinion about weddings, and roughly half of them will share theirs without solicitation. And that second job? It’s lighting up like crazy, in the best possible way.
I’d say the stress is a 50/50 split on good stress versus bad stress. But… what happens when the consistent stress, good and bad, continues to wear on you?
What happens when your self-positive mantra of, “I am enough,” seems to have phased out and left room for, “I will never be enough,” to become to new slogan for your life?
I’ve been at the cusp of that for a while. These times of good and bad stress are the ones that tend to knock me off-kilter. Living with bipolar disorder, I tend to just live life as an overly-expressive, enthusiastic person — these are the times when my mildly-exaggerated emotions start tipping toward depression. It’s when I’m at highest risk of a bulimic relapse.
So, what do I do?
- I remind myself of the joy that comes with the good stress. For me, right now, it’s looking at pictures and video of my proposal. It’s also thinking of the triumphs I’ve discovered in this “new” job (I’ve been there 6 months).
- I do a perspective check on the bad stress. Is this something I’ll laugh about in 5 or 10 years? Or something that will make me grow through the learning and experience? How can I learn about empathy, compassion and grace from this experience? Or, who can I help because of it?
- I prioritize my schedule a bit. If that means skipping a social outing to have a quiet night at home recharging, or taking an extra evening off from the second job, that’s fine. Self care is a form of healthcare.
- I leave wiggle room for grace. Whether it’s in my strict training regimen which includes healthy eating and occasional snacks, or taking a break from my desk to go for a walk or grab some coffee, or forgiving myself for not doing the dishes as soon as I finished dinner, I actively give myself the grace and space to heal and recover.
- I savor small wins. Sometimes getting back to those dishes after relaxing for a bit, or actually getting up when your first alarm goes off, can be enough of a victory to remind you that YOU GOT THIS and YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Life is good, but… I’d be lying if I said my anxiety hadn’t been sneaking more noticeably into my everyday life and my baseline mood hasn’t been one of fairly consistent mild depression. But this is the life I lead, and it’s my duty to myself to be both accountable for my own care AND my well-being. That vital self care includes giving myself the time to recover and the pep talks it takes to remember I am enough.
The reality is, I’d be way more miserable without all this excitement. In fact, I would probably be more depressed, feeling trapped and having those thinking impulses to run away from it all because I’ve plateaued. Sometimes, I’m even grateful for where I’m currently at, because it means I’m being challenged and will continue to grow through this experience.
I just always have to remember I am enough, and that being enough is always, always more than enough if I give myself the self care and attention I deserve!
Kelly Rivard is a regular Body Boop blogger, and a 20-something digital strategist living in Kansas City with her fiancé, two dogs, a bird, a lizard and several fish. You can follow her on Twitter or on her Facebook page Crazy Fit.
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Tags: #bodyboop, bad stress, bipolar disorder, body boop, bulimia, bulimia recovery, bulimics, eating disorder, eating disorder treatment, eating disorders, ED, ED recovery, edrecovery, exercise, good stress, Kelly Rivard, motivation, running, self care, self love, stress, wedding, wedding planning, wedding stress, wellness