How do you know if you’re stressed? Do you feel it in your body as it’s happening? Or do you only realize it after the damage has been done?
Alternatively, are you a person with their shit together who takes preventative measures in order to combat the physical, mental, and emotional drain brought on by stress?
Or are you a little bit of Column A, B, and C?
Yeah, same. I mean, we know better, but also… life, amiright?
There’s an aspect of being pregnant that is isolating—a vulnerability to the condition, as sacred and special, as it is. And that’s regardless of age or amount of support you may have.
All of a sudden you are no longer in complete control of your body, or the cellular happenings of it, anyway (and maybe you never were). A new evolution has begun within your womb—one that has a beginning, middle, and end.
You become more mindful of it. You are fiercely protective of it—and of what’s inside.
And maybe sometimes you curse it for the distortion it’s causing. Or alternatively, you praise it for performing such miraculous work.
You try to prove to yourself and others that you can keep up—that as you grow and slow down, you can maintain the lifestyle to which you had become accustomed.
And you put yourself through this until your body finally forces you to stop.
This can manifest in a literal pause while walking up the stairs, simply to catch your breath. Or it means canceling plans to just sit on the couch all night watching TV.
when stress hits
Last week was stressful.
I didn’t realize it at first.
I’d been deep into nesting as I headed into my third trimester. So, moving things around and tending to this or that seemed the natural thing to do.
Even the sad news of my sweet aunt passing was taken in stride, as I thought about how I could best be of help to everyone during this time.
But then at 5:30 p.m. on a Monday, everything seemed to come to a head. All of a sudden I was trying to write up some content for work, while on a FaceTime call with my family trying to make travel plans, when I was supposed to be getting ready to leave my house by 6:00 p.m. for an event downtown.
My attention was split, my mind was scattered, and I couldn’t focus on any one thing. I was frazzled and let it all overwhelm me.
I knew better, and yet I did not act better.
We left the house at 6:48 p.m. And I felt horrible.
At some point during the kids’ bedtime routine, my stomach started to turn. I went downstairs and put on a comfort TV show, with a glass of water and banana on the table next to me. I sat there on the couch while this chaos swirled around inside me. I felt so sick that I couldn’t move. I tried to keep my eyes on the television as a forced distraction, but the pain was too great. I finally mustered enough energy to slouch down a bit more, thinking this might help in some way—it didn’t.
Was it something I ate? While the question briefly crossed my mind, I knew what this was. It was stress.
Many of us hold our stress in our stomach, which is why we get tummy aches when we’re nervous, or throw up before a performance.
This was all of the stress I had been inflicting on my body—some knowingly and some unknowingly—manifesting into physical pain.
My body was saying “enough.”
Knowing the core cause now, I thought that maybe if I could lie down on my side and rest, the discomfort would subside.
I stole a blanket from the dogs and covered myself up on the couch. Collin found me there (not knowing that I had taken such a turn so quickly) and graciously took care of me until I could pull together enough energy to get upstairs to bed.
This took awhile.
When he first saw me, I could barely even talk. My mouth was dry and he had to feed me a straw just to get a sip of water. I was slipping in and out of some sort of consciousness. It was bad.
But in solidarity, Collin lied down on the couch, too—holding up the glass for small sips of water here and there. He’s a saint (and a healer).
That night, I had very vivid dreams. Highlights included having 22 babies (yes, specifically 22), Cabbage Patch doll heads on a window valance from the ’80s, and having to switch cars multiple times at different locations throughout the night in the rain. If those things don’t scream STRESS, then I don’t know what does.
how do I fix it?
The next morning, after that (quite literal) gut check, I knew that I needed to make some changes and get my shit together. I set my intentions for the day:
- To make healthier choices when it came to snacking and meals.
- To not overexert myself physically (by moving furniture, etc.)—that hormonal nesting is beast.
- To go with the flow instead of making things complicated.
- To be more present.
Did I slip up? A little.
But did I feel a thousand percent better at the end of the day than I did the night before? Uh-huh.
Because when you live intentionally, your whole life moves into alignment with your highest good.
In a recent workshop, Dr. Joe Dispenza said, “where your attention goes, your energy flows.”
By focusing on the changes you want to make in your life, the more motivated you will be to take steps toward them. And if you are deliberately doing things to reach your desired outcome, you are way more likely to get there.
Which brings me to another smart quote that Collin will appreciate: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
All that to say, if you consciously let intention guide you toward a less stressful way of being, then you’re more likely to have a stressless life. *
Which is way more preferable than pushing and pushing and pushing until your body finally says “STOP. You’ve gone too far. Turn around.”
*That doesn’t mean stress won’t creep in from time to time, but if you begin to get a handle on it now, you’ll be in a better position to offset it quickly in the future (and less likely to dream about Cabbage Patch doll heads on ugly 30-year-old window treatments). 😜