Have you ever thought you can do it all -- like build Rome in a day?
I thought I could. I was like the Energizer Bunny, just going and going and going. At the time I was working in the corporate world at a multinational company. I got caught up in the awe of and not just having one role or two roles, but rather three roles all at the same time. Two required international travel. I thought this is what success looked like. I was being flown off to places like Stockholm once a week and Barcelona every so often working on big projects and brands. I didn't stop to second-guess it; I was moving forward in my career and doing what it took.
Fast forward a few years and one day in mid conversation my body hit the floor. I had collapsed. I didn't get it. I thought I had my health "right" and "under control." I had no illnesses or underlying conditions. I was always doing something to make sure I could do it all. At work I made every effort to keep up with my responsibilities, deadlines, meetings and all of my emails. After work I kept fit by going to the gym two to three times a week and by eating chicken salads. I thought I had it all together or so it seemed.
But stress and exhaustion crept in and hit me like a ton of bricks. It literally felt that way. For the rest of that day I lay in bed scared, drained and weak thinking to myself, "What if this had happened when I was driving? Or going down the stairs?"
After that experience I soon began to realize and learn I had been ignoring the signs. I had just brushed them off like it's nothing. I had the muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, lack of focus, not to mention feeling irritable on a regular basis that all come from stress.
To find these answers I went back to school to learn about wellness. It dawned on me there that there is more to being healthy than what exercise and nutrition alone can provide. Stress plays a huge part.
I just didn't connect the dots back then.
You may think, "I am not stressed, I'm doing just fine."
Are you sure? Here are the four most common signs stress is playing a bigger role in your life than you may think:
1. Your mind does not quiet down, you're always thinking, analyzing, reflecting on work no matter where you are. It's always on your mind -- first thing in the morning and last thing at night as your head hits the pillow. Heck, you even dream about work.
2. You don't know how to keep still or just be. You always need to be doing something otherwise it just does not seem right.
3. Sleep is not a priority. You get less than the seven hours your body needs.
4. Even when you're off work, you are still connected to it through your beloved smartphone -- man's new best friend. It does not leave your side. You check it constantly. The mere thought of leaving your phone somewhere else makes you feel uneasy.
If this is you, it's time to do something about it. I'll be sharing tips on how to conquer stress in my next article. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you.What stresses you out? What has helped you de-stress? Leave your answer in the comment box below.