Stress is a Choice

Moving is a double-edged edged sword. On one side it offers new people, new places to explore and new adventures to be had. On the other it transforms your life into a blur of purging, packing, traveling, unpacking, and resetting up not only your new home, but also your life. My husband’s career is on a pretty rigid move cycle (every three years) and I’m not going to lie, it can take a toll on my health IF I let it.

The Magic Of The List

Even before the physical process of packing begins, my stress starts in. Will everything fit in the new house? Do I really need this many coffee cups? Why am I packing clothes I haven’t worn since 1995? Every move I need to remind myself to stop, take a deep breath, and make a list! List making helps me not feel so overwhelmed. List making helps me prioritize. List making keeps me sane and lowers my stress, and lowering my stress keeps me from getting sick. Stress is probably my number one trigger, I’d even put it above food. I am very good at saying no to the foods I know bother me, but not so great at saying no to stress.

On The Road Again

Being on the road for a move brings up a whole bag of different issues. The days are long, as we typically drive from old house to new house, and eating out is not as fun as it seems. During a move, I need to be extra vigilant in paying attention to how much rest I get. For me, lack of sleep is a flare trigger. To avoid having to try to figure out what I eat every single meal while traveling, I will pack snack foods and safe foods for the road. Once at our new location, we often request a hotel room with a suite (fridge, stove) so while we are waiting for our furniture to show up, I can cook meals I know won’t bother me. Doing this is not only better for my health, but also easier on the pocketbook.

I Want It Done, Yesterday

I am VERY inpatient when it comes to unpacking a new home. There are few things I hate in this world, but living out of boxes is at the top of my list. In the past, I have literally stayed up all hours of the night to get things set up as quickly as possible. Guess where that landed me? Sick and in bed. And for what? There’s no fastest reset up a new home after you move across the country award. I have learned that the stress I put on myself was not worth the physical pain it caused. By pushing myself harder than my body would allow, I set myself back. Now when we move, I choose to do only so many hours a day. I set an alarm for my end time and when it goes off, I am done for the day. Trust me when I say it’s not always easy and I can “5 more minute” myself into working for several more hours. This is where my wonderful hubby comes in and reminds me that I need to stop so I can be the best version of me for tomorrow’s tasks.

Is Stress Really A Choice?

Moving is just one example of a life event that can bring on a high level of stress and for me, it’s a recurring event that I had to learn to deal with in a healthier way. So, is stress a choice? No, life is full of stressful situations. What is a choice is the AMOUNT of stress you allow yourself to take on and how much you let it affect you.

Here are some ways that I use to lower stress, that may help you out:

01 Lists:

I already mentioned the magic of a list. Lists help me in a way to let go of all the things I want to get done. It gives me goals, a way to prioritize and helps me not forget tasks.

02 Self-Care:

Years of an IBD have taught me that my body just can’t do all the things I want to do, and I’m ok with that. Take time to care for YOU, do those things that relax you and help you regenerate physically.

03 Reasonable Expectations:

Set reasonable expectations for yourself. I know that I am just not physically capable of working 12 hours a day for days in a row, so why set myself up for failure? What I do know is I can stay healthy by doing 6 hours a day, so I work in that perimeter.

04 Support:

Whether that comes from a spouse, a friend, or a professional, have someone in your life who supports you maintaining health and reminds you when you don’t remind yourself.

Pack Health is a great support system. Your Pack Health Health Advisor can help you with stress management, self-care and how to set reasonable expectations for yourself, among many other things. They’re there to listen, cheer you on and if needed, share information and resources.  You set the goal, they’ll help you get there.

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