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What to do if stress is high and you don’t know how to go forward

Some weeks you feel confident, clear-headed and calm. You know where you are going and how you are going to get there.

Then you hits a few bumps.

Perhaps someone you trusted to help you has acted in a way that certainly isn’t in your best interests. Perhaps the job you thought was going to be THE ONE really isn’t working out the way you hoped. Perhaps people aren’t supporting you. Perhaps it’s the fact that you doubt yourself and your abilities.

Whatever your bump, it has left you feeling doubtful, fuzzy-headed, anxious. You don’t know your way forward anymore.

These are the weeks when you feel like plan A is in the dustbin, and you don’t have a plan b (or plan c or plan d) up your sleeve.

There can be a double whammy in times like this, and that’s your reaction to the stress you’re under. Things like anxiety, panic attacks, and high blood pressure can add another dimension to an already difficult situation.

Last week I had a week just like this. My plans weren’t working. My confidence was wobbly. My blood pressure was high.

This week I’ve found my way again, thankfully, and here are the main things that helped me to get through the week:

  • Everything felt overwhelming last week. My problems felt like mountains. The solutions felt scary and unmanageable. So, I broke everything down into the smallest piece and then started to deal with each little bit. If I was having a particularly difficult day, then I would focus on making things a little easier minute by minute, rather than hour by hour,
  • When I noticed that I was hyperventilating, or holding my breath, I took five minutes to breathe and I focused on breathing more slowly and breathing more deeply. This helped not only to regulate my carbon dioxide and oxygen balance (which helps for panic attacks!) but it helped me stop thinking if I was having a moment when I was over-thinking,
  • I asked for help. I spoke to my husband about the stress I was feeling, and we sat down and talked about a way forward. I spoke to my friends and to people I knew about the situation and everyone had a kind word and some advice. I phoned another friend to ask for her help in moving forward on the business side and she was very generous,
  • I started to take action. Every day I did things to help myself, to reach out to people who could help me and to create change. By the end of the week, I felt a lot better about myself and about where I was going, and how I was going to get there,
  • I kept myself occupied with activities that were involving; things that kept my brain occupied. I did some job searching (not nice I know but very involving!) some writing, walking, Pilates, budget planning. These things stopped me focusing on the stress, and helped to move me into a more centred head space. I tried to      do things that moved me out of my head, away from all of the stressful thoughts, and into my body, so I could take action and deal with the stress,
  • I prayed and asked for guidance and help on everything. I know this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, it seemed to me that every time I asked for help something happened to guide me to a better place,
  • I started connecting with people (that’s the thing I like doing the best) and that helped me see some of the good things about me that I take for granted, and some of the wonderful people I have in my life. When you spend some time doing what you love and what you are naturally good at it, will make you feel better and make you see yourself differently.

I hope that some of these things help you to find your way through a difficult week.

Wishing you a good one!

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