Ways to cope with stress

Ways to cope with stress

Ways to cope with stress….sometimes only a glass of wine will do

Last week I was on a complete emotional roller-coaster.  Yes even as a therapist with all my skills and knowledge I found it hard to slap a smile on my face find ways to cope with stress and reign in my emotions.

I have to confess it wasn’t what I would describe as a typical week and the events all combined tipped the balance and had me searching the supermarket aisles for a nice bottle of red, because sometimes the only way to cope with stress is a glass of wine.

Not the advice I would normally give to my clients, but I am also only human!

What was it that managed to push me over the edge I hear you ask?.  Without going into too much detail, I celebrated the life of a very dear friend who passed away last year, I received an email from an old boyfriend which stirred up a few memories, broke up with a man I had just started dating and it was also a full (and blue) moon.

I was fully aware that I had a choice about how I responded to all these events.  I could play the card of self pity and wallow in my emotions or I could surrender to them, not fight them and simply accept that all things considered, it was normal to feel this way and it will pass.  So I did just that.  I made plans to meet up with a good friend and raise a glass or two to my dearly departed pal and to take it easy on myself.  I found ways to cope with stress and over the course of the week I cooked myself some nice food, slept when I felt tired, met friends for coffee, went for runs along the sea front and curled up with a good film and a nice Tempranillo on the sofa.

In short I became my own best friend and I looked after myself.  I also reflected on all the good things that were happening in my life and what was yet to come and knew that no matter how I was feeling, there was someone out there in the world that had far bigger issues to contend with, which helped shine a big light of perspective on the situation.

In life sometimes things do arise that affect us and it can be easy to get swept along in the tidal wave of emotions that come with it, but rather than fight against the current, try swimming with it.  I once read a wonderful story that reminded me of this.

It’s the story of a sailor who fell off his ship, but the shore was too far away for him to swim to.  He tried to swim but he was fighting against the powerful waves of the ocean and he felt as he fought for his breath that he was getting sucked further and further down.  Tired and exhausted he stopped fighting for a moment and let his body float on the waves, let his mind be calm and stopped trying to think of a solution.  No sooner had he begun to do this than he found himself floating towards the shore.  The more he relaxed and went with the flow the more the waves gently picked him up in their current and pushed him closer and closer to shore.  He took great relief in this and found he had strength in his arms to swim with the tide.  Half an hour later, tired and aching he landed on shore but the feeling of being so grateful to be alive and safe was so powerful it would never be washed away again.

So you see when the going gets tough, sometimes it is easier to sit back, relax and stop fighting and you’ll find yourself back on dry land soon enough.

 

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