Staying Steady When Stressed

BoxesI don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed out I immediately start looking for the extraneous elements in my life. The expendables. The fungibles. I can cut that dinner date; I don’t really need to go shopping yet; that is just a pet project, not something that has to be done.

Take moving. I, unlike most people, hate moving. I cannot stand living out of boxes, or even the sight of boxes. It triggers my ADD and sends me into a never-ending spiral of fear and loathing. But it’s more than that: disruption causes me to give up on things I normally care about, like good eating, exercising and working on side projects.

To a certain extent this is normal. Something’s gotta give when life is turned upside down. But only to a certain extent: I still have time for the things I value, I just don’t really have the motivation. If you’ve read my other posts you know I’m completely obsessed with the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, which says that during times of upheaval, we are lower on glucose, the brain chemical that lends us motivation and follow-through.

So, fine. I should cut myself a break. But why do I also bail on things I still really have time for? Why do I lose faith in my work and life? Why do I start to consider the frailty of my hopes and dreams just because I’m a little discombobulated?

Well, I guess glucose is probably behind those questions as well. But one of my goals for this year, which includes an imminent move and a baby due in less than three months, is to figure out how to stay levelheaded when life is swirling around me. I’m not so great at it yet, but any suggestions you have will surely help.