Stress Awareness Month - WEGO Health #HAWMC Writer's Challenge April 19th 2015

Definitely a great question for ALL of us that have to contend with a stressed filled, everywhere you look and feel world! Daily stress producing items are all around us. Whether you are "chronically ill or in chronic pain" or not, the news and medical world tells us that our daily stress levels are off the charts. This also means that stress effects us in so many different ways, especially when it comes to your physical and mental health.

Then you take all of that into consideration, jobs, families, travel, homes, cars, kids, and just what we see in the news daily, is enough to cause us an insurmountable bunch of stress. We have known for years that stress contributes to heart problems, it definitely effects our immune systems, allowing things that normally not make us ill, to sometimes makes us more ill than we think.

Now let's add in doctors visits, 15 or more medications a day, feeling overwhelmed already, yet due to chronic illness and the pain that comes along with it, the stress levels can be way over the top of the glass, and pouring down all around us in a puddle. Just having to deal with a drive to a doctor in Dallas, maybe two in a weeks time. Making sure all of my medications are filled properly, and with me so I don't miss any. Not feeling well some days, either with some type of "flare"; whether Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Sjogren's, and the list continues. Add those onto trying to keep a job, do errands, take care of a home, a yard, a car, buy groceries and prepare meals, do laundry, and all of the 1001 things that can pop up at any moment, to distract us from what else we are doing. Then our bodies all too often "revolt". So, now I am dealing with a huge amount of fatigue, severe headaches, my hips and lower back hurting, perhaps like last week for me, having the procedure done on Thursday - even though a "good procedure" to hopefully help reduce the horrid pain in my lower back, hips and legs, was still "stress". So I get up on Friday, with bright pink cheeks, feeling like a train had run over me, seeing everything piling up I need to do, and guess what, here is a flare. I would "assume" a Lupus flare, due to the pink hot cheeks and nose. That all too familiar "Lupus "The Wolf" Mask" we get when one of those comes on

So, I've spent over a week at doctors offices, having that procedure done, then coming home to know I am behind on everything. Now I feel lousy, the weather brings on a new set of stress on it own, and I now have a very low potassium situation they discovered last week when I had the Transforminal Epidural Steroid Injection done in my lumbar spine. My potassium was at an "dangerous" low. Most of the time at what mine was, and they even checked it twice, I probably should be getting IV Potassium to try and get it back up a bit, then follow up with pills. But, I didn't hear from my PCP even after calling at 9:00 A< Friday. So, I followed up with my Cardiologist, who immediately called in a script, told me to take two of them for two days, then one a day, and come in on next Friday so they can check the levels again.

Now, after all that being said, "How do I, did I, deal with all of the stress"? My first way to "deal" with stress is "listing" and writing down, what is "MOST" important to get done quickly, and what may be able to wait a day or two? That helps me a great deal, to literally "write down" a list, and prioritize things. Then I take stock in how I feel mentally and physically. If I am feeling very lousy, then I know I need to do absolutely what has to be done, and save others for later, when I feel better.

From there, I allow "time for me". Even though my to do list might be long, I still need to be able to either go outside, and do my walking. I enjoy baking. So, for me going into the kitchen and making a pie, cake, cookies, or whatever I feel like I might enjoy baking, I do that. There are days, that I may have to do one or two things, then sit down at the computer and write, or take an hour to watch a movie with my two pups. I also very often find if I go over to my Mom's, and just spend some times away, where I can talk, and "gripe" if I want to, Being able to express my stress is critical. If I can't write it down, or say it, or find some type of avenue to be able to "purge" some of the bad stress, then I really find myself unable to get much of anything done. I am too wrapped up in what I CAN'T, thus what I can does not come to me, when I don't just take that walk, talk to my Mom, write on my book, or post on my blog. Summer as I had mentioned in another blog post earlier in the week, tends to help. I can open up my home, and let the fresh air in, get some light streaming in, and I have a "renewed" feeling, that tends to be a great deal stress free.

Being ill with so many of these diseases, syndromes, and such do add a HUGE amount of stress in my life, but my husband, Mom, and others can "feel" that tension in the air. So, between all of us we try to keep me in check with stress. It may mean a day trip to Oklahoma and the Casino. Which in saying that, we are LONG overdue to go. It has been several months, possibly about 4 or more months since Mom and I made that 2 hour journey into "freedom" for a few hours at least.

Just a day trip away from it all, is an incredible way for me to get back to the matters at hand daily, and lead my body and brain into a new perspective.

Writing has always, and will always be one of my biggest ways, that I can "purge" out the stress, remain half sane hopefully, and try to carry on up that "mountain" always reaching out to attain a goal.




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