Personal Musings Kuel Life Contributor: Imani Harris
I am working with a startup and we launched our pilot internship program for college students.
It is about helping them to learn and grow their own entrepreneurial mindset while they are going through college. I want to preface by saying that this is an amazing opportunity not only for the interns but for myself as well. It has been a while since I have taught or trained at this level, and let me say I am working with the fear instead of despite the fear and managing the stress that comes with it as I embark on this journey with them.
As I have grown older, I have noticed I am more easily impacted by stress than when I was younger. Like so many of us in our youth, I felt I was invincible and could do absolutely everything. I could stay out late partying, and still get up in the morning for my college classes without batting an eyelash! I could go on like this for days until I would have to crash.
Effects Of Lack Of Sleep:
Now, I think that anything after 9pm is way too late lol! I am also an avid participant of #teamnaps, relishing any time I can close my eyes, go to bed early, and sleep in late. Now that is the life! I can’t go past a day without feeling the effects of lack of sleep, as well as deal with a flare-up of autoimmune symptoms as well. I have to be intentional now of my energy, time, peace, and sanity.
You may be saying to yourself right now “Imani, how does this relate to stress?” I am so glad you asked! I have noticed that with time, not caring for yourself and establishing the right boundaries in your life can make it seem like the daily stress you experience is dictating your every thought, mood, word, and action as you move throughout your day. The simplest of things begin to irritate you, which causes more frustration, and sometimes resentment, with the things you are doing and the people around you.
“It takes a couple of things to focus on and implement so that daily stressors do not disrupt and delay you as much.”
Reach Out For Help:
With a lot of self-reflection and inner work, I am learning that I don’t have the same bandwidth and energy I had in my 20’s or 30’s. In my 40’s, I know that I have to first work on myself, my needs, wants, and reach out for help instead of just dealing with things on my own. This is a continual learning process for me because stress comes in various ways and needs to be approached and managed in different ways.
The effects of stress can impact us more when we are dealing with a chronic, autoimmune, or other types of illness. Some short-term stress is healthy, such as fear and excitability, because we can use this to empower and motivate us to pursue those things that are making us uncomfortable, but helps propel us to the next stage and season in our life. However, long-term effects of stress can bring on inflammation, brain fog, irritability, lack of focus, sleep disturbances, and other health issues if it is not managed effectively and efficiently.
If you are like me, there are times when it feels like the stress you are encountering is beyond your control with no end in sight. I am here to help you breathe a sigh of relief because you do have the power and choice in choosing how much daily stress is going to affect you and keep you from enjoying life and the plans you have set out for yourself. It takes a couple of things to focus on and implement so that daily stressors do not disrupt and delay you as much.
3 Tips To Help Manage Your Stress Triggers:
- The first tip is to assess your stress level and identify triggers. In order to implement an effective plan and routine, you first have to learn your stress level and the things that trigger it. Each of us is different and handles stress in a different way. Take some time to sit down and write out all the things that are currently causing stress in your life, along with when they occur and anything that triggers it.
- The next tip is to write out the things you enjoy doing. You need positive things and experiences to help you negate the negative impacts of stress in your life. Often, we are so busy with the hustle and bustle of the day that we aren’t fully aware of the things we like to do that bring us joy. What were some things you enjoyed growing up? This is a great time to imagine and let your mind wander, bringing to mind those things that light you up as you do them.
- The final tip is to evaluate your direct and indirect coping strategies. As you are developing your plan and routine in managing stress, it helps to have both strategies in your routine. When it comes to a direct strategy, look at how to remove your stresses, shift your thoughts, language, and actions. Each of these help you to limit the impact of stress. When it comes to indirect, an example would be to change your sleeping habits, move more throughout the day, and schedule downtime in your day.
“Remember, the stress you are experiencing didn’t just happen overnight..”
Now, after you have gone through those three tips, you have now set the foundation for creating a self-care routine and practice to have in your toolbox when stress attempts to get out of control. Something to remember as you go about creating and implementing this routine is that you don’t have to implement all the strategies at one time. Remember, the stress you are experiencing didn’t just happen overnight and it is going to take time to discover the routine that is right for you. Give yourself grace, patience, and permission to trust the process as you go about finding what works for you.
I can say that I am still a work in progress in my own journey of managing stress. I am learning that it is best to face one day, and one moment at a time when it comes to stress because it can change from day to day. To help, I have created a PDF with some journal prompts that can help you as you create your routine. I hope they are as helpful to you as they have been to me. As you are more intentional in using the tips above, shifting and adapting where needed, you will implement a plan and routine that will help you manage stress more effectively and with ease.
About the Author:
Imani Harris is an autoimmunity advocate, accountability coach, and consultant helping women dealing with autoimmune and chronic illness have the clarity, confidence, and consistency they desire in every area of their lives. The 3-C framework helps them to go from just surviving moment to month, to fully thriving in the abundance God has for them.