My mom and I were recently talking about how crisis reveals character, and I told her that I actually feel like stress reveals character. In times of crisis, I have usually been able to keep a good perspective because there’s more of a responsibility to be strong for others who are involved. I feel my attitude is centered around a team mentality, which means in times of crisis you usually have support from family, friends and so on.
Stress however, is usually more self-centered. When I was engaged to Christian and we were weeks away from living together, I was so nervous to live with someone who would really see all the sides of me – the good, bad and ugly. Christian and I were engaged in February, and a few weeks later my niece Edie was born. She has a terminally ill disease and is severely handicapped. The joy of our engagement so quickly shifted by the aching of our hearts for my brother’s family and their firstborn child. Of course now, this experience has only made me love Christian and my family so much more intensely, but at the time, my heart was broken for so many reasons and I felt particularly stressed.
One time in particular, Christian was over at my house when we were engaged and I just knew I was about to cry the tears of an overwhelmed, exhausted bride. I went to the laundry room and shut the door, sitting down by the washer and crying. After a few minutes, Christian came looking for me and was like, “what is WRONG with you!?” Now it makes me laugh, but at the time, those private moments of stress and suffocation were exactly what I did not want him to see (and to be honest, I still prefer to be by myself when I’m feeling this way).
Another time, I came home completely exhausted and overworked, tried to act like I was fine, and then got in the shower and cried tears of stress. Once again, knock knock knock, “Kathleen… I can hear you crying.” So clearly you guys can tell I have a pattern when I am extremely stressed… a private pity party.
I so admire people who can remain calm in times of stress and it’s a trait I consistently long to have. A few tips I’ve tried that seem to work for me:
- Get some fresh air. This might just mean a walk around the block, sitting on a park bench for a few minutes or walking to get a cup of coffee. Often a few minutes outside in the sunshine and fresh air, focusing on my breath, can put my head in a clearer space.
- Laugh. Find something or someone to make you chuckle. A few of my favorites lately here, here and here.
- Relax with scent. There may be a certain lotion, incense or a candle that calms you. I love to light incense or rub a little lavender essential oil on my wrists and neck.
Got some tips for how you handle stress or any good shower cries to share? Don’t hold back.
Thanks so much for reading and sharing! XO –