Archive for stress

7 Tips For Dealing With Family Issues During The Holidays

Families can be a wonderful blessing, or they can be a major pain during the holidays. Frankly, they can be both at the same time. The stress of the Christmas season, combined with the fact that we see more of each other than during the rest of the year, can bring any tension and arguments to a boiling point (especially after this year’s election).

1. Be Patient And Kind

‘Tis the season to be patient and kind. Make this your motto and you’ll enjoy a much more peaceful and relaxed holiday season this year. Remind yourself of this when things get hectic and stressful around Christmas.

I find that the simpler I keep things around the holidays, the easier it is to stay patient and kind. When we have too much on our plate, we get stressed out and irritable. I don’t have to tell you that this leads to a short temper that may cause you to do something you regret later.

2. Walk Away If You Need To

Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away. If a situation is stressing you out, or spiraling out of control, get yourself out of there. Go take a breather and come back when you can get back to being patient and kind. Sometimes just going into a different room for a few minutes or taking a short walk outside will do the trick. At other times, you just need to leave before you get into an argument with a family member, and that’s ok. There are times when you’re better off getting out of there. If it’s the only thing that will make it possible for you or the people you care about to enjoy their Christmas, you do what you have to do.

3. Check Out A Book

When you have as many ideas under your belt as possible, you have more tools to choose from when dealing with difficult family situations over the holidays. Check out the ideas in “Stress Free Holidays: Bring Back Joy & Peace.” It’s a Kindle book so you can take it with you everywhere!

4. Postpone Arguments When Possible

The holidays only come around once a year. Bite your tongue if you need to and avoid arguments and fights. You don’t have to give in, or bend over backwards for family members you don’t get along with. Think of it more as postponing the argument until after the holidays. Enjoy the time with your loved ones… even the ones who are a little more challenging to love than others.

Remember, when you’re struggling with squabbles and fights around the holidays, that this is a special time of the year and something you can’t get back. Try to put bad feelings aside and celebrate this special time with your family and friends.

5. Squeeze the Tension Away

Try some winter-themed stress balls! Maybe everyone can get one in their stocking or as their small welcome gift when they come for the holiday meal.

6. Count Your Blessings

One last thing to do is to count your blessings. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic frenzy of this season, that we forget to look at what positive things are going on. To make this easier, you can download your free printable Gratitude Journal by signing up for my email list. You’ll be notified on more tips and the occasional weekly or monthly challenge to help us all work on moving forward in our journeys through life.

7. Try Some Christmas Coloring

That’s right. Try out some Christmas-themed adult coloring for stress relief. Maybe everyone will want to join in!

 

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Trauma And My Hysterosalpingogram Test (HSG)

normal-hsg

Photo credit: http://www.advancedfertility.com/hsg.htm

I have mentioned in previous posts that I was using hypnosis and subliminal message tracks to help deal with anxiety around some medical procedures. Well, the one I’ve had done recently that was pretty rough for me was a hysterosalpingogram, commonly just called HSG. I had this test done because my daughter and I have decided that we’d like to try to add a sibling to our family.

I have a history of trauma so getting any kind of procedure involving a speculum, such as a pap smear, is anxiety-producing for me. I seek out female gynecologists, have to go slow through pap smears, and sometimes have had to request a smaller speculum due to extreme muscle tension.

The HSG is a special real-time x-ray that is done at a radiology office to test whether a woman’s fallopian tubes are open. It starts off with an x-ray of the pelvic region. The radiologist then places a speculum. A catheter is then inserted through the cervix and a special dye is injected into the uterus. The radiologist and patient can then watch on a screen visible to both for the dye to flow out through the fallopian tubes. No dye spilling out of the fallopian tubes indicates that the tubes are blocked. In the event of blocked tubes, the doctor said that the only remedy is surgery to unblock the tubes or to use IVF for pregnancy.

I attempted the test…

Unfortunately, for this test there is only one size speculum available because it comes in a kit. The thing almost looked big enough for some livestock, definitely larger than most that I had seen at an OB/GYN! Strike one for me. Secondly, there are only male doctors at the hospital radiology unit that does this procedure. Strike two for me. Third, the radiologist acted like I knew what was going on and maybe like I was livestock; he didn’t warn me about what was going to happen or talk much. Strike three for me; I’m out! And that was with me having taken 800 mg ibuprofen and 2.5 mg Valium (a pretty small dose) 1 hour before the appointment.

When the nurse tells you that they’ll use a “brown soap” (Betadine, basically), and then the radiologist comes in and just basically stabs at your most sensitive area with what amounts to a long Q-tip without even a “by your leave,” you know it’s not going to be pretty. Um, not happening. Seeing how close I was to totally freaking out, the radiologist valiantly decided to do no more harm and stopped the procedure. Unfortunately, that meant another month on birth control pills (to keep the uterine lining thin for the pretty picture), and another month added to the whole process of getting to IUI.

Testing, testing…

So I ordered three recordings of a custom subliminal message track (musical selections: Dream, Waves, Silent) and a custom medical hypnosis CD. The doctor also prescribed some medicine for me–Percocet and Ativan. The reproductive endocrinologist’s (RE) office also managed to schedule me with a semi-retired radiologist who apparently managed to do the procedure for all the patients who couldn’t tolerate the other radiologists.

So prescription in-hand, I set about the task of both psyching myself up and calming myself down. I took the day off work, got my dad and his wife to drive us, and took the Percocet and first Ativan about 1 hour and 10 minutes before my scheduled appointment time. I took the second Ativan about .5 hours later because I didn’t feel anything. Luckily, my appointment started a little late because I didn’t even start to feel the affects of the medications until almost 1.5 hours after taking the first dose! Adrenaline is a powerful thing (yes, I’ve also had dentist appointments where I could not get numb partly because of adrenaline)!

Success!

This radiologist had decades of experience and talked his way through the entire procedure. He told me exactly what he was about to do just before he did it so I didn’t have any surprises, he started over again when I asked him to, and he let me breathe when I needed it. Dye spilled out of the right fallopian tube beautifully, followed by a slightly slower spill from the left one, as well as showing that I had no polyps or anything that might interfere with implantation. Huzzah!

The next step in my baby-making saga will be a water ultrasound next week. It was described to me by the reproductive endocrinologist as “similar to the HSG, but not as uncomfortable.” Great. :-/

How Negative Thoughts Fuel Social Anxiety

SocialAnxiety

Many people suffer from something called social anxiety. This is the feeling of being out of control and nervous and even afraid of being in social situations. People with social anxiety disorder feel anxiety in situations where scrutiny by others may occur.

There are different levels of anxiety. Some people are so anxious that they cannot force themselves to get into a social situation in public without being medicated, and even then, they find it awkward and difficult. Some people even have panic attacks.

Several social situations can trigger negative thoughts that can swirl around and around your head, making you more and more anxious about the social situation that may be coming up. You might even completely talk yourself out of attending, which can then lead to worse problems and even eventually lead to becoming housebound.

Negative Thought Triggers

Situations that can trigger negative thoughts include:

* Meeting new people
* Potential criticism
* Being the center of attention
* Other people observing you
* Speaking in public
* Group interactions
* Meeting authority figures
* Not knowing what to say
* Feeling unsure about what to wear
* Looking into other people’s eyes
* Yawning
* Talking
* Walking
* Talking on the phone
* Any situation where you think people might judge you (yeah, it’s a long list)

The above might seem over the top if you do not suffer from social anxiety yourself, but the list can go on and on if you do. People with social anxiety start going over potential scenarios in their head the moment they realize they are going to have a social situation. They start turning each situation into a negative event.

How Thoughts turn into Social Anxiety

When they meet a new person they imagine messing up the person’s name, forgetting their own name, or having bad breath. They imagine saying something “wrong” and being the butt of a joke or subject to criticism due to being “wrong.” They feel nervous even getting an award because people are looking at them and making them the center of attention. They start thinking that they did not deserve the award, that they are a fraud, and shouldn’t go collect or accept the award after all.

Then it just goes downhill from there. They can’t stop spinning every possible scenario into a bad thing until their heart is beating out of their chest, they can’t breathe right, and finally they have a full-fledged panic attack. Due to this, they end up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, becoming the center of attention due to the panic attack, and then being judged as weird or a drama queen.

As you can see, thoughts have a lot of power even though they’re just thoughts and not even reality. When you start to realize how pervasive negative thoughts can cause social anxiety and make it worse, then you can also realize how turning your thoughts around to positive thoughts can make your social anxiety less.

Turning the Negatives into Positives

The minute you notice you are obsessing about any future event it’s time to get out of your own head and do something different. Practice deep breathing, and read some positive quotes. If your stress is because you’re not sure what to wear, find a good friend to help you pick something out. If you’re worried about bad breath, take some mints with you. If you are scared you will say someone’s name wrong, practice the names if you know who will be going.

There are always ways in which you can turn all negatives into positives but the most important thing is to realize that no one is perfect and therefore no one expects you to be perfect. Most people have some of the same worries that you do, they just don’t take it to the higher level.

We’re going to be discussing changing negative thoughts to positive ones A LOT.

Probably everyone has times where they’re stuck in negative thinking. How have you managed to turn that around?

When Self-Talk Gets In The Way

tragedy_&_comedy

I think I’m doing well with my self-contract. I’m consistently getting up between 6:00 and 6:30 (on my way to 5:00!), I’m listening to subliminal recordings as I work on other things or run errands, and I just received my custom hypnosis CD yesterday and plan to start on it today. The place I’m falling down is updating the blog! I’m getting better at that, I promise!

In the meantime, I’ve been kind of down on myself about not staying caught up with working on my blog and I’ve started trying to pay attention to what’s going in my head, namely the really negative self-talk I beat myself up with. I decided to delve a little deeper…

What is Self-Talk?

Legendary sports announcer Chick Hearn

Legendary sports announcer Chick Hearn

Do you know that inner voice that always seems to be going? It is constantly “telling” you what you should do, what you might do, and reflecting on things you have already done. It evaluates what you do while you’re doing it, providing opinions and suggesting possible ramifications and outcomes. This is one type of inner monologue which psychologists have identified and labeled as “self-talk.”

To get a better idea of exactly what self-talk is, psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne likens self talk to the “equivalent of sports announcers commenting on a player’s successes or failures on the playing field.” Unlike athletes that never hear a television or radio sports commentator’s voice, you definitely “hear” what your self-talk is telling you.

Unfortunately, this voice you seem to have no control over can be negative sometimes (ok, usually).

Think about the last time you did something embarrassing. You may have experienced self-talk telling you how stupid you were. Sometimes it is critical even if you haven’t done anything wrong. It reminds you that you are probably going to mess something up, because you’ve done it in the past.

As it turns out, you can respond with negative and positive self-talk to the same situation. tragedy_&_comedy

It all depends on how you lead your thoughts. For instance, pretend that you have just eaten at a restaurant that all your friends think is amazing. You thought it was overpriced, the food was average at best, the service stunk, and you had to wait too long for your food.

You find yourself at a party with your friends, when several of them corner you and excitedly ask you what you thought about the restaurant they recommended. You tell them your feelings, holding nothing back. They all say you are crazy, that it is the greatest restaurant of all time.

Your inner dialogue can respond in 2 different ways.

Perhaps you tell yourself, “Why didn’t you just keep your mouth shut!? Now you look like an idiot.” In response to the exact same situation, you could choose positive, constructive self-talk instead. You could say, “Good for you, for sticking to your beliefs. You reported exactly what happened, you didn’t overstate the situation, and it’s okay if your friends disagree with you about this unimportant topic.” This is important! Reframing is a major way to feel happier and lower your overall stress level.

Psychologists believe that consistently driving your self-talk in a positive, constructive direction can train your mind to respond that way. At first you will not find yourself able to redirect your inner voice. It will simply blurt out a subconscious response. However, by continually appraising dysfunctional self-talk and turning it around, you create less stress in your life, boost your self-esteem, and feel good about your inner dialogue.

A Bumpy Start

So in my first post, I decided that I needed to try to address my adrenal fatigue first (hard to start exercising and doing weekly meal prep if you’re exhausted all the time). First, my daughter and I talked about going to bed earlier and determined a reward if we could do it every day. We decided to try to go to bed by 10:00 pm every day to and including July 1 and then we would get a very berry sundae at Costco on our way home. And what’s happened? We have had evening things-to-do ever since and not made it even once. Not. Even. Once. To make matters worse, Bubba the baby goat wakes me up at about 2:30 am and 6:30 am for milk. I’m tired. (You can read more about Bubba at my homesteading blog at gypsypathonline.com.)

North Shore Canopy BedBest place to nap!

The second thing I had decided to work on was resting whenever I was tired and napping when possible. Also a loss the past few days. I was able to nap/doze a little on both Monday and Tuesday and definitely felt better when we had to go out on Wednesday. Thursday we had thunderstorms the entire day. I think there were literally maybe three short breaks in the rain when we were able to take Bubba and the dogs outside for maybe 10 minutes before it started raining again. I didn’t actually nap (I was catching up on entering receipts in the budget), but I did allow myself to rest some.

I could rest well here!

Today was interesting. We had to go out for a few errands so I didn’t get to rest or nap, but we did do something fun. I like to wonder through large furniture stores and dream about the beautiful furniture I would buy. It’s been a really long time since I’ve allowed myself the time to do that so while we were out I decided to stop at Ashley Furniture HomeStore after we saw it from the highway. It was wonderful! I found a beautiful home set (North Shore) that included matching furniture for a master bedroom, living room, and dining room. The master bed frame was even a canopy bed. The detailing was carved leaves. I really liked it a lot and had a great time looking around. I really found it very relaxing! I like it so much that I spent time this evening adding all of the pieces to a wish list on their website!

North Shore Living Room SetI so want this!

I keep reminding myself that every day is a new opportunity to make progress. Tonight’s bedtime goal: before midnight!