LOSING THE LITTLE LAYERS TO REGAIN YOUR CALM

Do you ever get weighed down by all the little layers of stress? Do you find things build up and the little annoyances seem to become bigger than they should be? #midlife #stress

THOSE PESKY LITTLE LAYERS OF STRESS

Have you noticed that stress builds up slowly? Over the last year or so I've made a conscious effort to live more slowly, to steer clear of conflict, and to rebuild my resilience. Then BAM! life decides to throw a whole lot of little stressors on me - things that normally would barely cause more than a blip on my radar, but added together they brought me to a point where I could feel my coping ability taking a hit. I realized that it's not a problem when there's a little bit of stress here and there, but when you layer them on top of each other, they start to have a bigger impact than you'd expect.

LAYERS UPON LAYERS

If you're in a healthy place in your life when the first little stresses occur you take them in your stride and barely notice them. This year my Mum moved in with us for a few weeks after her knee replacement surgery. She was good company and a good patient, but having someone I needed to be aware of all the time, and someone I needed to feed and look after was an extra layer in my normally quiet and routine life. I think it was just having to accommodate someone else's needs that threw me a little bit - reminding her to exercise, filling up her cold packs, offering her cups of coffee or tea, taking her out and about, all added little disruptions to my life. That in itself wouldn't normally bother me, but then more layers were added.

Just after Mum moved in, we had a waterpipe burst in our rental property - so that meant dealing with the rental agent, the plumber, the tenant, the assessor, the insurance company, the rules and exclusions etc etc. A multitude of emails and no simple resolution meant that it was sitting in another corner of my mind and niggling away at my peace and serenity. I want to be a good landlord, so I want things to happen quickly and for a decision to be made - but it spun out for weeks while the insurance assessment dragged its feet. 

MORE LAYERS UPON LAYERS

The next layer was hitting a kangaroo in my car when I was taking Mum out for a drive. I've driven that road a million times, it was the middle of the morning, it was routine - then BANG! Fortunately my car survived with only a few dings, Mum and I survived with a good dose of the shakes, and people stopped to help. The biggest problem was that the kangaroo didn't die and it didn't hop away. It was injured and lying in the middle of the road with traffic coming in both directions. Fortunately a good Samaritan managed to get the roo off the road and when no help from the local council was forthcoming, they organized to take the roo away with them to deal with it. It was a horrible time and was yet another layer on my stress levels.

Then, to cap things off, we had the Corona Virus decide to appear and turn our world on its head. I'm not in the high risk group, I live in a town 2 hours away from a major city, I don't spend much time in crowded areas......but I was still impacted. Life changed overnight, people bought out all the toilet paper, then hand sanitizer, then flour and sugar (were they all baking cakes??), then all the meat, then soap, and so the list continued. I was overwhelmed, not by the health risk, but by the greediness and selfishness of my fellow human beings. To be honest, I've been glad to self isolate and stay home and off a lot of social media - I don't want to see the ugliness of people, so currently I'm spending my time looking for goodness and sharing it wherever I can.

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply.

LOSING THE LAYERS

One big lesson I've learned over the last few years is that dwelling on things and over-thinking them, researching them, listening to social media, or worrying about them, changes nothing. When I allow the little layers to niggle at me and to take up too much space in my head, I find my stress levels slowly rising and my patience levels slowly falling. When I'm juggling too much, the people in my life suffer the consequences, I get snappy, I get tired, I get irritated, I'm a less "nice" person - and that's not who I want to be. It's really important to recognize that each layer may seem like only a small stress, but when you stack the layers on top of each other, they become bigger and have more of an impact.

So, my goal has been to lose as many of the layers as possible and to regain my equilibrium. I'm focusing on the good stuff - reminding myself to be grateful, to appreciate how fortunate I am, and to turn away from the negativity and doom and gloom that surrounds me. I'm blessed to have a Mum who was easy to live with and who recovered amazingly well, that my car accident turned out to be minor and that I was rescued from a fairly horrible result. I can also be grateful that my family is healthy, that there is food, and water, and power, and wifi, and fresh air available. I have a home that is a haven so being "isolated" is a joy and not a problem. And I can also remind myself that stepping out of my comfort zone and my day to day routines is actually good for me - it grows me as a person and reminds me that I live in an amazing country that is doing its best to keep us all stable and safe.

Stop focusing on how stressed you are and start remembering how blessed you are. #inspriationalquote

IT'S UP TO US

Ultimately it's up to each of us to decide whether we're going to let the layers weigh us down and turn us into people we don't want to be. There will always be times when we have more stress in our lives than usual, but we also have a say in how much of that stress we dwell on, how much we allow in our head, and how much we give in to. Making a conscious choice to focus on the positives doesn't necessarily mean the layers disappear, but they definitely become lighter. When the load lightens, we regain some of our calm and presence of mind, and life starts to become sunnier again.

Let's remind ourselves in difficult times that it doesn't have to be "first in first served" or survival of the fittest. It can be about kindness and generosity, leaving food on the shelves for others rather than greedily hoarding it for ourselves. We can choose what we watch and what we listen to. We can focus on the positives and remind ourselves that we live in a world full of goodness and grace - we just have to look for it - and practice it whenever the opportunity arises. That's how we shed the layers.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Do you ever get weighed down by all the little layers? Do you find things build up and the little stresses seem to become bigger than they should be? Do you have any tips on keeping calm when life is being more difficult than normal?

RELATED POSTS


Do you ever get weighed down by all the little layers of stress? Do you find things build up and the little annoyances seem to become bigger than they should be? #midlife #stress
Do you ever get weighed down by all the little layers of stress? Do you find things build up and the little annoyances seem to become bigger than they should be? #midlife #stress

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21 comments

  1. Hi Leeane, it's funny because I felt no stress during the past difficult week that Olivier and I experienced. With each step toward disaster I just felt calm. Knowing that we had no or little control meant that I was basically free. Just had to make a decision to stay in Moscow or go somewhere else. Stress is a difficult thing to deal with. I've tried over the past 10 or 15 years to get better at dealing with stress. My biggest motivation to not collapse with stress right now is my husband. Knowing that he's with me and will be by my side come what may has helped immensely. Be strong, when we have no control we can really be at peace - no decisions to make, just eat, drink, and be merry! Love to you and your family. xx

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    1. Hi Cheryl, I love that we have someone in our lives to lean on in times of stress - it makes all the difference than having to deal with it all on our own. All that you've been going through just does my head in, so I think you have a higher stress tolerance than I do! Mine are just lots of little things and I can remind myself to let them go, yours have been MUCH bigger, but I'm glad you're settled and sorted now x

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  2. Talking about stressors as layers is a great way for us to have some ownership over how we deal (or don't) with the issues in our lives. I am feeling a bit overheated right now with my layers and today I felt a littel mentally disorganized while teleworking. But your post put it back in perspective in terms of my control over how much I focus on each layer. Tomorrow I will take off one or two layers and cool down a bit :)

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    1. Hi Christine - it's funny how we let it get to us isn't it? When we step back and take a breath we see that a lot of those layers can be peeled off and put aside. I'm really working on seeing the good in all the mess because there's always good to be found if we take a moment to re-focus - I'm glad you get to do that tomorrow x

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  3. Hi, Leanne - I agree. It is up to each of us to decide whether we're going to let the layers weigh us down. I also agree that it is human to get weighed down by stress, despite our best efforts. Sending warm thoughts your way.

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    1. Hi Donna - sending warm thoughts right back to you (and a virtual hug). I've been learning over the last few years that a lot of our stress comes down to choice - do we let it get to us or do we choose to look at things differently? The more I choose to look for the good and the positive, the less those stress layers weigh me down - and that in itself is a blessing in these chaotic times.

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  4. I totally agree with you, Leanne, on the layers of stress. I also have learned coping skills over the years, although this is an entirely different world right now. You remind me Leanne, how part of your role in life has always been a caregiver on some level. Admirable, yet stressful.

    Darn it on the water pipe and of course the kangaroo. Around here people hit deer by accident and it can be very dangerous for everyone involved.

    You also said it well, life has changed overnight. I appreciate you sharing goodness. I feel I crave goodness right now and I am trying to distance myself very quickly from all the other not so good.

    Kitty O’Meara’s quote is wonderful. “Some met their shadows”.........”And the people healed” is really thought-provoking.

    We will continue to focus on “the good stuff.” Our home is a haven, too. I almost feel guilty for enjoy the isolation for a period of time (except for not seeing the children)

    This is an exceptionally beautiful, heart-felt post. I appreciate you sharing and your goodness filtering into my life, Leanne.xx

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    1. Erica - thankyou as always for your lovely comment. I shared another quote on your blog this morning that I think summed up how blessed we are to be able to "shelter at home" with all our mod cons and plenty of food, and wifi, and blogging, and facetime, and so much more. It's isolation, but with a twist - I love that we're still allowed to walk outside too and I'm going to make the most of that every day until they tell me I can't anymore. It's going to be a LONG few months ahead, but I think we can use it as a personal growth tool if we choose to approach it from a positive mindset.

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    2. Revisiting, Leanne for #MLSTL and sharing on SM. I am extra appreciating all the sharing of posts in the #MLSTL links. Overall, there is a sense of goodness and positivity on how we are all in this together. This will change us, and hopefully despite the challenges, we will also be better.xx

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  5. Leanne, thanks for the reminder about choosing what to look at on social media. I've been getting too involved on there and it's elevated my stress. So, trying to push back and make other choices on where to spend my time.

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    1. I'm still looking at SM Pat, but only at the articles that are positive and proactive (or the funny memes because they give me a smile). I'm also using my blog's FB page to share the positivity and push back against the doom and gloom.

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  6. Hi Leanne, Sorry to hear about the layers of stress you had even before the covid-19 pandemic. Positive thinking and positive attitude help to reduce stress. I keep calm by practicing gratitude, self-care, and focus on helping others. I stay informed by following the pandemic updates from reliable sources (the 3 levels of government in Canada and each level has a doctor who's a public health expert). I don't get fixated with the news and opinions. #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Natalie - you're so right about finding sites that share facts rather than all the sensationalism that the "news" seems to love to share. I feel sorry for older people who still believe that the TV news is impartial and all-knowing. Now it's about selling stories and I avoid it wherever possible. Recoginizing that little things pile up was also helpful in dealing with it all too.

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  7. What a few upsets you've had lately Leanne but glad to hear they are being resolved, although may be a bit slowly! I like your attitude of trying to see things positively and realising that we have a lot going for us. I also love that quote and hope when we do come out the other side it will mean we have taken something in and changed in some ways. I am trying to limit my news intake and only watching or listening to those I trust, it's too much otherwise and I can't cope. My sunroom is a lovely place to self isolate and you're welcome to join me 'virtually' any time! Shared for #mlstl

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    1. Hi Deb - I'm doing the same as you - choosing what I look at and what I listen to. I realized that it's easy to let stuff build up on top of each other and become "bigger" than it deserves to be. Reminding myself of what I can control and what isn't mine to own is a real help. The CV19 thing has taken a bit of adjusting to, but I'm happy at home and so glad all's well with my family and friends. Enjoy that sunroom!

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  8. Hi Leanne, wise words for sure. And your experience, although unique to you and where you live, is a real-life example of how those 'smaller' stresses can build up and cause chaos in our life. Apparently hoarding is consistent around the world, by the way, because our Midwest USA store shelves are lacking in about the same products yours. Be safe and be well, and thank you for this insightful look at how we deal with stress. Shared on SM

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    1. Candi I was so surprised to see sensible and laid back Aussies turn into crazy people who cleared the shelves in days. Some are driving to country towns to raid the shops there - leaving the local residents without stock. I'm sometimes ashamed of my fellow man when I see this stuff and the fact that it's world wide is such a reflection on the fact that there are some unsavoury types of people everywhere. Thank goodness that most of us are sane and kind - it helps offset it for me.

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  9. Leanne, this is just a brilliant post. Our stress does often come from the layers. One thing, and then the next things, and then it starts to become overwhelming. I hope life is calming down for you, not necessarily the virus but the other things. I didn't know that hitting a kangaroo on the road was a thing. Here we have large deer that we hit with our cars. We have hit deer twice causing significant damage both times, but we haven't done that since moving to the city. I hope you are staying well and glad to see that you are maintain a positive attitude despite it all.

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    1. Hi Michelle - I think realizing that little things were piling up on top of each other realy helped me see the situation for what it was and to start addressing it from a more tuned in mindset. When you break it down a bit you can subtract a few layers and then the rest seem to be less stressful and more easily dealt with. It's the same with CV19 - I'm just dealing with what I can control and choosing to let the rest fall as it will.

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  10. Hi Leanne I agree that stress can build up like layers until we buckle under the strain. We can handle a small problem one at a time but when we are continually hit with 'small problems' they pool together to create a burden which makes us feel overwhelmed and anxious. I'm not sure why but the CV crisis has not made me feel panic or stress or anxiety. I'm trying to keep a calm and sensible approach which I know will help my mental health. Stay healthy and thanks for co-hosting #MLSTL with me, I think it is needed now more than ever. xx

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    1. Hi Sue - I've found that I don't think I took the CV19 thing seriously enough at first. I had so many other little things in my head that I chose to ignore a lot of it. But as the restrictions have come into place, I'm choosing my attitude and choosing my solitude - and both have helped enormously to keep things in perspective. I'm so glad I like being at home and that I'm not working in the medical field any more - it's such a relief to be out of the main firing line.

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