What causes stress? WebMD says work is the major reason for stress in ones life but a Spondy has many other reasons. There are medical bills and expectations from others and our own that often seem unattainable. We have chronic pain and fatigue that lend to sleep deprivation that can bring down even the mightiest Spondy Warrior . The daily grind for us is a constant uphill battle that can be quite overwhelming.
So we know what we face and we know it’s unfair and we know … well that it sucks! What all can stress do to us physically though? Our mind is our most powerful tool and it can help and hurt us. Stress can make it difficult to control our emotions which obviously adversely effects our loved ones. It will disrupt our sleep even more then what we are already dealing with. It can not only exacerbate our disorder but create others. Lowering the stress level will reel in more health benefits than we could ever get out of a pill bottle.
We can’t afford to overlook stress management but how do we do it?
In order to limit the stress we have to go after what is causing it. Here are some of my top stress factors and how I am working on reducing them.
Medical Bills – that’s a tough one but when I brought it to the attention of my docs they were surprisingly helpful. They let me know how often I HAVE to come in for check-ins not just when insurance will pay for it. See insurance companies will allow so many visits for these kinds of check-ups every year so the docs will schedule them. So in my case the docs had me coming in every 6 weeks. This is all specialties that I see mind you so that’s a lot of copays and gas and time off work. I found out that my docs are comfortable with me only coming in twice a year and I don’t have to see them when I do labs in between. That has saved me a lot of time and money. I also work with my pharmacist to find deals on my prescriptions they are extremely helpful. Check out this prior post for more info on saving on medical bills.
Expectations-We have expectations we put on ourselves and those from family and friends. I stress over these all the time! Am I letting them down? Why can’t I do what all is needed from me? What if my kids are mad at me for missing this or that? My friends are always disappointed when I have to cancel. These are some of the many things that can run through my head in a day. The hardest part was losing those that could not understand my new restrictions. Don’t you do it…don’t let them get to you. I know it’s easier said than done but just let it go. We can’t let their short-comings make us feel guilty! I have learned I can no longer put this weight on my shoulders. I must accept my limitations and those that truly love me will as well. Just do the best you can and that is all you or anyone should expect.
Work-I had to come to the realization that I could not maintain my workload and let me to you that was not easy! I love working but I simply could not do it. I had become a sleep deprived zombie that was struggling to get through the day and it simply wasn’t working. It was not financially easy to slow down but it was not an option not to. I’m certain the stress caused by attempting to keep up would have me beaten down to the point of insanity by now if I’d not backed off. I do still work and I homeschool my children so it’s not like I don’t have a full day still but I’m smarter with my time and nicer to my fatigued Spondy body.
I’ve added meditation to my daily routine and it’s made a huge difference in my tolerance for stress and pain. I’m a happier person that is at peace with what I’m battling now. I still have days but I know how to handle them now. I have found what works for me. I hope you do as well!
I wrote about some of my life hacks here and I’ll continue sharing more as I go. Please share your hacks so we can all attempt to remain sane in spite of our struggles.