Congratulations to all you GRADUATES, Parents of graduates, siblings of graduates, friends and relatives of graduates! What a great accomplishment! It is the beginning of a new life, closing one chapter and living, CELEBRATE! Be good, love each other, BELIEVE in your big dreams and remember that it is ACTION that makes things happen so go out there and do it! It is not the ENTIRE plan that you must know, it is confidence and certainty in your next move that takes you where you want to go! LOVE!!!
Let’s talk about that stress that no one wants to talk about. I said it before, I don’t claim to have schooling of a doctor or psychiatrist and I can’t provide a final end to stress but I am confident that I can help with some techniques for those who are ready to try something new. And after all, if what you are doing now isn’t working…Einstein would say….”do something else”. I am not immune to stress by no means at all, I have been a single mother for 7 and a half years, but I’ve managed to create a “stress less plan” for myself that stopped anxiety from getting me like it used to.
Because my coaching clients are confidential, I don’t get to tell you who told me that out of all of the teachers, doctors and helpers that they have spoken with, it was my tools and coaching that helped them overcome and address anxiety attacks and really manage stress better.
Now not all stress is bad stress. There are many types of stress. And the bad stress, unaddressed, can really damage your health, physically and mentally and it pours out of your being and into the lives of those around you. All sorts of chemicals and hormones increase your heart rate and can lead to panic attacks. I’ve had those too! Panic attacks can get so bad that people mistakenly think that they are having a heart attack and call 911.Stress is serious. (There are also ways to creatively funnel your stress into energy. Ask me for more info.)
The first time I had anxiety, I didn’t know what it was. It was just a terrible feeling inside my chest that made me feel like I was a afraid of something, but I couldn’t understand why. This is where I learned to question it. (Other signs of stress are: Palpitations or chest pain, Speeding up of the heart rate, Rapid or over-breathing, Headaches, Backaches, Trembling, Tingling in fingers or toes, Sweating, Dry mouth, Difficulty swallowing, Dizziness/lightheadedness/feeling faintish (this is usually from hyperventilating), Nausea, Abdominal, cramping, Hot flashes or chills.)
In my experience, it was important to learn where exactly this stress was coming from. I take some time to pin point the stress and understand that I cannot completely eliminate it but I can learn to negotiate with it, understand and manage it. An important step in addressing the stress is to label it, identify it for what it really is. For example, as a single mom and a woman active in the community, I used to get really stressed out over having too much to do and too much responsibility, it was too much for one person. The fact is, first of all, I made a choice to commit to boards and volunteer activities and because my children are the most important to me, I had to ‘woman-up’ because I didn’t have a reliable partner to help me with them. I needed the activities to keep my sanity but I had to ensure that my children were safe and had what they needed emotionally and physically. I had to accept the fact that I am a single parent and identify that it is not my fault. I had to accept that I could only do what I can and sometimes had to learn to say no. I identified the problem. I needed support with my children so that I could continue to seek activities that made me feel like a successful person. (I still volunteer in many areas and HIGHLY recommend it!!).
Here are some steps to what has worked for me and what I recommend to all my friends and coaching peeps. And I will say again, this might be new to you. So you may want to practice in a quiet spot alone. But once you master these tools, you will find that you can do them anywhere and everywhere, especially when you need it most.
1. Do not be scared to let others know that you are creating a “stress less plan”, you need support, and talking about it with others that you can trust, is the best support you can have. The most important part of these steps are that you practice this right now, because when you need the tools, if you are already in high stress, chances are you are not going to stop and find this website and look for this article. Addressing the stress and making a stress less plan is a choice that you have to make now, either you are going to deal with it or you are going to keep complaining about it. Emergency responders practice, practice, practice way before the crisis hits, and when the time comes, they know what to do.
2. In a crisis state of stress, you have to bring yourself into the moment. High waves of stress are usually brought on because of something that makes us worry or fret about, things that have happened in the past, how it made us feel or how it ‘might’ have made somebody else feel, and what people are thinking or what could possibly happen and how something else might possibly affect us, and that pours out to more possibilities of ‘mights’ and “what-if’s and creates strong waves of stress. Whether we like to hear it or not, we are in situations because of decisions that we make, or have (or feel like we have) a responsibility that looks way too big for us, and instead of being in the moment, we look at the whole big giant picture, so in the future or in the past and we think “Wow, this is too big, I can’t do it”. What you need to do is Bring yourself back to the moment by taking a deep breath in and counting up to 5 while you inhale, and concentrate on the air that is filling your body. Hold your breath as you count to 5. Release all of your breath as you count to 5, pushing the air out, and the stress out. Picture the “stress” being forced out of your body. (I suggest you call for help if the attack is too much for you to handle on your own).
3. Call or text a friend (or a Coach). This is a big world with lots of people who love you and want to be there to support you. But make sure you call the right person, someone aware of your stress and someone who knows you and can help lead you back to focus. This means you may have to talk to them before stress reaches its peak, and if that is not possible or it’s too late, that’s ok, call them anyway, you should never be alone when stress is at its highest.
What might you say to someone whom you are seeking help? How about something like this: In case you didn’t know, I’ve been experiencing some extreme stress and I am setting up a plan to have someone to connect with and help me remember that I’m going to be ok. Do you think you could help? What I need you to do is to remind me to take deep breaths and be there to listen, remind me I am going to be ok. Stress is serious. Don’t forget to talk about it when you are calm again.
Here are some tips on how to handle being that friend that is getting the call when someone is in high stress: Make sure to listen, don’t argue or dismiss what they are saying. Try to be as empathetic as possible. Let them know that you are there for them and that they are not alone. Say their name and tell them that they are going to be ok, and to take some slow deep breaths. Be patient. Call for help if you feel that it is too serious for you.
4. Homework! We don’t talk about these things as much as we should as a community. We need to know what triggers our stress! Is it a topic? Caffeine? Smoking? Procrastinating? Or an event? If you are prone to stress, make a plan on what to do as soon as you identify the trigger. Make a list of things to do, this exercise releases stress by simply removing some loud thoughts of what you have to remember to do (or think you should have done) and allow you to acknowledge them on paper, out in the world. Writing out plans and goals also gives you power to manage them and make them happen the way the universe wants them to.
As these suggestions are preliminary, elementary solutions but they work. If you have high level stress and my suggestions are not useful, I definitely suggest you see a doctor, it is wise to seek help, and your health depends on it. I am very impressed by people who make that effort to invest in themselves and their health because we make the world better by our actions. In some cases a doctor may not be the right fit, I am available as a Coach, free consultation, to discuss if a coaching plan together is the right fit for the solution you are looking for.
I have been reminded that I need to be clear on what is controllable and uncontrollable. So it’s ok to “surrender” to some things in life, if they are safe and uncontrollable, but other things, like attitude, are controllable. Please take care!
Find more information at jessicadumas.com, I am available for this topic and more for individual coaching clients, couples coaching, and I’m working on my marriage packages where I will coaching prior to weddings, as a commissioner I will marry you and then set some coaching goals for couples who are entering their first year of marriage, I do small group workshops and I have so many ideas for so much more.
Certified Life Coach
I’m very excited about this upcoming workshop I put together for CFS/front line/youth/community Workers.
The workshop will facilitate Group Discussion, having the opportunity to share the stresses of work responsibilities, a sort of a safe-venting opportunity. Then we will take time for a Personal Reflection, to remember why we do this work, what keeps us here, what our goal intentions are (these sometimes fade in the frustrations and overloads of work), and then we come back in some Team Building. This also emphasizes that we often have the same experiences and we need reminders that we are not the only one, or the first one for that matter, to be going through a life event or work stress, and knowing this can be helpful. We close of with a Community Success Mantra, which will be different for every group, some might chose a slogan that will be used to encourage each other, some might chose a MESS Strategy (Mental Emotional Safety System) that each person will receive support, knowing that each person is entitled to it.
I am so excited to share this workshop. Please contact me for more info or to set up a workshop for your organization! One on One and Couples Coaching is also available.
Thanks for your time!
Certified Life Coach
From the stat can website, I read that 12.8% of Canadian families are single moms.
I have been a chosen one, having the blessing of raising 3 boys, on my own, simultaneously. It has been a great adventure and as a mother, I hope that no one would ever consider opting out. However, it is a rough road, sometimes rocky beginnings, you have many struggles and so many questions and you don’t always have the right support.
I wanted my children to be successful. I saw people in my life struggling and knew that I needed to break a cycle, I asked myself “What do my children need to learn from me, in order to be successful?”
Thank goodness for healthy boys. My first son was 9 pounds 10 ounces. My second son, 8 pounds 12 ounces and my youngest son, 10 pounds 11 ounces! Ouch is right!
In answer to my question, what do my boys need to learn from me? My first basic thoughts were on nutrition. Breast milk. I nursed my babies, mom’s milk is the best milk. Breast feeding is said to give the biggest brain boost. The key to this task: Persistence. Don’t give up.
I thought about safety and stereotype. I don’t want my boys playing with toy guns. I never bought my kids any toy guns, but because they wanted them, Gramma did! Regardless I did or not, they would make them… Out of Lego and out of toast! The key to this event: acceptance. Boys love the dynamics of guns and toy fighting, they learn what is right and wrong.
I thought about communication. I will talk to my boys and I will always genuinely listen when they speak. Lesson learned here: Boys don’t always take time to listen! The key to this task: look them in the eye and make them look at you in the eye.
I thought about love. I wanted my boys to know they are loved, I tell them, I tell them often and I tell them that nothing they can do, can stop me from loving them, so they have to be honest because that is the only way I can help them. The key to this task is to just love.
Because I didn’t always have the right support, I took it upon myself to get the education that I needed to give my children the best that I could. I read magazines, I read books, I watched Nanny 911 and I took initiative to incorporate all of the tools I preferred.
Through parenting, you can only learn what you experience. You don’t learn how to “change a diaper” from a magazine. You have to experience it.
You don’t learn how to soothe a crying baby at 2am, 4am and again at 5 am, from a magazine.
You don’t learn how to patch up a scraped knee from a magazine. You have to experience it.
And when I thought I had mastered it, “I had made amazing young men!”, one of them turned into a teenager.
You do not learn how to parent a teenager from a magazine a book a TV show or anything besides the experience of having a teenager. And this doesn’t mean that after you’ve parented a teenager, you know how to parent them all, because just like us, they are each, unique and incredibly different.
They have their own unique and amazing ideas, skills, gifts, abilities, and challenges that they want to overcome. They have their own way of communicating and coping skills.
I think it’s important that with boys, in order for them to become strong healthy and successful men, we have to let them grow. I remember hearing the term “let-go”. And when my oldest, very responsible son was 12, he was teaching me that I had to “let him go”.
I thought “What? You’re still my baby”.
Letting go doesn’t mean that I stop parenting him, stop being his mom and stop loving him, it simply means that I have to let go of the control of keeping my hands on his sides to make sure he is safe from scrapes, or my hands over his eyes so he doesn’t see all the evil that I had blocked from him, up to now, or that I let him fend for himself all alone.
It means that I allow him to make decisions and learn his own lessons, for when he wants to, so that when he needs-to, he will have the practice of how-to. It means I give him respect and trust that he has learned all I have been teaching him. It means that I shouldn’t run when I see him get a bump, or see that he is struggling.
It means that I let go of the control of managing his surroundings, it means that even if I know the consequence, and I will tell him, (but remember I said that they don’t always listen) that I have to accept that and most importantly, that I will always accept him as the man he is becoming, in all of his learning.
This is what boys need from a single mom.
A real common obstacle we all deal with is how unique we are, and shining in that uniqueness, allowing ourselves to accept how great we really are. You are great! I challenge you to look into the mirror, every day, every chance you get, and say to yourself “I accept myself.” This is where freedom really starts.
Wouldn’t it be nice if ____________________________________________.
Fill in the blanks. Over and over.