Are You Stressin' M.E?

*image from Instagram*

Stress on & off is quite a hot topic. I'm sure you've all read reports from time to time about how prolonged stress can be really bad for your health & how finding time to relax & have recreation is just as important as anything else you have to do throughout your life.

Someone of us are incredibly blessed with the disposition to never have anything completely stress us out, every crazy high stress situation is easily passed off & dealt with, with little affect on us. We all know someone like that & we all envy them right? Well I will hold my hand up right now & say, I used to be one of those people. Sorry! I was so laid back & if anything remotely stressful happened at work or in my personal life, I would just breathe & work my way through whatever the situation was. It's not like I didn't have worries or stresses a lot, I just seemed to be able to handle what came my way in a kind of detached way so as for it not to impact my well being & health. I dealt with it & quickly moved on. Man I miss that girl!

Now, it's a completely different story & the change came as my health began to deteriorate. Especially when the M.E symptoms began to become stronger, I found even the smallest amount of stress or upset would send my body into overload & I couldn't fully control my reactions the way I use to.

Simply put, M.E causes your body's systems to work in a heightened state of sensitivity. One example of this is the heightened light, sound, touch, taste & smell sensitivity & this can maybe go on to effect other systems of the body as well.

So when someone with M.E is confronted with a moment of emotional upset & stress, the body overreacts & the person can find it difficult to fully control their reaction to the situation because they are battling with their own body & trying to gain back the control they once had.

As this battle is going on, the person will mentally go through low mood periods that may include crying "for no reason", anger, & frustration due to the lack of control. Physically, with the body reacting by pumping adrenaline through them, they'll feel like their being poisoned. They'll have increased pain due to the fact that they will be having prolonged periods of not breathing properly & therefore not ridding the body of toxins, which then start effecting the mitochondria cells in their muscles, causing them to not work correctly & cause their person pain.

Though there is obviously more technicalities to all that, you can basically see that Stress & M.E simply do not mix. But of course no one can go through life completely without stress & to expect so would, let's face it, be ridiculous. But, there are some things that I've found that help me cope, gain a bit of control back & hopefully limit the effect it has on my body.

Relaxation & Mood Lifters:

Doing things that relax you & lift your mood are important. For me this might be watching a favourite film, reading a good book, listening to some music,  or maybe going for a drive. I've also found having a little pamper session like having a relaxing bath or shower, lighting some candles, popping on a face mask or even painting my nails can also really do wonders for my mood. These are all dependant on how my health & energy levels are on any given day as to which I choose to do or how stressful the situation is.

Cup of Tea & a Treat:

Surely by now, especially if you follow my Instagram, you'll realise that I'm a bit (OK a lot) of a tea addict. But for me, if all else fails, just sitting with a cup of tea in silence works wonders. Throw in a little favourite treat, like a Kinder Bueno & my stress levels will definitely begin to lessen.

Just Keep Breathing:

As I said above, Stress can unknowingly cause you to not breathe properly. So when being faced with a rather challenging situation, just take a moment to breathe deeply. The method I use is to inhale while in my head counting to 5 & then exhaling while counting to 7. (For this to work, your exhale length needs to be slightly longer than your inhale) Not gonna lie, the feeling this gives is so lovely. I feel like all the tension in my muscles just melts away.

Let the OCD Run Free:

Obviously if you don't have OCD or OCD Tendencies then this one isn't for you. Or if you do but exercising them doesn't relax, de-stress, or refocus you, then I also wouldn't recommend this.  However, for me, when stress or emotional upset becomes really overwhelming, I get the urge to try & organise or clean my surroundings. Obviously full on organising or cleaning isn't really an option for me right now. So when the OCD demands to be exercised to in order to calm me, I'll either grab a bag of Skittles to sort (also serves as a treat) or if my energy levels aren't too bad, I'll maybe organise a drawer or my bookshelf.

Problem Shared, Problem Halved:

I'll totally admit here, that I'm not the best at opening up & talking about issues I may be going through, no matter what they are. Though, I am getting better at this & I'm very blessed to have someone I can call or text & just spill everything to, if I feel I can. When I put this into practise, it does definitely help & the advice & supportive words I receive, really help me refocus & feel better about the situation.  But if I really can't voice what I'm going through, just hearing said person's voice as they talk to me about whatever random subject can also be very calming.  I also find praying about what I'm going through, helps immensely! I know even if I can't correctly convey what I'm going through, my God completely understands the situation & can give instant relief & clear my mind.

Plan of Action:

Regrouping & moving forward when stressed can be so difficult, especially when your body's systems are out of whack. However, trying to do so really does help your mind-set & at least calm the mental side of stress. Making lists & having a plan as to how you will deal with a stressful & upsetting situation you're being presented with will keep you moving forward. I have personally found this so helpful & it also helps me not stay in a negative mind-set.

Though, one thing I have noticed with regards to the above tip, is that no matter how many plans you make & how OK, positive & focused you are in your mind-set & how ready you are to move on & deal with the situation;

Your Body May Have Other Ideas!

All the planning in the world will not fully stop your body going through the motions of stress & causing some flare in symptoms. Speaking from personal experience, my mind-set is great regarding the situation that initially caused major stress & upset but my body is still showing signs of going through the motions of stress. The main way it's doing this is by causing an eczema flare, something I've not had to deal with in quite a long time as I've learnt how to control & prevent it.

So for all the methods I have in place & are working to help calm my body's systems down, the biggest thing I'm having to practise is patience. Give yourself & your body time to go through the motions. Fighting it in most cases, will only make matters worse. Listening to your body can be so difficult & having to slow down a bit can be frustrating, but overall your body will thank you.

I'm sure & know there are plenty of other things that people do to help them relax & deal with stress & emotional upset, but these are the main ones that I've personally found help me.

So I really hope these little tips help if you're dealing with a stressful situation & if you do have any other methods that help you, please feel free to leave a comment sharing them. You never know who you may be helping by doing so.

L x