Do you remember being sent to time-out as a kid? Do you have your own children who get sent to time-out when they are being naughty? If my memory serves me correctly, the time-outs I endured many years ago were the result of incessant impatience (“can we go, when can we go, I want to go!”), talking back to my mother, or having some kind of meltdown because I didn’t get what I wanted. Thankfully as an adult I am no longer being sent to time-out by my mother, because, well, that would be really strange and quite unhealthy. Instead, I’m sending myself to the corner. In fact, I’ve already done so this week!
I often remind the individuals I consult and the clients I work with that as adults, we are really no different than the out of control toddlers you see having meltdowns in grocery store parking lots. When things don’t go our way, when our feelings are hurt, and when we are running on too little sleep we become stressed and meltdowns are inevitable. Thankfully, adults typically display stress differently than toddlers and children, although I’m sure there are exceptions. Some close themselves off while others lash out. Some internalize until they make themselves physically ill whereas others neglect to acknowledge what’s been eating away at them for so long. When we are under stress we don’t think clearly, we lose sight of what’s important, we are short with people, and we are hard on ourselves.
Monday started pretty rough for me. By 8:30 AM I had a stress headache. I could feel my shoulders getting tense with every passing hour. I considered going home after lunch and calling it a day. Instead, I toughed it out and when I got home I replayed everything that had caused the stress in the first place. As you can imagine, this caused more stress and tension. I was in bed by 8:30. PM
Tuesday morning, I woke up determined to make it a better day. I could sense another stressful situation ahead because the weather wasn’t cooperating with an outdoor event I had planned at work. Instead of being stressed over something beyond my control, aka the weather, I decided to not let it bother me. I could always reschedule my event for later this week.
The first thing I did when I got out of bed was meditate for 20 minutes. I needed to re-focus my energy and start my day with a clear mind. After the meditation I read for about 30 minutes to help relax me further. After a quick shower and breakfast, I was out the door feeling positive about the new day. By early afternoon I was ready to address the stressor from Monday. A 20-minute phone call with a mentor took care of that. At the end of the day I taught an awesome POUND class, which relieved the remaining stress.
Whatever it is that is stressing you out, I encourage you to give yourself a mandatory time-out. This can be one minute or one hour. You will benefit tremendously by taking time for yourself. I understand that we all have different schedules and obligations and taking it easy in the morning isn’t possible for everyone reading this post. Here are three things you can do when faced with stress, however:
- Remove yourself from the stressor – this can be physically removing yourself of mentally removing yourself.
- When your mind is clear, take time to think about how you will address the stressor(s).
- Address the stressor!
Another thing that helped me on Monday was talking to my friend, Kodee. She had some great advice and being a super thoughtful person, she even surprised me with a cute little gift today at work. While this was completely unexpected and unnecessary, it sure brightened my day! So the next time you feel an adult meltdown brewing, I encourage you to give yourself a time-out! Adult time-outs can be anything from going to bed early, to closing your office door, to turning the radio off on your drive home. Spend some time, even as little as five minutes, without noise or distractions and you will be amazed how refreshed you will feel!