I have grown up in a society that generally speaking doesn’t deal well with emotions, instead we are taught to brush everything under the carpet and put on a front.
Now obviously there are situations when we may have to hide our feelings to a certain extent such as when we are at work, however, I cannot advocate ignoring our emotions completely.
What we underestimate is our bodies way of knowing when we are not dealing with our emotions but because we may not be aware of the link between certain physical symptoms and our emotions these symptoms may well be shrugged off as something else. (It’s worth having any physical symptoms checked out with your GP).
Everybody is different and so how our bodies may react in certain situations will be unique to us, however there are some common symptoms that may appear during times of stress, anxiety, upset etc. Symptoms that we may experience include sleep problems, muscle tension, indigestion, eating too much or too little, having little energy, unexplained aches and pains including stomach-aches or headaches, being generally run down etc.
All those symptoms particularly on there own are very easy to fob off as nothing and so we can ignore them and carry on but unless the source of the problem is dealt with then the symptom/s are unlikely to disappear.
This can make it tricky to know if indeed your symptoms are linked to what is going on in our life or not. Aside from seeking a professional opinion, it can be useful to write down the symptoms you are experiencing as well as everything that is going on for you and how you are feeling. It is possible that we are not necessarily aware of what is going on for us as often we are so busy.
Recently I have noticed that I am better able to deal with stressors in life and instead of falling apart I tend to allow myself to have a little wobble (which usually involves having a good cry) and then I form a plan of action. However, I have to admit that despite thinking that I had started to incorporate more self-care into my life I am aware that I haven’t been doing enough.
The reason I know that I haven’t been doing enough self-care is because my body started displaying physical symptoms which I know are linked with stress/anxiety. As well as not liking these symptoms (although fortunately they are fairly mild but still unpleasant) I am also feeling frustrated with myself for not being aware of how things have been affecting me.
Many people take their physical health seriously and so may have exercise routines in place yet when it comes to people’s mental health generally speaking most people don’t tend to put as much effort into looking after it until we realise, we have to.
I think for me, (& this could be the same for others) there has been an element of small things building up and certain things affecting me more than I thought they would. Most people will have things that will trigger certain emotions or feelings, but we aren’t necessarily aware of what those triggers are, which can then throw us when we aren’t expecting something to affect us or to affect us as much as it does.
So now I am on a mission to make time to recognise and find ways to deal with my emotions more regularly. I know some people take time every day to jot down positive and negative things about their day and to recognise and acknowledge how they are feeling both physically and mentally. Maybe this is something worth trying.
This can be anything…from reading, watching something funny, playing with a pet, playing your favourite song, singing, dancing, exercise, screaming, crying, punching a pillow, ripping up a piece of paper.
Do whatever it is that helps you let go of your emotions (in a healthy way) and makes you feel better.
It can be easy to think that we don’t have time to incorporate some self-care, but it can be as little as 5 minutes every day. I’ve had people come to me telling me they don’t have time but most of us spend time driving each day so this could be the time you blast that song or listen to something funny.