Reality Sets In

Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash

One day.  That’s the amount of time I didn’t feel any stress after quitting my job.  I thought I would be motivated. I thought I would have energy. I thought I would feel better.  I thought my appetite would come back. I thought I would be excited to come up with a plan for the next phase of my life.  

I expected to be automatically healed.  I expected to feel good about myself. I expected to trust that everything would be ok.

I didn’t do any of that, which is ironic since my mom is really open about her own healing journey and struggles around it, and has made it her mission to come up with an effective process to help others.

Instead of getting super focused on what I could do to start my journey to healing, I went back to my go-to way of being: stressed-out and hiding, hoping no-one would notice.

I’ll admit, I did that for a while.  Longer than I probably should have. And then I crawled out from my hiding place with the support of my mom.  It didn’t always feel like support and I didn’t always emerge from my hiding place willingly.  

I was more comfortable there because that was what I had known for so long.  I didn’t actually know how to take a step forward. I felt like I was back in preschool at 2 ½ years old, not knowing how to navigate the class, the rules, and the other kids, and feeling like I didn’t have the tools to figure it out.

I knew in my heart that if anything was going to change, it had to be me making the changes.  Sure, I could get help from other people, but I had to do the work. To be honest, I really didn’t know if I wanted to.

The first thing I did was to understand that when you’re in hiding, your breathing becomes very shallow.  Whether I looked at the significance of breathing from a medical perspective of your blood being oxygenated or an Eastern philosophy perspective of bringing chi or life force into your body, it became clear to me that my shallow breathing was contributing to the stress I was feeling.  

So I decided to begin a very simple breathing practice known as a 4-7-8 breath.  This seemed like the smallest step I could take yet I felt resistance to doing even that.

On the first day, I did it once.  And on the second day, I committed to doing it twice, but I did it once.  What I’m learning from this journey is to be kind to myself and to recognize when I’m making even the smallest step.  At least I did it once. Now, to not only commit to, but to actually do it twice a day. I’m determined…

I invite you to join me on my journey on Instagram at @stressgirlnomore or follow my mom @belindaphillips137

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