Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dealing with Stressful Situations

More of a personal one for me. This week has been a wee bit more stressful than usual. Yesterday marked the nineth anniversary of my grandfather's death (who I love and miss dearly), which was on top of a crappy weekend. You know the kind. Where nothing goes to plan, recipes fail, kids are sick, the washing doesn't get done and things break. Sometimes because they are thrown in anger and sometimes because it's just one of 'those' weekends.

Straight up. I'm not good in stressful situations. I panic, I cry and I cannot see past that immediate moment. I criticise myself and fall straight back into the arms of depression.

Why is it that I'm a much better friend to others than I am to myself? I would never call my friends an idiot. I would never ask why they even bothered trying in the first place. I wouldn't call my loved ones a failure. Yet I don't seem to hesitate in dishing out the insults to myself.

So, how does one become a calmer person? How do I re-train myself to be less emotional when something doesn't go right? More importantly, how do I not sweat the small stuff?

Here's a collection of tips that I'll be taking on board to handle tricky situations with a little more tact:
* Before I react, before I can let a few expletives out, just take a moment to breathe. Take some nice deep breaths, keep the oxygen flowing and keep a level head.
* Count to ten. Assuming no one is in any immediate danger, close your eyes and count. Then assess the situation and make your move.
* Ask yourself: Will this matter in one year? One month? Or even next week? Granted that running around for 45 minutes trying to fix a deflated pram tyre so I could take my son for an early morning walk was frustrating. But after I asked myself the question of 'does it matter?' and realised the answer was a definate 'NO', I quickly appreciated that I had quite happily spent the last 45 minutes hanging out with my little man regardless of whether our adventures had been fruitful or not.
* Realising that ultimately, the way I react and behave is a choice I make. I can choose to throw a tanty that rivals my two year olds or I can accept the situation and deal with it. My call.
* Give yourself a brief moment to have a pity party. Yes, life can be unfair. Allow yourself a quick cry or foot stomp, then move on.
* Focus on the solution and not the problem. How can the problem be resolved as quickly and effectively as possible? Get a plan of attack happening and take back some of the power.
* Call a friend and vent. Sometimes just being heard is enough to make you feel better. If not, you might just receive some solid words of advice instead.
* Remind yourself what you are grateful for. For example, a big electricity bill is never welcome, but that's what comes with having a roof over your head and being able to enjoy some creature comforts. Things could always be worse.

Dealing with my anger and being a calmer person is a high priority for me. Seeing my own children's quick tempers when things don't go their own way is a nasty reminder of how easily they pick up our habits. While daddy may be the cool, calm and collected one, they'll invariably learn quicker from the parent they spend the most time with. Me.


  1. Hey, Bianca! Thanks for following my blog. I'm pleased to have started following you at the beginning of your bloggy life ☺ You poor thing, I feel for you. The old depression is such a bugger. Feel free to drop by at Planet Baby any time and 'vent' (see star 7 above). Hey, we've only just 'met' but you'll always have a listening ear here! And BTW I've had a shocker here, too - you're not alone! J x

  2. Oh, and slight housekeeping point - maybe your time setting is wrong as I just posted this at 11.38 pm EST ☺ J x

  3. Hi Jane,
    Have made a lot of progress on my depression. I really didn't want medication (which my Dr highly recommended), so I made quite a few little changes to beat it naturally. I'm made a lot of progress, but dealing with stressful situations is definately my weakness.
    Have made changes to the settings. Thanks for the heads up :)

  4. I was watching my boys shout at each other today over some small thing and recognised myself immediately. Great tips - I'll be giving them a lot of thought.

  5. Hi Allison, it's a sobering reminder seeing your own children lose it and realising that their response to the situation is most often a learned behaviour (from mummy)! Glad I could provide some worthwhile tips for you. Thanks for reading :)