MMM14 Round-Up: Managing Stress . . . Or At Least Beginning To

October 28th, 2010 - filed under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

What an interesting mission this was for me! In one way, I pretty much totally failed. But in another, I was wholly successful. Let me explain.

My intention when I set out on this mission was to attend a yoga class at least once a week. I hoped that I’d get into my yoga groove, by the end of the month I’d have formed a habit, and I’d be well on my way to master yogi serenity. I would use yoga to center and ground me, and to make a space for me to just enjoy myself.

I made it to one yoga class. The first one.

Can I admit that I just don’t really mesh well with yoga? Eek, that’s so hard to say! I want to like yoga, I really really do. And I can truly imagine that at some later stage in my life, I could develop a rich and rewarding yoga practice.

But now? Man, it just doesn’t seem to fit into my life. So I kept putting it off – first I skipped the Monday night class and promised I’d go Thursday. But Thursday came and went with a promise to make it Sunday morning. But Sunday morning . . . nope, I slept in late and then played in bed with my husband and baby. And I was carrying all this guilt, all this yoga failure guilt, until I took a step back. The whole point of this was to DE-stress, right?

So I let it go. Okay, yoga isn’t for me. Instead I took a new approach: late night baths with wine and a good book, and more sex.

It was awesome.

I’ve been *so* mindful of my anxiety all month, and I’m working hard to calm my nerves as soon as they start to frazzle. I take deep breaths. I vocalize a positive thought. I relax my shoulders and smile. I make sure I get at least one long bath each week. And, ahem, the other stuff.

And it’s totally worked! I’ve been so much more relaxed this month. It’s made everything easier. Damian says he can see the difference. I know it’s made me a better mother.

So in that way, it’s been a huge success. I kind of couldn’t have asked for better. And it’s just the beginning!

So what about you guys? How did your missions go this month?

  • erosan

    Now, there’s a combination I can wholeheartedly support. I don’t drink that much, so I would sub the wine for cooking.

    To me, cooking (especially cooking late at night, say 2 a.m.-ish) is almost like meditation. I feel… free. And relaxed.

    I have to say I flunked this MMM… in fact I had totally forgotten about it until I read this post. I’ll have to make November my chill-out month.

  • Minna

    Although I haven’t been really *working* on this mission the whole month, “thanks” to a random dermatitis rash on my face a week ago, I realised I’ve been very emotionally stressed. It was time to show what I’ve learned about that lowsy disease and how to manage it. I had to relax big time, and not get depressed about my red itchy face and how mysteriously the rash hit me again. I took a day off from school, went to the solarium (the UV-therapy is really helpful), bought lots of fresh veggies and health foods from the store, came home, lit candles and took a long sea salt + lavender essential oil bath. The baths, solarium and sleeping in have worked wonders – I cleared up in just a few days! All by myself without any help of dangerous steroids!!

    And I fell in love with the sea salt bath so I’ve been taking one almost every day :D It’s *so* relaxing! It’s almost magical.

    So. I would say I’ve mastered de-stressing and I’m bloody happy about it.

  • Charlotte

    Well I’ve slowed down but thats due to a broken toe. I lost an argument with the sofa. I am yet to succeed in my mission to take a bath by myself with no pirate ships, duckies, submarines or children. Will try again on Sunday after the Halloween party of much awesomeness.

  • Laura Louise

    I failed big time. I’m even more stressed this month. I did forget about the mission at some point but forcing myself to relax was a huge mistake or maybe I didn’t do it the right way?
    I have to dig deeper to find the thing that works for me, all this before I explode.

  • Heather (Perspective Is Everything)

    This month had great potential for stress meltdowns, and I think I held my composure pretty well, all things considered :)
    1-daughter had a birthday. had to plan and execute party by myself (hubby was 2,000 miles away)
    2-had to quit a job i LOVED to get ready to move
    3-had to take daughter to school,soccer, girl scouts, other bday parties, and her bible class by myself (again, hubby is 2,000 miles away)
    4-had to pack by myself to move 2,000 miles away

    It’s been a VERY eventful and memorable month :)
    I attribute being able to maintain my composure to cutting out non-essential activities, lots of prayer, and grace from a loving God.

  • Cami

    Based on my tummy troubles and acne I’d say this was a total bust for me. But, honestly, it’s been a pretty tough month. Due to some extended family problems my 16 month old 2nd cousin was dropped into my care with only an hours warning on week two. I have no children. I have minimal experiance with children under the age of five. The fact that I survived and he thrived (his doc was able to cut down his asthma med dose by 4 treatments a day and agreed to supervise me moving him to a dairy/egg/meat free diet) is enough of a success for me this month.

  • Sara

    Hey! You know, I hated yoga at first too. I did it a few years back, didn’t like it at all, and then went back to it this year and I loved it! Who knows what changed? Anyways, I think when I at first did yoga, I was stressed about what else I could be doing that wasn’t yoga. And the instructor I have is again, really awesome (Anyone living in the Toronto area? Check out Rachel Kess!).

    I think what you did was a great idea though, Sayward! :)

  • Kelly H.

    I forgot about this mission as well, but inadvertently participated by going to acupuncture to ease stress and mood swings. Additionally, I have been on a Candida Cleanse which eliminates A LOT of foods that lead me to highs and lows. AND, I got rid of a stressful tenant so, all in all, not too bad…

  • Kelly H.

    Ohmygoodness! I just received this email (part of a daily email I subscribe to…):

    Stress Less
    Yoga is known to induce the relaxation response—to lower the activity of the sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” mechanism and increase the work of the more restorative parasympathetic nervous system; this characteristic could help with depression. But if that were the whole story, then rapid breathing techniques and poses that seem to rev up the sympathetic side—such as backbends and Sun Salutations—might be counterproductive to fighting stress and depression. The reality is that some yoga practices stimulate the nervous system and some are relaxing. It is the combination that is beneficial.

    One of the fruits of yoga practice is the realization of interconnections. Our bodies, minds, and emotions interact in complex ways that science is only just beginning to understand. In this dense web of interconnections, nothing we do has a single effect. In Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose), you bring more oxygen into the bottom of the lungs (an area that usually gets less than the upper regions), your blood pressure and heart rate rise, pressure increases in the head and neck, and you stretch the muscles and organs in the front of the body as you compress those in back, where the adrenals are located. Possibly it’s the interrelated actions of this pose—along with other elements of a complete yoga practice—that create the therapeutic benefit.

  • Meghan


    It is probably a bad sign that reading this post made me want to go to bed and cry. Ha. I forgot about/failed this mission.

    Well, okay, I started seeing a therapist about anxiety, which I think has actually helped me some. I at least have been doing deep breathing. I figure if I’m going to pay someone $30 to tell me to breath I better damn well do it.

    My mysterious stomach troubles have been seriously bumming/stressing me out. I sort of have a choice, to be nauseous all the time or take drugs that make me slightly less nauseous but totally tired. Whatever. I think that I may have discovered that ginger chews help more than meds anyway.


  • Sayward

    Hmm, it seems like a lot of people lost track of this mission. Do you guys think I should make it standard to do a halfway reminder/check-in?

    @ erosan – I *totally* agree about cooking! It is straight up meditation for me. Love it!

    And I’d say you have good reasons to be preoccupied. ;-) You can catch up next month – November’s mission follows very nicely, in fact.

    @ Minna – That is awesome! I am SO SO happy for you. You did it lady! Without icky meds! That is seriously the greatest news. How inspiring. =)

    @ Charlotte – This is me sending out good thoughts that you get your bath. But, I totally think you should bring the pirate ship.

    @ Lara Louise – I understand, lady. It can be really hard. Give yourself an awesome weekend and then try again next month. The upcoming mission is very related and you’ll be able to work them simultaneously. It’s a long and hard process but I know you can do it!

    @ Heather – Wow, you’ve got a lot going on. Good for you for keeping your cool. Good luck on the move!

    @ Cami – Again wow, that is really tough. But seriously good for you for getting him off the meds! And that is so awesome that you are transitioning him towards a plant based diet! Food is the best medicine!!! (but it sounds like you’re well aware of that!)

    @ Sara – Yeah, when I was in college I kept up a once-a-week practice for over a year. I still had to force myself to go, but I also really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. Like I said, I think there’s a yogi in me somewhere . . . it’s just very buried right now. ;-)

    @ Kelly H. – Yay for inadvertent accomplishment! And candida diet is tough, but I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better. Interesting email too – thanks for sharing it!

    @ Meghan – I think starting to see a therapist is a *huge* act and that alone means you didn’t fail this mission. What’s going on with your stomach? Have you been to a doctor/naturopath? You know I’m all about gut/digestive wellness! Hope you figure it out soon.

  • erosan

    @Meghan – ginger is well know for its nausea-blocking properties. And so is Mint… you could try drinking mint infusion, chewing mint leaves, more mojitos…

    or take the chance to brew your own ginger ale (not that hard).

    Hope you feel better.

  • Rea

    I really can’t do yoga either. I want to, I really want to enjoy it, but my situation is exactly the same. Relaxing baths and more sex were definitely how I tried with this mission, too. I don’t know how the hell you manage that with a co-sleeping baby. This must make you Superwoman or something! Congratulations!

  • Rea

    Oh, I forgot to admit that as much as I tried, last week just wasn’t too successful for me. But-but-but I was stressed out to study very hard and the results REALLY paid off–a 95% on a test from the hardest professor I’ve ever had, plus I got the bulk of my reading for the next two weeks done. Sometimes stress can be good stress, even if it does kick you right in the ass!

  • Tenise Rae

    Yeah, I’d be down for a mid-month reminder. I totally forgot about this mission this month until this post. :-\

  • Rebecca

    While I had all intentions of making this MMM a priority (especially as I *inspired* it!)…however, although I started off treating myself to a daily bath (ahhh) that soon went by the wayside when 80 hour work weeks started rolling in(!)

    However, it must have been in the back of my mind somewhere because I DID end up taking a step in the “managing stress” direction and just realized it when I saw today’s post!

    It is actually an interesting approach to this MMM, especially for me…although I consider myself fairly ‘naturopathically’/holistically/etc minded when it comes to health I also see the benefit of more western-based medicine when needed. (For example, I’m all for gentle, non-medicine based preventative measures..however, if I am having a heart attack or just severely broke my leg, you will find me in a hospital rather than simply pressing on tsubo points).

    So, that is my long, roundabout introduction to the big step I made this month. Although I had tried medication to help with my chronic anxiety years ago (when I say chronic I don’t mean just “yeah, my life is stressed” anxiety…actually four-alarm type panic attacks and so on..yikes!). However, after having little relief or not liking certain side effects I abandoned ship and adamantly would not look into it again.

    I have really come to realize just how much my stress and anxiety is interfering with not only my day-to-day life but also my well-being as a whole and, as such, I made a leap and spoke with a (very well-qualified) physician. We discussed various treatment options and I am now starting the process of finding out if I can get a bit of a break when it comes to my anxiety. So, while medication would definitely *not* be my first choice for a solution to managing stress, I left my lofty ideals by the wayside and made what I felt was the best decision for me, personally, at this juncture in the road. Man–who knew making the decision to take anti-anxiety medication could be so stressful! ha ha

  • Rachel

    Haha, I hate when you really, really want to like some activity (for me it’s biking… all my friends love it! All cool outdoorsy people in general love it! Why do I dislike it so much?!? I’m really trying here!) but you JUST. DON’T. Nice work finding a de-stressing alternative that works for you!!

  • Meghan

    The short version is that I am nauseous pretty much all the time, or, if not, at least every day. Sort of how I imagined pregnancy would be like, except with no baby/hope FOR IT EVER ENDING EVER. It started in July. I first saw a dr. in South Africa when I was in Cape Town, then saw my regular doctor here. Between the two of them they had me on a zillion antibiotics (for either unidentified mystery bacteria, or h pylori), which probably made things worse. I have been seeing a GI doctor, but he hasn’t figured things out yet, although I had a cool test where I ate radioactive oatmeal on Friday. I am thinking about seeing a naturopath if Mr. GI Guy doesn’t figure something out soon. I am fairly miserable. Bleh.

    Thanks! I might try some more mint things. Mint tea doesn’t really help, but ginger tea didn’t really either even though the ginger chews do. So maybe I’ll pick up some fresh mint next time I’m at the store. Worth a shot! Home-brewed ginger ale sounds like a potential project for the future. I don’t usually like ginger ale much, but I think it might just be that I don’t like the nasty corn-syrupy stuff that probably has no actual ginger. :-P

  • saundra

    forgot about the mission as well but on the upside during the month i got to go spend time with my bestfriend and got to go on some long drives since she lives 40 min. away and i love to drive (wish i couldbikebut alas with two kidsandonly one trailer fitted to my husbands bike it just doesn’t work lol) been relatively busy b/c everyone in my family extended included has been sick super sucky but i did go to tahlequah and got a free sample of hemp hearts which i plan to try very soon :)

  • Meghan

    Oh! And I do like having at least one check-in/reminder for monthly missions, gives an chance to support each other and try to get back on track. :-) I think that I have tended to do better at ones that have ‘em.

    I was thinking about it last night… was no-poo a monthly mission? If so, that was probably my most successful one, but I think I started it a month late. Hah!

  • Sayward

    Hmm, it’s so interesting that we all had similar experiences with this mission – failed intentions but successful alternatives (at least for the most part). Pretty awesome we’re all on the same wavelength!

    I’ll definitely implement a mid-month check in from now on.

    @ Rebecca – It sounds like you’re doing exactly what you need to do to take care of you, and that’s great. I feel just the same about allopathic and holistic medicine. I’m glad you found a path that seems to be working for your needs.

    @ Meghan – Girl, that SUCKS. I’m so sorry. You were tested for macro parasites as well right? like Ascaris or other worms? Radioactive oatmeal sounds pretty cool, but I would really consider a naturopath. The medical model is just not really trained to deal with digestive issues in the way a holistic practitioner is – but it sounds like you’re already way ahead of me. Have you heard of this book? Totally comprehensive, it’s supposed to be amazing. I haven’t read it yet but I heard the author interviewed and she’s brilliant. Just a thought. Luck! Keep me updated!

    Also no-poo was the 7th MMM. one of my most successful as well!

  • Meghan

    I’m not sure if I was tested for macro parasites, I will be sure to ask at my appointment on Wednesday. Do you randomly know of any naturopaths in the baltimore/dc area? Probably not, but who knows. :-) I have not heard of that book, but I will definitely see if my local or school library has it or can get it for me, thanks!

  • Meghan

    (and yes! my local library does have it!)

  • jenny b

    FYI:) It took me literally 16 years to embrace yoga LOL! So I get it! Now I am hooked and go almost 5 days a week and am in yoga teacher training, but man those last 16 years.. I was literally the one who had to leave mid way through class to go for a run bc I just couldn’t sit still for 2 hours and actually had myself convinced I was bored :) So…maybe one day for you or not :) xoxoxo

  • Sayward

    @ Meghan – Sorry, no naturopath knowledge. But that’s so great your library has the book! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it.

    @ jenny b. – Sounds just like me. =) I am quite certain that I will find my yoga groove someday . . .

  • Vivienne Grainger

    I know I’m pretty late to this party (try eight months), but have you considered trying yoga on your own, rather than going to a class? If you listen to her closely enough, your body will tell you exactly how to do the asanas. Really.