Mental kinda health: When stress is taboo and yet so common

You have the perfect life. You should be feeling happy, fulfilled and in balance, but let’s be honest: you don’t. Instead you feel like you are juggling life, work and family, while the person you are neglecting the most is you! Do you recognise this feeling? 

That was me
I had the perfect life and reached top positions at a young age. BUT I constantly had this nagging feeling: I wasn’t happy. I felt guilty and like a horrible mom and a horrible wife. I knew something was wrong. I would cry for no reason. I had headaches and ringing in my ears, and I felt anxious all the time. I would get annoyed and agitated at others constantly. I was overwhelmed and stressed!

I was ashamed to have stress
And then came the day I was admitted to hospital with chest pains. When the doctor told me I had stress, I asked her to check my heart again. I was so ashamed. I would rather have a physical problem with my heart. Stress was so taboo and still is, along with mental health problems.

“Shikha, strong people who have been strong for too long have stress,” she said. “And your extreme stress is killing you. Now you can either stay in denial and die slowly, or you can start to change your life!”

I had to make a choice
Little did I know that this would turn out to be the best gift of my life wrapped in the ugliest wrapping paper. It was my wake-up call. I wanted to live for my children, my husband, my family, and for me! I began working on my mindset, de-stressed myself, and learned to put myself first. I started to feel truly happy and grateful. 

Why am I sharing this?
Stress is not an illness. Stress is a condition that can be caused by carrying internal or external tension for too long. We all experience stress every day, and while this can be good for you and help you in many ways, it is the piling on of stress that causes you to feel overwhelmed and ultimately break down. 

Like a glass of water 
Imagine you’re pouring a glass of water: the stress is the drops of water falling into your glass. In everyday life with normal stress, we empty the glass every night and start the next day with an empty glass. Serious long-term stress is when we are not able to empty that glass every day and the drops keep coming … until one day that glass overflows. 

So how do you empty it?
Well firstly, make a choice – it’s simple but so important. Choose to prioritise yourself so you can be there for others. Just like on a flight, put your own oxygen mask on first. Once you have made your choice, take some time out for yourself every day. It doesn’t have to be long; even 15 minutes is great.

The morning de-stress 

A good start is spending five minutes in the morning on de-stressing and boosting yourself! Here are five handy techniques:

– Stretch your body and arms while lying down and slowly wake up your body.  

– Take three deep breaths and let go of everything from the previous day and night. Today is a new day and you are ready to make it amazing.

– Think about your goal, your happiness and what you are grateful for. The morning time is when your subconscious is most active, and what you focus on will receive extra energy. Set your intention for the day

– Get out of bed slowly and smile. Smile to yourself and to those around you. Smile from your heart.

While getting ready listen to music that makes you feel good. This can be affirmations or any music you like. Music is an amazing way to connect to the soul and send subconscious messages to your heart, mind and soul. My go-to at the moment is ‘Cover Me In Sunshine’ by Pink!

That’s it! In just five minutes, you are ready to go out and have an amazing day!!