Feeling Sick? Here’s Why and What To Do

Feeling Sick? Here's Why and What To Do | Sedruola Maruska

How many times have you said or heard someone else say say ‘I’m so stressed’?

We use the word ‘stress’ loosely. Many times what we describe as stress is a bad day, and really all we want is to chill. Basically, ‘stress’ is just another word for ‘annoyed’ or ‘hassle’.

But more and more ‘stress’ isn’t just an alternate word, it’s something we face every day. It’s a constant in our lives that keeps us awake at night, on edge through the day, and fills us with tension and fear.

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Do any of these phrases sound familiar?:

  • ‘I’m worrying all the time.’
  • ‘I just can’t concentrate on anything.’
  • ‘I can’t get organised.’
  • ‘My memory is terrible these days.’
  • ‘I don’t feel good about myself.’
  • ‘I’ve got a hundred things to do, I can’t start any of them!’
  • ‘Little things throw me into a panic and I find myself gasping for breath.’

These are all symptoms of stress. But stress doesn’t only manifest on the surface. It causes physical symptoms, too. Do any of the symptoms below sound like you?:

  • ‘I get more headaches than I used to.’
  • ‘I get dizzy for no reason in the middle of the day.’
  • ‘My digestive system is going nuts, I always have heartburn or indigestion.’
  • ‘I’ve been sweating when it isn’t hot, or shivering when it isn’t cold.’
  • ‘I can’t get to sleep my mind keeps racing, when I do sleep, I have nightmares.’
  • ‘My face and eyes twitch when I’m under pressure.’

If these symptoms sound familiar, you’re probably under more stress than you think – stress that’s damaging your health, now and in the long run.

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Why is it a Problem?

In small amounts, stress is necessary. Lots of things cause short-term stress, even things we enjoy, like board games, challenging tasks, a DIY home project, or video games. These situations cause fun ‘stress’ that leads to a feeling of satisfaction, a challenge overcome, a job well done, or a game well played.

Stress can sometimes be good for us. For example, if we’re finding it hard to pay the bills, we might respond by asking for a raise – or finding a better job!

The problem comes when we’re stressed most or all of the time – especially at work.

If the trend continues, most adults will be suffering from high blood pressure in a few years because of coping mechanisms such as drinking, overeating or not getting enough sleep.

Why?

Because when stress continues, it doesn’t only take a psychological toll – damaged relationships, problems at work, and poorer quality of life. It also takes a physical toll that can lead to serious conditions like coronary heart disease.

What is Stress?

Doesn’t it seems strange that something as intangible as stress can have such a dramatic effect on our health, our lives, and society as a whole? But it can, and it does, which is why we need to understand it and learn how to deal with it.

There’s more than one way of defining stress, but here are two of the most useful.

  • Stress is what happens when we feel that demands we have to meet are bigger than our ability to deal with them, so we feel ‘out of our depth’ or ‘at the end of our rope.’
  • Stress is an adverse reaction we have to a lot of pressure or other demands placed on us.

In other words, stress is based on the way we look at our lives. If we think we can cope with pressures, demands on our time, our abilities and our money then there’s no problem. If we can’t, we feel stressed.

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Why Physical Symptoms?

The answer to the question is in our history.

Years ago, when we were less ‘sophisticated’ than we are now, If we were confronted with something threatening, we had two possible responses. To stay, and fight – or to turn and run. Fight or flight.

Although we’ve evolved, we still have those same fight or flight instincts. That’s good except for the fact that our systems can’t tell the difference between a real threat and an imagined one. So even if the threat is something we’ve been thinking about our response is the same – fight or flight.

And the results are physical!

  • Your heart starts to beat faster, carrying oxygen and nutrients, clearing away waste products so your muscles will have the blood supply they need for intense physical effort
  • As your heart beats faster, your blood pressure rises
  • Adrenaline and other hormones are released, to give you the energy you’ll need, raising your awareness, and sharpening your response
  • Your liver releases stored sugar for more energy
  • Your pupils dilate to let in more light, so you can see more clearly
  • All your senses become sharper and more efficient
  • Your muscles tense, ready for action
  • Blood flow to your hands and feet is restricted, so they stay cool
  • Your body gets hotter as your blood pressure rises, and you start to sweat in an effort to cool off

And yet nothing physical has happened. You’ve simply imagined, remembered, or anticipated something your subconscious sees as a threat!

You’ve also started to program yourself with this response to a particular stimulus. Which means that the next time you have the same thought, you’ll respond in the same way – faster, and more intensely.

You may even start to worry about the response – which increases your stress levels even more. The result: unpleasant physical symptoms. Palpitations. Muscle tension pain. Insomnia. Breathlessness. Numbness. Tingling. Dizziness. Sickness. Fainting. Headaches. Indigestion. Diarrhea. Fatigue. Chest pains. Blurred vision. Nausea. Shaking and more.

The good news is that once you understand stress, and recognise it, you can easily manage it.

Feeling Sick? Here's Why and What To Do | Stress Relief | Sedruola Maruska

Managing Stress

Stress comes from a particular set of behaviors we learn and repeat. Fighting back means learning – and repeating – a different set of behaviors that will reduce stress and restore calm.

Here are some first steps to help you manage stress:

  • Learn relaxation techniques! Relaxation is the opposite of ‘fight or flight’. Meditation, progressive muscular relaxation, deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, or even dancing can help you to relax
  • Learn about your stress ‘triggers’. Keep a journal where you write down things that make you tense up or start to worry, and the things that make you feel relaxed and happy.
  • Take stock of your lifestyle. Are you eating and drinking sensibly? Do you exercise enough? Vigorous exercise is a great way to get rid of tension that builds up when you’re stressed!
  • Develop strategies. Think about what you do now to stay calm. What could you do better? What strategies could you add to your arsenal?

Managing stress starts with knowing what’s stressful to you. We all have different triggers and ways of managing our stress.

Sometimes, when I’m working, I realize that my shoulders are incredibly tense. Unconsciously I’m raising them toward my ears, so that when I’m finally realizing this, my body is in a truly awkward position. I’ve realized that it happens when I’m unsure of or feeling stressed about a project.

What I do is take a deep breath, hold it for three seconds, then as I release my breath I relax my shoulders. That simple act gets me back to neutral, relaxes my body and helps clear my mind so I can keep working. without causing myself harm.

I encourage you to keep a journal and become more aware of how you’re dealing with stress. You’ll be happy, in many ways, that you took the time.


She Crawled Into My Bathroom Stall…

She Crawled Into My Bathroom Stall | Sedruola Maruska

We were living in Miami at the time. Which means I was around eight years old.

I raised my hand.

“May I go to the bathroom?”

“Yes, Sedie, go ahead.”

It was a typical day. We were learning. Things were going fine, until I went to the bathroom.

I heard someone come in.

Then, she crawled under the partition, into my stall.

Her name was Sara. She was in my class. We were friends. It’s foggy, I was eight. We only lived in Miami for six months. I didn’t know her well, but she was my friend.

And here was my friend, Sara, standing in front of me, in my bathroom stall, pulling down her pants and showing me her vagina.

“What are you doing?!”

“Show me yours.”

“NO!”

“Come on?!”

“NO!”

I quickly got up, pulled my clothes together and tried to leave the stall.

She tried to kiss me.

“Stop!”

My eight year old self was confused. What happened? Why did she come into my stall? Why was she showing me her vagina? Why did she want to see mine?

Why did I feel scared? Why did I feel ashamed?

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I’ve never told that story before. As a matter of fact, I haven’t thought about that incident in a long time

It came to mind because the other day I was talking to my mom about my son. We were sharing about how open he still seems to be at thirteen.

Then I thought about Sara. About how I never told anyone what happened in that bathroom. How, I felt so ashamed and nervous afterwards.

Looking back, I wonder if Sara ever said anything to anyone either. She and I never talked about it. I didn’t tell on her. I didn’t tell anyone, ever. We moved.

As a mom I’d like to think I can protect my kids from hurt. I want to think that they’ll tell me what’s going on with them, by making sure I give them space to be fully open and honest.

But they’re not going to tell us everything. They’re not always going to say when they feel confused or frustrated. Especially if they feel ashamed or nervous.

They’re going to move on and pretend everything’s fine, or they’ll forget.

What happened with Sara? Did she keep crawling under partitions into stalls? Did she grow into herself and acknowledge that she was gay, or at least curious? Or, did she bury herself and her curiosity deep inside because of confusion?

I’ll never know.

Something I do know, our children will never tell us everything. Because when I think about it, I realize that I didn’t.

We didn’t, we don’t tell everything ourselves.

She Crawled Into My Bathroom Stall | Sedruola Maruska

I could have gone home and told my mom about this little girl that came into my bathroom stall. I didn’t. Which is why I’m not naïve enough to think my kids will tell me.

No matter how safe they feel in talking to me, and we work hard to make our home a safe space, they won’t. What I hope is they’ll learn to process and cope.

Until we’re able to process the reasons we keep ourselves buried, we’re destined to live in darkness. We can’t be upset at our children for not sharing everything with us, when we don’t share everything with ourselves.

Homeschooling my daughter the other day, we worked on a reading comprehension activity. I looked at her work and noticed a couple of wrong answers so I sent her back to review. She reviewed then brought it back. I glanced and started to tell her that what she did was wrong as she started to get emotional.

When I looked closer, I was wrong. I didn’t take the time to look closely, thinking I already knew what I was doing, and I was correcting what she’d done, when it was already correct.

I looked at her teary eyes and said “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”

But I didn’t stop there. I want to empower her to speak up so I said “it’s okay to tell me if I’m wrong. I will be wrong sometimes. Okay? No matter who it is, they can be wrong. If you know you’re right, speak up.”

She nodded, smiled and we moved on. What I’m hoping she’ll learn is, even if she’s not willing to tell me everything, she will speak up for herself and process outwardly if necessary.

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As we mature the extent we allow ourselves to learn and grow is the extent we’ll be able to allow others around us to learn and grow.

We’re not called to live anyone else’s life, even our children’s. What we’re called to do is be and project the best versions of ourselves. That’s how we empower ourselves, our children and our loved ones to be the very best of themselves.

Then, when someone does crawl into their bathroom stall, they’re equipped to handle, process and move beyond that situation.

Now, Where Does Change Happen?

Sedruola Maruska | Personal Development Coach

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.”

When was the last time you were fully present in the NOW?

I used to hear the idea shared that ‘there’s only now’ but never fully understood it until a few years ago when I read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.

What is now? It’s this very moment. It’s the time when all things are created because they all begin in the mind. As a personal development coach I enjoy talking about ‘now’ because it’s the fertile ground where the future grows. “NOW” is where personal development happens.

“Now” is ideal attention, focus. It’s being in “the zone” where all that exists, all that matters is the present moment, not the past or future. It’s paying full attention to what you’re doing in the moment you’re doing it.

For example, if you’re eating, eat. If you’re reading, read. It’s the moment of choice for every action or thought. Personal development is a present activity. It’s deciding in each moment and affirming each decision with action.

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If you’re eating and thinking about bills, or what’s on television, then you’re not in a state of now. If you’re reading and not concentrating on the act of reading, then you’re not in the present. Whatever you happen to be doing, if you’re thinking about something else, then you’re not attentive and not in a state of now.

Have you ever been reading but couldn’t remember what you read? Or maybe you kept reading the same page over and over again because you couldn’t seem to grasp what was being said? That’s what not being in the present feels like.

Now, Where Does Change Happen | Sedruola Maruska

When you’re not attentive, not here, your present peace of mind may be distracted by an upcoming event, or something that’s already happened. When you’re working on personal development one of the keys is to always bring your focus back to ‘now’. Always asking “what can I do now to achieve what I want?”

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If I ask you how you feel, I’m not asking how you felt yesterday or how you think you’ll feel tomorrow. I’m asking how you feel, in this moment. Same as if I ask you what you want. I’m not asking about what you wanted in the past, or even what you want for the future. I’m asking for this moment because knowing and embracing what you want today gives you clarity for creating the future.

Now is all there is. Tomorrow is always beyond your grasp and yesterday is gone forever. It’s the only reality.

A few days ago I woke up with a feeling of complete peace. The day and time were ‘Now’ and being able to enjoy that presence felt great. Being focused on what was happening in each moment allowed the day to unfold as an incredibly productive day.

What do you want? Who are you, now? Let’s get a fresh start there so we can then think about what needs to happen in every “now” so the future can be perfect for you.