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.


Transformation – Part 3: Brilliance

Sedruola Maruska | Personal Development Coach

This is the final installment of the transformation journey. It’s about the brilliance we find when we embrace ourselves fully. If you’ve missed the first two posts, you can find the here:


It’s 2016, I’m 47. I’m twenty years removed from my angel’s passing. My son’s ten and my daughter’s five. But there’s a stirring in my gut that won’t leave me alone. I feel a shift I can’t explain. Nothing feels right but I can’t pin it down.

I’m prepping to go to my son’s soccer game and right before rushing out the door I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. “Who is that? It can’t be me, I don’t dress or look like THAT!”

I quickly change my clothes to something more “me” appropriate and keep it moving.

What’s Your Self Story

The Diagnosis

We’re sitting in the surgeon’s office, it’s December 13, 2017, and my husband and I are waiting to hear the results from the two biopsies I had the week before.

The first and only words I hear are “You have Invasive Lobular Carcinoma, breast cancer.” As I sit there absorbing this information, my overwhelming thoughts are:

  1. What about my kids?
  2. What am I doing with my life?

So, for the first 8 months of 2018, beginning on January 2nd, I go through active treatments to fight cancer. In that time I realize there are things I want to be, do and have yet nothing’s leading me to them.

Now’s the time.

Becoming

The Universe responds by laying me off from my job. It’s October 2018 and I’m at a crossroads. Recovering from cancer treatments, looking for a job and feeling completely transformed in a way I’m unable to explain to myself, let alone anyone else.

At the same time, my daughter’s in the second grade and bored, I’m frustrated because she’s full of brilliance and loves learning, but she feels she’s not learning anything. So, I say “if Mommy can find a way to stay home, we’ll do home school.”

Around that time, I decide to drive for Uber until I can “figure things out”. I enjoy driving so much I decide to stop my job search, drive full time and home school my daughter and build my dream career of coaching, speaking and making a real difference in other’s lives.

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Transformation - Part 3:  Brilliance  - I believe women are brilliant! The luminous kind. Here's the final part of my story and why I spend time cultivating brilliance in every femme I encounter.

No life is linear.

We don’t always know what events in our lives mean until we look back at how they’ve unfolded. Cancer re-ignited the brilliance of my soul in a way that’s hard to explain.

When I lost my first baby that brilliance was dulled to almost imperceptible. Cancer allowed me to see that I’ve been living in default for over twenty years. Instead of being the leader I was in high school, I shrunk myself to fit in and not make waves. Instead of taking huge chances and making big bets, I stayed at the slot machines and hoped. There’s no honor in being dull.

Now I’m aware. There’s no turning back because I get to choose how my story ends. Mine isn’t a story of defeat, it’s a story of triumph. It’s a story of realization and growth. It’s a story of knowing myself, honoring myself and allowing myself to continue becoming.

I’m no longer worried about being worthy, I know I am. I no longer care to carry shame, I care more that my gifts be shared. That my brilliance serve as a beacon for others, lighting their path and their motivation.

So, maybe by listening to my soul’s cry to do more for others, my cancer can be what helps others find their own brilliance.

I’m living forward, pushing through whatever comes so the next time I look back, I’m overwhelmed and humbled by what I see.

From this moment on I’m no longer in default. I’m intentional.


Transformation – Part 2: A New Life

Sedruola Maruska | Personal Development Coach

In Transformation Part 1 I shared my trauma, here, in part 2 I share more of the journey. The new life that emerged after I went home to heal

After three months of healing at home with my family, I slowly begin feeling the urge to take my life back. I’ve not only spent time mourning my baby but also a relationship, doomed from the beginning, but still a painful chapter in my life.

Feeling stronger and more ready, I begin working, connecting more with friends and moving beyond my loss. A new life comes into play as I make new friends and connect with old ones. Within a year I quit my job as a corporate trainer in Massachusetts and move to NYC, my hometown, and begin living my dream life.

As I look back I can see one problem, I’m living ‘safe‘. The fire I had within to forge new paths and live new adventures isn’t there.

New York City

In 2000 I start working at an investment bank in their presentation center. It’s a group of young artists making their way in NYC and sharing big dreams, while doing what it takes to pay the bills. Being in that environment fed me emotionally and creatively. Something I didn’t realize until much later.

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That’s where I meet the most amazing man. Of course, at the time I didn’t know how amazing he was since I kept dodging his advances. I’m sure it was self-sabotage. A way to keep myself occupied with emotionally unavailable men, so I don’t have to get hurt. But it gets old. I’m older than most of the friends I’ve made in NYC and it feels like everyone’s leaving me behind.

So again I make a few promises to myself:

  • I will go out with any man, whatever his race/ethnicity, that asks (within reason)
  • I will find and buy a home of my own
  • It’s time to be more adventurous, a new life is bubbling forth

No sooner had I made those promises, my friend and co-worker, that amazing man I told you about earlier, asks me out, again. This time, instead of saying an insincere yes, I mean it. He’s a white guy from middle America, he’s clearly only curious, not serious, but he’s a friend, he’s nice and I promised myself to give the bold a chance.

In every decision we make there’s a glimmer of hope. There’s the possibility that it will light the fire within and change our lives.

Transformation - Part 2: A New Life

Los Angeles

We go on our first date, have an amazing time and continue to see each other through the spring and summer of 2001. We get engaged in the spring of 2002 and married in January of 2003. Life is good, things are going well, but there’s a nagging inside that there’s more to be done. More that I can do. More I need to do! But the easiest options, the safest options are my default.

It’s now been ten years since my loss. I’m 37 I’m an Executive Assistant, loving my job and enjoying being married. We’re living in California, a place I never thought I’d get to, but here we are and life is good.

Our internal lights flicker at various times along our journey. If they stay lit, is up to us.

I get wind that the Executive Assistants are getting industry raises, but I haven’t gotten one yet. So, mustering my courage, I go into my boss’ office and request a raise. There’s a flicker. I get the raise, a huge raise and a boost to our lifestyle and my confidence.

Then I get pregnant. I know what can happen. Do old fears creep up? I’m not sure. We’re excited but cautious because it’s taken us two years to get to this point. So, when I go into pre-term labor at 20 weeks, and my doctor puts me on bed rest I’m again committed to lay for as long as it takes.

It’s Free Money, Grab It

Flashes of ten years earlier come to the forefront. This time I’m doing it “right.” Safe and safety mode kick in and after 3.5 months our baby’s born. He’s healthy and I’m again going with safe choices. We leave L.A. and move home with my parents because my husband’s finished school and the L.A. air quality isn’t good for his health. I retreat to doing it “right”.

Default Mode

As I look back I realize that I’d set myself to default mode.

Default mode is when you’re going along with what’s easy, the basic programming or factory installed basics of a situation.

When I was a real estate agent I’d see lots of houses. The ones that couldn’t be priced very high were the ones that were in ‘default mode’, meaning they had builder’s choice decor. They weren’t updated or improved on in any way.

If we look at our lives we can see how we move along in default. We, especially as women, don’t want to rock the boat. We fall back on old beliefs, practices or ways that allow us to fit into our environment. That’s what I was doing.

Instead of boldly forging my way forward, I operated in the easiest mode available, fell back on outdated software and shrunk so I wouldn’t be too big for the life and space I was living.

How are you living in default? What are some things you’re putting off, ignoring or missing because they’re too “hard?”