By: Alexis Jones, IATG Co-Founder
Image from www.drjoetoday.com
A recent theme to all my girlfriends' lives is the devilish “S” word: STRESS in all her wicked ways is apparently gallivanting around town, thrashing peace, setting fire to contentment, and stomping on confidence. Whether it’s deadlines with work, recent relationship woes, sleepless nights with new babies, or attempting to wrap our minds around what “having it all” even means, the truth about all of this is that I’m sitting in the exact same boat as all my girlfriends, paddling up a stress-filled river without any ores. The only good news is that if you’re also in a little canoe along side us, trying to figure out why it seems there are never enough hours in the day, or why we are getting more and more tired with less and less time, you are not alone.
I actually think it’s something that’s wildly unique to our generation and a challenge that past generations have not experienced to the degree that we do. That isn’t to invalidate the challenges of past generations; I think we just take the cake for the “stress” category. Why? Because technology has “allowed” us to be more productive, which is more accurately stated, we are now expected to be more productive. Just think about before there were cell phones, much less smart phones. That meant when you were in transit you at least got some down time. For a lot of people, when they left their office and their desk computers, their work was done for the day. It also means there was no social media, so we weren’t getting endless updates of everyone else’s “seemingly” perfect lives. If “keeping up with the Joneses” was hard before, it’s become virtually impossible now.
So naturally we feel we are sliding behind in an invisible race we never knew we were running in the first place because the options are endless: 24 hours, 7 days a week accessibility is expected and the voluntarily self-exploitation of our personal lives is the norm. We’re basically all feeling the “fish bowl” effect that has run most celebrities into rehab (for the fourth time) only we’re doing it to ourselves. The over-scheduled, over-medicated, over-stressed generation we’ve grown up in prevents us from having down time and relaxing.
However, I had an epiphany. My dad was recently battling cancer, (he is now in remission, praise God!) but it was almost a luxury when he was in the hospital, (I can’t believe I’m actually writing that) but it was, because it narrowed my focus to one single thing. I woke up thinking about my dad, praying that he’d get better, driving back and forth to Houston to be with him in the hospital and nothing else mattered. For a small period of time, I didn’t care about my professional success, about whether I was attending the right parties, about scrolling down Facebook to see what I’d recently missed out on, or about worrying about being single at 30, about stressing out over whether I’d ever get married or not, or about having kids and what those kids names would be. I just got to dote on my father and be the faithful and selfless daughter I’ve always wanted to be.
So my dad got better and you know what? I went back to my old stressful ways: worrying, feeling overwhelmed, vacillating between this and that, and having paralysis analysis over everything. The reality is, I forgot that life is so precious and opting to check the “stess” box each morning is just as possible as checking the “grateful,” “joyful,” “happy” and “inspired” box. Despite what we think, we do have choices and sometimes we forget to exercise those choices, but they are there. So this blog is just as much for you as it is for me today. I want to remind you/us, that faith is far more powerful than fear and we have to decide to exercise her more than defaulting to her energy-sucking counterpart. Whatever is on your plate, stealing your presence and manifesting mental and emotional mayhem, take a deep breath and decide whether it serves you or not. Because if it doesn’t my dear, let it go and wish that thought well and if it does, then figure it out, make a decision and then move on. Our precious time is numbered, and we deserve to revel it in, to bask in the sunshine and smile instead of furrow our brows. We deserve to check the “FaithFULL” box every time we’re simultaneously offered the “FearLESS” box.