Guest Post - What Stress?

August 15, 2018

What Stress?


I pride myself on being laid back.  When everyone around me is losing it over the latest family/work/school crisis, I am the person who can take a step back and look at things rationally.  I am the voice of common sense in a busy, noisy group.  I’m not big on complaining, preferring to keep things to myself until a situation is resolved. I actively avoid frantic or negative people because their bad vibes are an irritation that I just don’t need.  Life however, is unavoidable.  I like to be busy and having been a mum since the age of 21, I’ve had responsibilities now for as long as I can remember.


Imagine my surprise then when last year I started having symptoms that something was not quite right.  I found myself short of breath.  Not due to exercise or extreme temperatures but just by going about my day.  I wasn’t gasping for breath and it wouldn’t happen every day.  The only way to describe it was like a sudden weight on my chest and a hunger to draw more air into my lungs.  The only cause I could think of was an impending chest infection.  I told a friend about this and she informed me that it was more than likely I had anxiety.


Seriously? That’s not me.  I don’t do anxious, depressed or feeling sorry for myself.  I immediately started to look for the culprit.  What was so stressful to me that made me feel like I literally couldn’t breathe?  I made a list:


·         A member of my family had some health problems

·         I was studying for an online qualification for my job

·         I had started a second part time business

·         My older son was struggling to keep a job

·         My younger son had just started school and had homework every night

·         I was struggling with my weight

·         I wanted a baby but wasn’t sure due to lack of childcare/finances

·         We were unable to extend our house as originally planned


At first glance, there was nothing there that would normally affect me.  Then I had a lightbulb moment.  It wasn’t one of those things – it was all of them.  I realised that I was dealing with more issues at once than I ever had.  The collective stress of day to day ‘stuff’ had begun to overwhelm me.


I dealt with this the only way I knew how.  I picked out the things that I could deal with practically and made some changes.  I made healthy changes to my diet and went for a walk every day with my dog.  I made a commitment to complete my online qualification as soon as I could.  This alone was no easy task but as soon as it was done I felt a huge sense of relief.  I painted a couple of rooms and moved some furniture around which gave me a new love for my home.  For everything else I put my faith in the universe that everything would turn out for the best.  There was no point worrying needlessly over things I had no direct control over.


These changes had a positive impact on my life.  I had been lucky.  I firmly believe that if I hadn’t caught this in time, my mental health would have deteriorated further.

I also realise that this can happen anytime to anyone.  Each person is different and everyone has a breaking point whether it happens quickly or over a period of time. 


I began to realise that self-care is more important than looking after everyone else.  I had to find something that would prevent this from happening again.  I began looking around and came across a course on Mindfulness. I've decided I'm going to diarize my journey so I can share it with others who might wonder what Mindfulness is all about just like me. 


Karen x

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Cultivating Mindfulness is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), charity no. SC048634 providing Mindfulness Meditation Courses, Workplace Workshops and other health related activities and training programmes for adults, young people and children available throughout Glasgow, East Renfrewshire covering Newton Mearns, Giffnock, Clarkston, Busby, Netherlee, Neilston, Barrhead, Paisley, Southside, Renfrewshire, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire and East Dunbartonshire.