Let me begin by telling you that I slept an entire weekend away due to stress. I have never been so mentally and physically exhausted in my WHOLE life. The idea, then act, of telling my boss and coworkers that I'd be leaving my job of 3 years was enough to turn me into an anxious mess.
It's been over a week. My healthy lifestyle fell to shit. I feel like shit. And I don't even remember the last 2 weeks.
For the last few days I've been pondering why this event created so much stress. I think it's a combination of things:
1) I've invested so much time, love, sweat and tears (literally) in my current job, and the idea of leaving it all behind is heartbreaking
2) I'm beginning to mourn the loss of my friends and coworkers
3) The obvious: "What will my boss say?" "Will he be upset?" "Am I giving enough notice?" (especially due to specialized nature of work)
Anyone would say that the first 3 reasons are pretty common and likely among most people. But what I've realized, is that it's "change" which is contributing to the bulk of my stress. I'll be moving out of my parent's home for the first time in 25 years. I'll be living a in a different province AND I'll be going back to school, all after 4 years of working, following my first degree.
Not only is my lifestyle, living arrangements and location going to change, but my whole purpose in life is changing. I'm not solely focused on my work anymore, I'm focusing on ME and bettering myself.
While it's been a couple of weeks that I've been feeling this way, there are a few ways I'm trying to reduce my stress levels and anxiety through the process of finishing work, packing and moving to a different province.
1. I'm taking time for me, even if it's just a few minutes at a time. Stepping back from a busy day at work, focusing on cooking a delicious meal or simply washing my face and going to bed early, I'm focused on making time for the things I want to do.
2. I've cleaned up my diet, again. Like I said above, it was so easy to fall out of my healthy lifestyle when I first found out about going to school. This week I made a concentrated effort to eat keto and drink lots of water. It definitely hasn't been easy, but it means that I feel much better physically and ultimately, mentally.
3. I've stopped feeling guilty for SLEEPING. I've always been a sleeper. Naps? Yes! Early to bed, early to rise? For SURE! But over these last couple of weeks, I've been feeling guilty for allowing myself a few extra minutes of sleep. But this week, I've been waking 30 min later in the morning, and it feels so refreshing. I don't feel so groggy and it's more of a slow and natural wake up, as opposed to a harsh alarm.
4. I'm keeping my life and spaces tidy. There is nothing that causes more anxiety in my life than having a messy space. I'm focusing my effort on keeping my lab at work tidy, as well as making sure my home and car are kept as tidy as possible. This won't matter for everyone, but this is one effort that keeps me sane!
5. I'm making lists. Packing is always daunting and challenging. Even though I enjoy it, I know that it can be stressful. I've been making lists and ordering things I need, so that when the time comes, I just have to cross items off the list as I load them into boxes!
6. I'm turning on my favorite music. Sometimes turning up the volume and singing along is the best stress relief you can find!
7. Finally, I'm trying to change my mindset. I'm going to med school. Life is going to be hectic and stressful for the next 4+ years. I'm working on remembering to remind myself that this is a journey, NOT a destination. The stress will be there, but I am in charge of how I handle it and whether or not it helps me or hinders me over the next four years!
PS: Isn't this picture gorgeous? It's of my cousin's wife, Karen, taken by my cousin Ryan Flood