Dear Dr. Sylvia,
This is embarrassing; however, I will stop being like a little kid and fess up.
The other night I was beyond exhausted. Too many demands, not enough time. Too many annoyances, not enough pleasure. Too much … well, you get the idea.
In any case, I finally dropped into my bed thinking “I’m done.” Thinking “I am close to burnout.” Thinking “What am I doing anyway?”
It was dark in the room. I love to sleep with the curtains shut and of course, no night light.
My husband was on a business trip a town away. The first time we were not together in the past six COVID- based months.
It actually felt great to be alone.
So I snuggled into my pillow and comforter and then….. well and then….
This really is embarrassing.
Any way. I heard a growl. At first, I thought it was my stomach although I was well fed and feeling fine.
Then the growl came again.
I began to freeze.
We don’t have any pets now that the kids are on their own. My son took our dog so that was not where the sound was coming from.
The growl kept up until I couldn’t stand it anymore and slid to the side of the bed and looked underneath.
And, there it was. The frickin’ stress monster from my youth.
It was there smiling up at me, big teeth, and strange green color I remember so well.
I was ready to scream for my mother until I remembered I was a grown woman and was strong and capable of taming any monsters that were still hanging around.
I know in Don’t Bring It To Work ….you talk about patterns from the past showing up in the present time.
Well, this is one of those times.
I did what you teach.
I began to search inside myself to figure out why this old, funny, ugly, annoying creature showed up.
Am I really losing it?
Anyway, I could use some thoughts of comfort.
Why me, why now, why this?
Thanks for responding,
Dear Super Stressed,
First, know you are not alone. Just about everyone is getting revisited by stress monsters from childhood.
Interesting, that they always seem to hide under the bed.
There’s even a name for fear of monsters called Teraphobia. You can read more here…
As kids, we really didn’t have the emotional or mental skills to stand up to our fears so those of us lucky enough to have parents or even older siblings who would turn the lights on for us and peek under the bed with us, gave some comfort.
Here are some suggestions to help keep those damn stress monsters from disturbing your sleep.
- Find a way to recharge: Every day, and I mean every day, take regular 10 minutes breaks at least 3 times a day. You can simply do some deep breathing, journal, sing a song, listen to music, stretch. Right there, at night, lying in bed, go ahead and breath, journal, sing a song, put on some music.
- Plan ahead. Even in these uncertain times just planning for a vacation, dinner out with friends, redoing your office with great plants, whatever makes you smile will reduce your stress. Let your memory take over and visualize great experiences. It will help you move from chaos to calm.
- Smile more: Even if you feel like crap, plant a smile on your face for a few minutes. Better yet, go online and find some jokes or funny videos (especially of little kids laughing) and the stress will diminish. Just point the edges of your lips upward into a smile and hold it. It really works, even without a joke.
- Talk with your stress monster: Tell this strange looking creature why you are so exhausted. Here is what I bet will happen. The more you share your angst, the more this little creature will get bored and finally fall asleep so you can get some shut-eye.
Stress Monsters are not such a strange phenomenon. More and more adults are finding that stress is moving them to overwhelm and burnout and making them feel like the little kids they were when things became chaotic and confusing.
I want to personally invite you to join my new public and free Facebook group Stress Mastery: The Ultimate Guide to Practicing SAFE STRESS dedicated to helping find the best ways to deal with them over the top stress of this time in our world so you can stay in the safe stress zone and live life to its fullest.
Here’s to your success,