Clenched teeth, stiff neck, headaches and fatigue are just some of the effects that stress has on the body. Have you ever tuned in to your body and realised that you’re sitting really weirdly and your shoulders are basically next to your ears and you’re clenching your jaw so tight that its a surprise you haven’t broken your teeth? We all experience stress in our lives and what might be only a little stressful for some might be incredibly stressful for others.
I have been told that I have been living in the fight/flight response for most of my life. I have been to the doctor countless times for tension headaches, sore muscles and burn out. My arms even stopped working once, like literally just decided not to be arms anymore as the muscles were just too sore to do anything. I had to ask my boyfriend to pull my pants down when I needed to go to the toilet. At 24 years old, I was hoping to be telling my boyfriend to do that for more romantic reasons but now, it was because I needed to relieve myself and my arms couldn’t even unbutton or pull down my pants. I have had so many hot water bottles or microwavable neck pillow things that I use to help relax the muscles in my neck. When I lie down, my lower back starts aching as it tries to finally relax for the first time all day.
Every time I go to the doctor, they tell me that I need to stop stressing (superb advice, really) and then give me fantastic painkillers, sometimes throw in some sleeping tablets and book me off work for a few days. At first, I loved getting the strong painkillers, it means I could finally have some peace and not have a headache and finally feel like a human being again. But I always had a little voice in my head that said there is more to life than this constant pain or taking these really strong painkillers is not good for me and at any moment I could become addicted and then my life would really spin out of control. I would often wake up in pain and say to myself, “Tarryn, when the f*ck did you become a 99-year-old woman with back pain & headaches all the time?!”
The thing is, you go on social media and it seems like everyone my age or just a bit older is complaining about back problems, headaches, stiff necks, we are always tired and always overworking. Sometimes it’s funny and I have a good laugh and nod my head, hit the share button and watch the likes roll in. Then other times I get really upset about it, why is my 23-year-old friend experiencing such things? How did we get like this? We should be experiencing life through the body of a 20-something-year-old, not a 99-year-old who has lived their full life.
I’ve decided that I have had enough, I am now on a mission to relax a little more and live life more presently. This isn’t to say that stressful things won’t happen to me, my anxiety and perfectionism won’t allow that, but I want to start viewing them differently and actively work on how I handle it. Whether its through meditation, yoga, adult colouring or singing Glee songs at the top of my voice in my car while driving around. I have started writing down affirmations every morning and repeat them to myself throughout the day when I start feeling the stress crawl in. Affirmations such as, “I am enough”, “I am capable” and “Today will be a great day”. Some people might find this silly but it has been proven to help people and I say don’t knock something till you try it, unless its heroin!
I am going to find what it is that helps me loosen up a little bit and start living like the 25-year old that I am. I hope you do the same. Lets take our power back!