How Do You React In Stressful Times?
Updated: Jan 4
A few weeks ago I locked myself out of the house.
Like most mornings, I was rushing out the door to get to the office. I had my work bag, lunch, water bottle and locked the house door behind me. I opened my car right up, not thinking anything of it and went to start the car.
Huh? I tried again.
Nope. You need the keys, Amanda. So I looked at what I had.
Wait, how did I get INTO my car then? Ugh, it wasn't locked from the night before. Perfect. Thank God no one stole my car.
Within a matter of a few seconds, that thought went in and out of my head followed by CRAP, HOW DO I GET BACK INTO THE HOUSE?!
I paused. Took a deep breathe. Called Pat. I was calm, cool and collected.
At this point, I'm patting myself on the back. Why you might be asking? Because I've done this before.
Rewind roughly 7 years, and I'm overworked, overstressed, living on my own, and recognizing that 'worry wart' is not the only thing plaguing my brain. 7 years ago, I was seeing my now therapist 2 days a week for anxiety and depression. It had been about 3 months in and I was running late to my appointment with her. I literally remember running out of my apartment, down the parking lot to toss some garbage away and getting to my car. I had to put something away in my trunk. Just as the trunk slammed shut, my eyes got big. I knew exactly what had happened.
My purse and keys were in the trunk.
There was no one in sight and I was living 45 minutes away. No phone.. no purse.. no keys.. And I'm running late.
I almost immediately bursted into tears. Panicked. I didn't know how to calm down to think straight. I couldn't. I was too far gone.
Sobbing, I saw a man bringing his bike out to go for a ride. I sprinted to him, calling to get his attention.
"Hey! Can I use your phone? I locked my keys and phone in my trunk and I'm late for an appointment."
At this point, I was so upset I was gasping for air... Ugh... At that point in my life, events like this triggered something in me that seemed to be catastrophic even though it was small.
My first call was to my therapist cancelling our appointment.. afraid I'd be charged a cancellation fee. My voice message to her was devastating. She could barely understand me when she called back. We still talk about this exact scenario today.
My next call was to my dad who fortunately saved his daughter driving 45 minutes with a spare key.
I am grateful to be able to see the difference in me between these two events. And for the longest time, I was embarrassed by the story from 7 years ago. Not many people knew that story (until now), but internally, I was embarrassed.
How do you react in stressful times? Is it like a light switch that flips on and you lose it? Whether it's with anger, passive aggressiveness, crying hysterically, giving the silent treatment... How do you react? Are you able to problem solve without getting overly emotional?
As you can see it was a struggle for me. It took time, practice, and patience. It took awareness and the desire to change for the better.
The more you practice awareness in your day to day life, the easier it comes to you when life chucks lemons at you.
With becoming more aware, throughout the years I have also built boundaries for myself and learn acceptance that I cannot do a million things on my own in a single day. The stress of doing a million and one things in a single day left me exhausted and irritable at the end of the day. I was at my wits end when shit hit the fan. By forming boundaries and learning acceptance and awareness, I am able to stay calm, cool and collected in order to solve a problem, like how to get back into a locked house.
If this post resonated with you, share it with someone you know. Leave a comment or email me! I'd love to connect :)