I am not going to lie. I had a rough week last week. It was one of those, “I’m not sure I can get out of bed and face the day.” sort of weeks. On top of the stressors that I am still trying to work out in myself, my husband worked way more than normal, our pipe broke and we had sewage in the basement, my youngest son was regressing with his potty training and I was still anxiously waiting for the results of my Behavior Analyst test. I was not handling this stress well. By the end of Monday I was so stressed that I was begging my husband not to attend his men’s group so he could stay home with me and listen to me melt down. And melt down I did. I cried, I vented, and I basically embarrassed myself. Fortunately my husband lovingly and patiently listened in a non-judgmental way, hugging me all the while.
Tuesday was a significant improvement on Monday. My vent session with my husband gave me enough dopamine (a chemical that gets released from spending time in healthy relationships) to motivate me to utilize my other coping skills. I got back into my regular workout routine, prayer life, and doing things that line up with my values. All of those items gave me dopamine. You see the buildup of stress decreased my dopamine to a disabling level, but the exercise, relationships, and doing things that line up with my values gave me dopamine back. It took all the way until Friday before I felt back to normal again. I can confidently tell you that even on Friday I would not have felt better if it weren’t for the intentional time spent trying to boost my dopamine. Some of my stressors got resolved but some definitely didn’t. They still hang over my head as I try to process them but I can fully function again.
So remember next time you feel like you are not coping and life is really overwhelming there are practical things you can do to help get yourself out of that spot.
Spend time in healthy relationships
Do activities that line up with your values