Hissy Fit - July 2020 - Stay Calm: And Think of FiFi

...because everyone needs one every once in awhile


July 2020 Issue
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen

Life deals out situations that can be stressful. Maybe not always quite as stressful as 2020, but nonetheless, we all experiencing ups and downs, both of which can heighten stress. However, there is another kind of stress we all experience and that is self-imposed stress. Completely unnecessary, but we do it anyway.

What? You don’t think YOU add stress to your life? Let me give you an example: When is the last time you carried only two bags of groceries—one in each hand— from your car after shopping? Probably when you only bought two bags of groceries. Otherwise, you probably attempt to carry most of them at once, and stressing out yourself—and your body. Taking more bags in at once than you ever should creates pain and chaos, thus escalating stress and frustration and for what? To avoid that dreadful 30-foot walk back and forth to your driveway? Instead, we choose to mar our arms with beet red indentions, practically cut off circulation to our fingers, fumble with our keys to unlock the door, usually dropping something—more than likely the eggs— in the process. You know the drill. If you want to reduce self-imposed stress, just resolve to make a few trips back and forth to the car, and though you may have to walk a little more, it will be peaceful and without pain or stress. Isn’t that better? Take a breath. Inhale. Exhale. Feel the stress go.

Looking to weed out more self-induced stress? Try not to overbook yourself. Having to race from task to task creates anxiety, and anxiety is a level of stress you don’t want to deal with. It can ruin your day. Seriously, you have the option of avoiding anxiety if you just pay attention to your body. When I pile my schedule so full that I can’t complete one task before the next one starts, or I run late everywhere I go, it puts me into a tizzy that turns my mood into a ticking time bomb. My temper runs short.

All of this is avoidable by simply not overloading yourself, whether it be at home, work, or even socially. We all need to take a breather, pull our thoughts together, reorganize ourselves, or just relax for a moment. Be sure to allow time to reboot in your schedule, even if it is brief. A 10-minute power nap can change your day! Any small step toward reducing stress that you can control is a step in the right direction.

Not to embarrass anyone, but here is another stressful thing we ladies do: We don’t go to the bathroom when we need to; we hold it until it’s convenient, we have time, or we don’t interrupt anyone. Not only can this cause urinary tract infections, it causes unnecessary stress. If you have to go to the bathroom by all means stop what you are doing and go!

If you, or someone you love, is that person who wants to travel by getting there as fast as possible, meaning very few or no bathroom breaks, be sure to have a conversation before you leave the house. Perhaps decide to leave an hour earlier so bathroom breaks do not delay your expected arrival time, if there is one. Explain to your speed racer how important it is to take care of your health and don’t take no for an answer. Good Lord, who really in their right mind makes people hold it just because they are in some over-frenzied state of getting there? Stop often, and as Charmin advises: Enjoy the go!

One time when I was young, my family was out for a Sunday drive in the country with no destination and no time constraint. When our standard poodle started passing gas, my mother asked my father to pull over so Fifi could go out. My father refused, and with that bad decision, we became a traveling circus.

You guessed it! Fifi pooped on the back seat between me and my older sister—bless her heart (I’m referring to the dog). My sister’s solution was to roll down her window and hang her body half way out the car while screaming. My solution was to vomit. My mother’s solution was to scream at my father and threaten him if he didn’t pull the car over, and no one knows what Dad was thinking. Of course, Mom had one used Kleenex in her purse to clean up the entire mess. My sister and I stood in a peach orchard on the side of the road, while she yelled at me for vomiting. And this hall-of-fame-level of self-induced stress could have been completely avoided.

Do yourself a favor and quit voluntarily adding to your stress. If you can head it off at the pass, do so immediately. If you think it will be hard, stay calm and think of Fifi, my mother and that one Kleenex. It’s enough to change your world.