What a week for getting the blood boiling, the news has been filled with lockdown parties at No. 10, and Boris Johnson trying to avoid all accountability. On top of that the not so Grand Old Duke of York and his alleged predatory behaviour, oh and I nearly forgot Novac Djokovic and his attempt to bend the rules to his convenience. Not a good week for Male White Privilege. Their antics have made me shout and swear at the TV and twitter. I could feel my jaw tensing and my fists clenching, and even if I remind myself that I no control over it so I shouldn’t spend so much energy on it, it still has a negative effect on my outlook, and I cannot help being frustrated by it. I do not want to stop watching the news as I think it is important to know what is happening in the wider world. But I do run the risk of feeling out of control and helpless in my own world.
This is something I have noticed in conversations I have had with nurses at work, they feel helpless and ignored. They are confronted by situations beyond their control and find it hard to see what is in their control. Many of them I speak to have had to change where they work and the way they work. This they acknowledge is no one persons fault it is just the circumstances of COVID patients and staff sickness. But when we feel helpless and out of control our mind looks for stories and circumstances that confirm this feeling of helplessness so them and me and no doubt all of you find ourselves focussing on and pushing against situations and issues we have no control over, and the cycle continues.
So this week I have decided to look for stuff I do have control over. It doesn’t change my frustration with all the shit that is going on but what it does is gives me an alternative. Now over indulgence and being a lazy git as resulted in my waist getting bigger and me feeling lethargic and unhealthy. Now I can do something about that. As you know Cancer Research is a charity close to my heart, and last year I ran the Great Manchester Run raising money for the charity. Well at the beginning of the week I signed up for this years Run again raising money for Cancer Research. This gave me the compelling reason to start running again. As I have let myself go over the past few months I started couch to 10k from scratch, and I have done 3 runs this week. Over the past couple of weeks I have also been giving away free mindfulness recordings to friends, choosing to help others also gives me a sense of control. I still get stressed about the news, I still shout at the TV, but I can also focus on what I do have control over. When I feel myself going down that helpless rabbit hole I can intentionally choose to look at what I do have control over.
This brings me to the last part of my title. We don’t always have control over what will cause us stress, and if we just tried to avoid stress we would never get anything. So stress is inevitable. What we do with it is important. This morning I felt quite stressed listening to the news and thinking about my week. I song came on Spotify and I started to dance around the kitchen (I know I am sorry about giving you that mental image). It made me feel better, it made me smile. It helped me complete my stress cycle. It made me feel safe, it reminded me that the world is just as beautiful and lovely, as it is ugly and terrible. I completed my stress cycle. So take time to complete your stress cycle and dance like no one is looking.