Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Making the Most of Your Support System

Stress. It comes, and it goes. It ebbs, it wanes. For some, stress is no big deal. Problems seem to roll right off. Others fret, and the stress is consuming. It eats away until you snap. You snap at friends, at loved ones, people you need to support you in your time of stress. Not people to be held at arm's length.

If you are a stress eater ( like me ), times like these are especially hard on the Clean Eater. Surrounded by unhealthy choices. Choices that will most definitely take you off track for the small amount of mental satisfaction you might gain. Stress makes it very hard to stay on message when you have so much ability to just chuck it all and stop at the first fast food place you can find.

I find myself tonight in a position where I am leaning on my support system - my family, my friends, my loved ones - to get me through. You know that old saying "Southern women are like tea bags? You never know how strong they are until they are in hot water?" I call BS on that one.

This evening, I had a conversation with my occasionally neanderthal-like husband on the subject at hand. He's a stoic type. Not prone to heart on his sleeve, spontaneous bursts of humanity. He's a former Marine; still with the high and tight haircut after so many years. But he listened - he talked in his usual logical manner...and afterwards he got up and started bustling in the kitchen. I asked him what he was doing. He replied that he was going to make dinner - to take the stress off me, and so he could fix me something healthy to eat since I declared I wasn't cooking this evening and I'd be fixing them a frozen pizza for dinner ( they are not Clean Eaters ). I was moved - sincerely moved. If you knew my husband, it is through these little moments that his feelings are readily apparent.

I'm trying to say that I've been thinking I was alone. I held back information from family and friends thinking I was protecting them from the stress - when in reality, I was only hurting myself from receiving their love and comfort. Bottled up, I rob myself of both a sounding board for my feelings, fears, and frustrations - but I also rob myself from allowing these people I love desperately to reciprocate themselves in my time of need.

Open yourself up. Allow your feelings, your fears to show. Come face to face with them.

A group of very smart ladies have said:

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain."

I have said this to myself more than a few times this week. I'm such a geek.

Facing my fears and allowing them to "pass over me and through me" has allowed me not to eat those Berger's cookies in the kitchen. Or think about my son's little bin of lunch bag treats. Overeating, and stress eating are habits I've almost put behind me. Almost - but times like now...I need the support of my family and friends to get me over and through.