How to reduce stress without reducing the stressors?

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FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 10/10/2008 6:09 PM (GMT -7)   
I know - I am looking for a miracle here.  But I need some help.  I got myself in a little over my head this semester but it is too late to do anything about it.  I have a lot of very important commitments that I am trying to keep.  I am part of a legal aid clinic through my school so I have lots of responsibilities there to my clients such as motion writing and court appearances.  My supervisor is great though and knows that I have a lot of classes too and is keeping my case load low.
 
Then I have classes and a midterm this Thursday.
 
Then I work 15 or so hours per week and I have some big responsibilities there.
 
I also have job applications and interviews and recently learned I didn't get one of the jobs I interviewed for.  But the worst is things beyond my control like my career services forgetting to tell me I was selected for an interview, just scheduling one for me, and not telling me, and then me getting an email saying "hey why didn't you show up!"  So luckily I worked it out with the firm but now I have to travel there to have my interview - which may be an advantage but still more stress.
 
My house is on the market so we can move closer to work yet things keep breaking that need fixing... on my car too.  I broke a heel off my shoe the other day.  Its been one of those weeks where if it could go wrong it has.  It has almost been comical.
 
So, my TMJ is acting up bad and I think it is stress related and now as of yesterday and today my gut is all upset.  Low appetite, urgency, multiple bm's, some diarrhea, burning... the usual.  I know it is my stress.
 
There is truly nothing I can cut out at this point to make my life less stressful.  I don't want to take a medication because this is a natural response to stress.  But, what are some ways I can work on helping my body to deal with it better.  I don't exercise (lack of time and sunlight) but do try to take my dog for walks...that I should do more regularly.  Maybe periodic, eyes closed breathing exercises while listening to meditation music throughout the day.  I dont' have time to write in my journal but I coudl try to find a few minutes... but thinking about the stressful stuff to write it stirs it back up.  I am a procrastinator so I think that is making things worse.
 
Anyway, when you can't stop the stress what do you do to deal and to help it?
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


LMills
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 10/10/2008 6:28 PM (GMT -7)   
First off and as a college student working to get to grad school, I have to say I really admire you for getting to this point in your life and sticking with it!! It sounds like you have everything under control but are just running into a few bumps. That seems to be the nature of....life in general? My fiance and I were going through the same thing with different companies trying to bill us with things we never used then threatening to take away electricity and water OR some days his car(which was only two years old) would decide not to start--on exam days or important labs it especially seemed to like, or something like oh, I don't know, me getting pregnant would happen.

I guess there really isn't too much that can be done, as you've stated already, except to accept what is happening and deal with it accordingly. I usually will feel better after realizing that all of the things that are causing so much stress right now are fleeting and that the important thing is to concentrate on the things that are going right. I can list so many horrible things that have happened in the past few months especially, but an equal, if not more, amount of great things that happened as well or as a consequence.

I know you say you can't but maybe just try and set aside 20 minutes a day for yourself? Drink chamomile tea or listen to something relaxing...I just feel bad because it sounds almost like you are being overworked, and you definitely deserve a break or two...hang in there!! What you are doing is amazing and like I said before I really admire you for it!
20 years old, Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's and Colitis in May of 2008.
Currently taking:
Prednisone(down to 10 mg), pentasa, bentyl as needed, prilosec, tandem plus, humira, and good probiotics
Surgery for ectopic pregnancy most likely the result of severe Crohn's inflammation in July of 2008.
http://weblog.xanga.com/harlequin_garret


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 10/10/2008 6:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks L -

I find coming to this website is one of my daily pleasures!! And I have been drinking a lot of tea (decaf) lately and it really helps. I have not been getting enough sleep and was having some caffeinated tea. I think I need to spend less time playing online, more doing work, and getting to bed earlier because I think the lack of sleep is just as bad if not worse than the stress. I posted last year that I started committing to 7 or more hours of sleep per night (as opposed to my usual 5) and I started feeling so much better and less hazey. Time to impose a bed time.


27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


LMills
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 10/10/2008 6:48 PM (GMT -7)   
Maybe I should follow your example then because I can't count how many times I have stayed up doing homework into the wee hours of the night hah...it's so hard to get it done during the day though...and I can definitely understand about staying online too much. It's amazing how quickly time passes by when you are on here. Speaking of which, I will stop here and go finish my biology..blah.
20 years old, Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's and Colitis in May of 2008.
Currently taking:
Prednisone(down to 10 mg), pentasa, bentyl as needed, prilosec, tandem plus, humira, and good probiotics
Surgery for ectopic pregnancy most likely the result of severe Crohn's inflammation in July of 2008.
http://weblog.xanga.com/harlequin_garret


beartooth
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 517
   Posted 10/10/2008 7:01 PM (GMT -7)   
I sympathize with you Fitzy. Life just keeps compounding stuff, until you suddenly have this huge pile of stuff that you have no idea how to dea lwith it. As the saying goes "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.". I know from reading past posts that you are a Type A personality, so it is in your nature to be stressed and to push yourself. I bet if you took it easy, you'd be stressed that you weren't relaxing enough.

Try to break things down into specific tasks and goals, and prioritize. If writing motions for the legal aid dept is more important than class work, by all means get some motions written. But between writings, take your dog for a walk and allow yourself to decompress. Even a 10 minute walk is better than none. If your supervisor is so great, maybe he'll understand that you need to cut back even more (unless it is part of an internship type thing that you need for college credits). You can do no one any good if you are so stressed that you can't complete projects. Get your motions written, then move on to homework (maybe with another walk in between). Study for your exam, but take another walk. Spending time out and about will get your mid off of things, if you let it.

I know you are in your last year of law school, and excuse me for my naivete, but does that mean that you have to apply for jobs while still in school? Would it be possible to let the job search take a back seat while you get yourself through the academic year? Or perhaps just put off applying for things until next semester?

Meditation might work, but if your mind is too noisy, you might not be able to relax. Try the relaxation thing, and when you begin to get anxious, maybe journal about why you are feeling anxious AT THAT MOMENT. Then try writing a few things that you are thankful/grateful/happy for. Positive things. I could also recommend a type of cognitive therapy that would help you (it generally works well with intellectual individuals) learn to cope with anxiety, but I think that at this point, it might just be a little much for you. If you are interested, it is called either REBT, or CBT.

I am not a Type A person, and I tend to let things kind of float by. I pick and choose what the most important things are, what I have the most control over, and I tend to focus on those things. I am dedicated to my profession, and there are licensing exams we have to take in order to gain more responsibility. For the past three months, I've been working full-time, dealing with my first ever flare, and studying for the highest level license test. My health is the most important thing to me, because without it, then everthing else is meaningless. So I spend the needed time to make my doc appts, cook healthy meals. Doing well at my job hinges on my health, so as long as I'm treating myself right, I am still able to excel at work. Yes there are days when I'm just dragging ass, but my co-workers know about my UC, and they accept I'll have a down day ever yweek or so. Studying for the exam was important, and probably the most stressful part for me, because they give you a very broad outline of stuff to study, which includes about 5 textbooks, 2 state environmental compliance manuals, as well as national regulations. When I took my test today, there were 200 questions, and it took me over 6 hours to complete it. I became painfully aware of my defiencies in studying pretty quickly, but I also realized there were parts that I knew better than the back of my hand. Instead of focusing on the stuff I didn't know, I gave myself credit for doing well (I hope!) on the parts I did know. I won't get results back for a month, but I'm not going to stress about my score, because at this point, I either passed or I didn't. If I didn't, I retake it in the spring (GOD forbid!), but I have a better idea of what will be on the test.

Okay, I just realized that I wrote a rambling novel for a response. Hopefully some of it made sense and had something useful that you can put into practice. For your own sanity's sake, take your dog for more walks! That in itself will relax you, and if you start feeling guilty for taking time away from your projects, remember that without taking time for yourself, you won't be able to do the projects anyway.
Brandon
 
36 y.o. male
Diagnosed w/ moderate UC in May '06
Asacol, Florastor, VSL#3, Wellbutrin XL, Prozac, multi-vitamin, Allegra, Lialda, Colocort enema, Prednisone (trying to taper down)


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 10/10/2008 7:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Brandon. The legal aid clinic is actually the same as 2 classes for me, worth 6 credits, and that is why I can't get out of it. Outside of clinic I only have 9 credits and that is not enough to be full time. I need to stay full time to keep my loans. And it is too late to withdraw from credits. Unfortunatly in the legal world the job search process is insane. It is kind of like baseball with firms recruiting from the school and doing on campus interviewing. That is all going on right now. So if I don't participate I miss out on a lot of opportunities. I had to apply by the end of this past summer if I wanted a clerkship next summer (but I wasn't chosen anyway).

I appreciate your response and I hope you did well on your exam!
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 10/10/2008 7:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Fitzy,

*sigh* Tough spot you are in. *sigh*

First of all . . . make sure you are taking your lunch breaks and periodic breaks. It sounds counterproductive, but you will be much more efficient at your work. Also, for some reason, the attorneys will take you more seriously when you give yourself the respect you deserve. I worked in a law office for about 15 years (secretarial). When my desk piled up with too much work, I started staying late, coming in early and even popping in on Saturdays. To my distress, the attorneys, whose secretaries were not there, would see me there and hand me MORE stuff they needed NOW. So I stopped that in a hurry. I stopped skipping lunch too. When things would pile up, I'd just rearrange the stacks in order of priority. When stray attorneys would ask if I could take their work, I'd tell them, "yes, if you don't need it back until next week."

One other technique I used was to work hard NOT to internalize the predicament of the client. I realized that if I got emotionally involved in the case, it would zap me faster than anything. So, when these desperate people would call or stop in, I'd engage them as if very interested, but I was visualizing my "emotional umbrella" where all emotional stuff would just fall on the umbrella and I was protected.

I fit in some movement by taking my breaks when I felt stressed and walking up the stairway to the highest floor. I came back down via elevator and went back up. The uphill climb is harder, but less stress on the knees than going down. When I sat back down at my desk I felt renewed and that really only takes a few minutes.

YOU ONE BUSY CHICK!!! I admire you for the discipline it takes to accomplish so much!! Best wishes!

Blessings!

In His Grip

AlwaysRosie           "We can't control the waves, but we can learn how to surf!!"

Psalms 139

Co-Moderator - Lupus Forum

UCTD, Inflammatory Arthritis, Diverticulosis, (recent dx - Sjogrens, Crohn’s 4/08)

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pb4
Elite Member


Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20576
   Posted 10/10/2008 9:34 PM (GMT -7)   
It's all perspective, mind over matter, you train yourself not to let things get to you, things will pile up and cause stress, you take care of the more important things first and let the rest follow, what ever does not get accomplished, let it go, we are only human...I find taking omegas 3-6-9 have helped me along with regular exercise (which I know you don't have time for). Maybe make some changes, let go of some responsibilities life is too short.

:)
My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)


Keeper
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 10/10/2008 10:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Just saw an ad today about using Holy Basil extract for stress. It sounds good, but it was an ad, after all. I meditate, but it has taken some years and a couple of hours every day, so that does not sound like your solution. I don't know if there is anything that your PCP might suggest? Meds usually have undesirable effects when used for that kind of problem. Accupuncture? Massage? Just throwing out some ideas. Best of luck in keeping up the dance!

Artzichic882
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 29
   Posted 10/11/2008 6:55 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree with everyone about trying to schedule mini-breaks throughout the day, even if it is just you sitting in your car to just listen to one song. Also, I recently was under a lot of stress and gave up exercising and realized that my workouts were actually more of a help for stress even though it was another thing to schedule in during the day. At one point I even started taking yoga classes to force myself to slow down once in awhile.
Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at ileum 2.5 years ago.
Currently on: Prednisone & Pentasa


broomhilda
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1488
   Posted 10/11/2008 7:13 PM (GMT -7)   
redface  Take the one thing you absolutely are dreading to do today and get it done first!  From one procrastinator to the next...this IMMEDIATELY reduces your stress level because your head is playing with you all day going....two hours left to deadline, one hour left to deadline...and so on and on and on...
 
When things are out of your control and you are in a reactive position...take a deep cleansing breath and take whatever action to correct what went wrong and reassure yourself that you've done the best you can at the moment with the problem.  LET IT GO and move on to the next issue.
 
When all else fails beat the living crap out of a pillow and make sure to include lots of profane language.  Recommended to do this alone so family won't have you committed! 

brit tuck
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 143
   Posted 10/12/2008 2:03 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Fitzy! I haven't written you a message in a while, but I just wanted to write you a quick one.. especially about all this law school stuff. OCI and everything related to jobs and school can get hectic. I'm still working on finding the time to actually write out my cover letters and put together another version of the resume, etc. and get it off to law firms, so I understand the pressure. And I know you get it to. I guess I've started recently to try and take a step back. It's helped that my law school gives us a week off for break in October (it's just finishing up now). But it's given me an opportunity to realize that I need to organize and order the things in what needs to be accomplished first.. and take it at that. So I totally agree with the taking mini breaks thing that everyone else is saying. And I know you probably don't get the week off like I did, but it's nice to realize that this semester too will end. And because you're a 3L I'm pretty sure you're already much better at knowing when and how much you need to prepare for certain things. So I'd say do it in that order if you can, and just try to not let the little slip ups and the things you can't get finished haunt you. You're doing amazing! Hope the rest of your third year goes well. :)

FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 10/12/2008 11:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Glad to see you brit tuck - I listed you on the missing thread lol! And broom - you are right, I already feel better tackling part of something I had been putting off!!!
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


ivy6
Elite Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 8/8/2009 4:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Found this while doing a netsearch, and am bumping for LMills, because she has been suffering from stress.
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.

Medications for Crohn's ~~ Diet and Nutritional Therapy for Crohn's ~~ Dealing with Abscesses and Fistulae ~~


Keeper
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 8/8/2009 10:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Probably the simplest most portable and useful way to help stress is breath watching. It can be done for 5 minutes to half an hour, depending on your available time and experience with the practice. Rather than re-invent the wheel, here is a good general description of the technique: phoenixtools.org

The virtue of this is that it allows you to rest your mind which is the source of stress. Quieting the mind has many virtues, not least of which is the recognition that we are more than just thoughts.

Post Edited (Keeper) : 8/8/2009 11:28:32 PM (GMT-6)


ivy6
Elite Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 8/8/2009 10:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Keeper, I tried to access that link, and it doesn't work on my computer. Is it still current?
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.

Medications for Crohn's ~~ Diet and Nutritional Therapy for Crohn's ~~ Dealing with Abscesses and Fistulae ~~


Keeper
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 8/8/2009 10:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Ivy - for some reason blanks in a web page address pasted in as %20. I removed them and it seems to work now.

rack
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 8/9/2009 5:18 AM (GMT -7)   
I deal with the stress by saying No when i need to i set aside a relaxing bath time every day and have a soak while listening to mellow music.... anyone too horrible in life i stay clear off...and when theres things that go wrong instead of getting myself upset or stressed i just look at it logically and think everything happens for a reason....even if i cant see what the reason is at the time i believe it....:)

gumby44
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 4100
   Posted 8/9/2009 8:53 AM (GMT -7)   
I try to set my priorities once or twice a day for 5-10 minutes. Then I try to take kind of a "zen" approach...I try to block out distractions and worries and only concentrate on the immediate thing I'm working on. Of course, we all have to multi-task sometimes, but even then, I try to not think about what is coming up and stay in the moment. I also try to take mini, Mind-breaks...like when I blow dry my hair in the morning, I concentrate on the feel of the warm air and block out my other worries...I think of it as taking a break from my anxiety. Yoga breathing and quick stretches often break up the anxiety. I hope this helps..good luck
50 yr. old female, diagnosed with Crohn's in small intestine and terminal ileum Sept-Oct. 2007. Also have IBS, and had Salmonella Dec. '07
currently taking Pentasa- 4 500mg pills per day, Metamucil and colace for constipation, probiotics


pb4
Elite Member


Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20576
   Posted 8/9/2009 10:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Regular daily exercise (in about any form) is a great stress reducer, even just 20-30 minutes/day (even just 4 days/wk) but much of dealing with stress also has to do with how YOU look at it, don't put stress on yourself mentally, think positively rather than how you feel so stressed about things because then it becomes overwhenlming/stressful...it's all attitude if you panic/stress you will feel panic and stressed, instead look at stressful things in a different light, like one day none of these things I'm worrying about right now will even matter so don't let it get the better of you. Or "if this doesn't go my way then I'll just have to figure out a plan B and if that's not possible then maybe this wasn't meant to be".

It's all perspective and getting enough sleep, good nutrition, regular exerise can all combat how you deal with stress as well.


:)
My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

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