While a little stress now and then keeps me on my toes, my tolerance for stress and all things drama has a pretty low threshold these days. It’s not that I can’t handle stress, I can deal. It’s not like I don’t enjoy some drama like a rerun of The Sopranos occasionally, it’s more the drama that can unfold in daily living that I choose to live without.
There are many kinds of stress in this day and age. Stress that hits us when we least expect it, maybe we get our electricity bill and it’s more than we thought, it’s stressful, but what can one do except pay it? If it’s high enough, maybe one might be able to make arrangements to pay part now and part later, maybe ask about an extension, but ultimately, the bill is paid or not paid. We have electricity the next month or we don’t, pretty cut and dry.
Another kind of stress is the kind that may not even be your stress. Maybe you saw that your niece who is still in high school is engaged on Facebook and you start thinking “OMG, she’s too young, why is she engaged?” After the initial shock, maybe you think about all those five different times that your own 13 year old was engaged and then married to Harry Styles or Dylan O’Bryan, or Tyler Posey last year and you just laugh it off, BAM, stress avoided.
But, what happens when so and so hears through the grapevine about how such and such did this and that and oh, I just can’t believe it, can you believe, they had the nerve to say blah blah blah… and on…and on… and on…
Welcome to my drama free zone. Just as I once had an unhealthy relationship with hearthealthywholegrainsyeahright, I used to have a pretty dysfunctional relationship with stress. By proxy, my hot husband was probably stressed because I just couldn’t keep it to myself, I had to get it out, I had to explain why it made me so upset in order to understand, stop. some things are just silly.
One morning I turned on my phone only to be notified that I had 36 text messages waiting for me. I figured something must be terribly wrong for someone to send me 36 messages in my sleeping hours, so I opened it. The first message said “You’re not going to believe…” seriously, the dots are because I stopped reading then and there. I clicked on options, I clicked on delete thread. I don’t know if I can put into words how liberating that was, but it was the beginning of my “Drama Free Zone.”
Later in the day, as I sat on the porch reading, we had a visitor who musta been connected in some way, shape, or form to the texts because the first words out of his mouth were “You’re not going to believe…”. Those first five words let me know that I was glad I didn’t read the texts, but he wasn’t going to burst my bubble either. “You’re in my drama free zone, I do not care what he said or she said.” I said. “But you don’t understand, I didn’t..” he said. “I told you I don’t want to hear about it, this is my drama free zone.” I said. “But you don’t understand, they’re gonna tell you” he started as I cut him off with “I got 36 texts while sleeping, I’m sure they think they’ve already told me, but I deleted them. I am sorry that you are stressed, but some things are just not worth worrying over.”
Maybe I shouldn’t have typed that out loud, maybe you’re thinking that Shannon is some swell friend, right? The visitor was my son, maybe that makes me sound like a bad mom, but really I think I’d be a worse mom if I thought I could just take all their stress and magically erase it, bottle it up until it explodes, share it with my husband and other friends until everyone is cranky, not sleeping well, or worse, but thanks to been there and done that, it wasn’t really an option.
Little stresses like exercise and realizing that spider web on your arm is real can be a good thing. They get us moving, sometimes making us sweat, they are the little things that don’t kill us, but make us stronger.
Unavoidable stresses like illness or the neighbor’s dogs waking you up at 3:00 am aren’t so good, maybe we go to the doctor, change our habits, talk to the neighbor about maybe potty pads for really early morning potty problems.
Drama type stress like the he said she said, who’s doing what, so and so said such and such about me, all things related though, is the worst kind of stress, even if they are beloved family members. (for me anyways) It’s the stress that shouldn’t even be stress at all. Really, if you think about it, grown folk do what grown folk do, and if they did it, it is done, and really, most things just can’t be undone, so why even let it control our thoughts or our mood?
My drama free zone consists of me, my thoughts, sometimes a good book, usually outdoors, but indoors is ok too. My drama free zone can encompass only me or anyone really who needs a drama free zone. While I do not ever derive pleasure from hurting anyone’s feelings, entering my drama free zone has potential to do so, so I usually give a lengthy explanation after saying “I don’t want to hear it”, if it looks like feelings have been bruised. Three out of four times friends and family have gone away after a while with the goal of getting their own drama free zone, so it’s contagious. My hopes are that everyone might find themselves a drama free zone thus starving the drama and reducing stress worldwide (ok, that may be a bit of an overreach, but a girl can dream, right?)
Think about what is stressing you. Decide if it is something in your control, if it is, fix it, if not, think about things that are not stresses. If the stress comes from someone else’s dirty laundry, let them wash it, fold it, and put it up. Try meditating, it’s easy, take a deep breath, close your eyes, tell yourself “I’m not going to let it get to me”, think of some nice scenery and see yourself there through your mind’s eye. Read a book, sing a song, dance, laugh, work out if you just have to have a bit of stress that stops when you stop doing it, what ever you can do to keep from being swept into the sea of drama.
Since I test often, more often when stressed, I know from my own experience that stress has an impact on my diabetes. I don’t need to re-read articles about stress and diabetes, but maybe you would like to read some. One could even google stress and other things and see that maybe a drama free zone be benefiting if only for peace of mind.
It wasn’t easy that time, introducing my son to my drama free zone. I felt bad because as his mom, I was refusing to dive in. I didn’t feel bad long because he is grown and what ever he did or didn’t do wasn’t even on his mind after a bit in my drama free zone. He left with the idea in his head that what ever other people say or do is not a reflection of him, rather a reflection of how the other person sees things. (I wonder where he got that from?) It took me 40 plus years to learn that, so I’m hoping that short cut at 22 works out for him.