Stressed? Combat Stress with this Simple Tip!

Follow this simple tip to reduce overwhelming stress

stressed out

George Cruikshank – The Cholic

Today I’d like to share with you my #1 stress killer and method of combating being constantly overwhelmed. It’s no secret in today’s world stress is the norm and we’ve become overwhelmed 24/7. A quick Google search shows pages of hits from sources touting the effects of how stress and being overwhelmed impacts our health and leads to the development of diseases. Many say dementia, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, mental illness, and accelerated aging can all be caused by stress. Yet it’s difficult to take the time to acknowledge it and make positive changes in our lives to reduce stress.

Multitasking = More Pressure

multitasking is stressful
But I should probably be doing more, right?

When I got out of college and applied for jobs, the term “multitasking” was an essential skill to have on your resume. In fact, many of us probably tried to highlight this in a savvy way on our resumes in order to stand out from the competition.

“Excellent multitasking abilities, able to do 45 duties at the same time while making copies…”

 “Proficient in 900 software programs and can collate while answering phones and doing cartwheels…” 

OK, maybe not that creatively. If there was a unique way to say it we threw it on there. We all figured if employers thought we could do more than our competition could, we’d get the job.

Many people have published articles and books on how to be a good multitasker. To climb the corporate ladder, you needed to do more than the person in the cubicle next to you and you need to do it faster. Over time, as more women take on the role of managing the home and having a full-time job, this became even more crucial. How were we going to be able to do it all? We had to figure out how to multi-task like a mofo. So, in the ’90s and onward, we all tried to become a master of the multitasking superpower.

Strain leads to a state of constant overwhelming mayhem

fighting your stress demons

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Hurling a Demon King, January 1890

But where does multitasking really get us? I thought I was more productive, but it only led to feeling like I had no control of my life. Do you ever feel like the image above, fighting off demons while trying to do 20 things at once? Examples of demons are emotional labor for the whole household, work obligations, bad coping mechanisms, toxic friends and family. They’re even your dreams and aspirations stuck in the back of your mind that never get a chance to be heard. No one told me I had to live my life this way, but it seems like I have. It’s the norm in society.

For years, I woke up every morning, slapped my huge bag of expectations, worries and obligations on my back and started my day. Yet every night, I’d go to bed with it still full, feeling like a failure. That gnawing feeling that I didn’t accomplish everything on my list would envelop me. I became overwhelmed and stressed all the time, which escalated into full-blown anxiety. I became unhappy and my health started to decline. Until I figured a way out of it.

How to combat stress and get out of the overwhelmed rut

less stress more happy

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

It’s crazy simple. I do a brain dump every night.

Every night right before I go to bed I write down all the things I feel overwhelmed with. On the left side of the page, I record things I need to do, worry about, or what I’m stuck on for the next day. On the right side of the notebook I prioritize them by picking the 3 most important items on my list. The remaining items I prioritize by need and due date. I know that if I don’t get to them it’s OK.

Brain dump notes less overwhelmed

As you can see, it’s nothing fancy. It’s messy. The key here is it’s a quick way to combat stress. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about everything I need to do or need to take care of. Doing this task every night gives me a sense of control. Which in turn, allows my brain to take a damn break and actually go to sleep. My mind is less stressed knowing it’s prepared for the next day. There’s no fear that I’ll forget something important in my family life or not know which project I should dive into at work. I’ve already thought about it and planned it.

As a person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, this has been a vital tool my recovery from crippling anxiety and high stress levels.

It’s not rocket science, but it works

I’m not the first person who came up with this idea, and there are several variations of it out on the web. But if you’re looking for a quick way to combat stress, feel a bit better and less overwhelmed, grab a notebook, pen, and try it out. Give yourself permission to tackle only 3 items on that list the next day. And remember – multitasking your ass off – is NOT a good thing anymore.

Learn more about Virago Corvus here.

What Does Virago Corvus Mean?

Virago

“A virago is a woman who demonstrates exemplary and heroic qualities. The word comes from the Latin word virāgō meaning variously ‘a man-like, vigorous, heroic maiden, a female warrior, heroine.

Joan of Arc

The word virago has almost always had an association with cultural gender transgression. A virago, of whatever excellence, was still identified by her gender. There are recorded instances of viragos (such as Joan of Arc) fighting battles, wearing men’s clothing, or receiving the tonsure. The word virago could also be used disparagingly, to imply that a virago was not excellent or heroic but was instead violating cultural norms. Thus, virago joined pejoratives such as termagant,mannish, amazonian and shrew to demean women who acted aggressively or like men.” – Wikipedia

Corvus

Corvus is the Latin word for Crow, or Raven. In Norse mythology, Huginn and Muninn are a pair of ravens that fly all over the world, Midgard, and bring information to the god Odin. Huginn represents “thought” and Muninn represents “memory or mind”. For me, this Norse mythology represents our mind and our soul.

Odin with his ravens Huginn and Muninn

Birth of Virago Corvus

Why Virago

I chose Virago not just because it’s a label for a woman warrior, but for all of the various meanings it represents. These days virago isn’t a nice word. It means we are shrews, bitches, loud aggressive women who just don’t know when to shut up. Ever heard that? Well, I’m taking the word back to its original meaning of Woman Warrior. We won’t fade into old age and stop doing things we did in our 20’s and 30’s, like wearing makeup, getting our hair done, wearing a concert t-shirt, dancing naked, making self-care #1 in our lives, refusing to be mansplained to, or speaking up for ourselves (I could list a million things), just because we got our ovaries removed or are over 40.

Athena

We stand up. We fight. Holding our swords high, we pick up our fallen sisters on the battlefield and lift them up. We protect ourselves from misogyny, underrepresentation in the media, health issues, misconceptions, outdated beliefs with our shields and we rally. We rally for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for our Shieldmaiden sisters.

We are a community. Viking style.

History TV show featuring Viking Shieldmaiden Lagertha

Why Corvus

I chose Corvus as a reminder that we need to be deliberate in our midlife or post-surgical menopausal years. We are at an age where we are wiser, we have lived long enough to know our soul. We are cunning, resourceful, and spiritual. The word Corvus reminds us to pay attention to and nurture our spiritual and our physical bodies.

While I am not a doctor, or an official expert in anything, I hope to build a community that supports what these 2 words represent. I’ve lived this mindset for a few years now, but I’m not infallible. I have my bad days, and sometimes I forget my purpose. I started this blog to remind myself of this daily and my hope is it’s something that may help you too.

Welcome, Woman Warrior. You are a Shieldmaiden, a total bad ass, even if you aren’t feeling it right now. You are Virago Corvus.

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What’s Virago Corvus, anyway? It’s Empowerment!

A Midlife Blog for Women

Virago Corvus is a lifestyle choice that provides women with tools to increase empowerment in their lives. While this community is geared to women in midlife – namely, women over 40, I also talk other topics like depression, anxiety, and surgical menopause which can happen to a woman at any age. Many philosophies and lifestyle methodologies discussed here are ageless! Because let’s face it, even if you’re under 40, eventually you’ll get here. We Valkyries are here to pull you up and give you knowledge, lifestyle advice, and more, so you can be happy and successful.

It’s up to you to act and change your beliefs.

There is always a choice.

There’s no right or wrong way in how you envision yourself.

Our goal is to build a community for any woman who wants – no – needs to be seen, to be heard, and to be valued for the true warrior she is, at any age. We are tired of being invisible, of being told we aren’t acting our age, to be disvalued because we are over a certain number, to be underrepresented – we are done with that! We are warriors, Shieldmaidens, Valkyries, Queens of our realm and we will not be denied.

FEMINA. RESURGEMUS. LUCEAT.

Woman, rise up and shine.

What does Virago Corvus mean?

For more details see my About page.

We are a community. Viking style.

Welcome, Woman Warrior. You are a Shieldmaiden, a total bad ass, even if you aren’t feeling it right now. You are Virago Corvus.

Hello and Welcome!

Why is it that after we turn 40 we start believing new lies?

7 years ago, as if flipping a switch, when I turned 40, my day to day inner thoughts completely changed. They went from the usual “Ugh, I need to get going on goals A, B, & C”, or “I still got it, I rock!” to “I’m old now, what does it matter? I’m 40, therefore what’s the point?” and “Oh my God, I’m 40 – I’m middle aged. What have I even accomplished?!” It was as if I was in the movie “I Feel Pretty” starring Amy Schumer, only I didn’t hit my head and look in the mirror and see a supermodel staring back at me. I looked in the mirror and saw an old, ugly hag who was full of sadness and regret.

It’s silly, right?

That doesn’t sound like I had very good self esteem. And well, you would be right. I looked the same as I did the day before I was 39! What’s the big deal? Age is just a number! I would try to tell myself that over and over, but somehow over the years, growing up and listening to TV and print media’s messages about how a woman’s value was in her youthful looks and beauty, and hearing stereotypical ageist beliefs spoken in everyday conversations, etc, – overtime I’d bought into the fact that when you hit 40, you were like Old. Way old. Past. Your. Prime.

In my mind I imagined Agent Smith from the movie The Matrix knocking on my door. He would demand my Hot Topic rewards card and hand me one to Liz Claiborne. “You’re retired now, ma’am,” he would say staring me down. “You can’t shop at the following anymore…” and he would name off a bunch of places. “And please, don’t try to shop online. We’ll know.”

It didn’t help when my workplace threw me a birthday party complete with black “Over the Hill” party favors from Spencer’s Gifts. I mean, it was nice to be thought of, but I can still remember walking into my office and having those party favors scream out what I didn’t want anyone to know, let alone acknowledge to myself. I was 40 and instead of a birthday party we should be having a funeral for my vitality and beauty.

Ugh, why me?

But that wasn’t all…

Now, there’s a few other things that were going on in my life that didn’t help and probably exacerbated these terrible thoughts about my self-worth. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life due to a traumatic childhood. I developed some traits out of that anxiety that I had no idea I was displaying, like anxiety and perfectionism. Because let’s face it, if you’re perfect no one can criticize or find fault with you, right? When my son was born about 7 years before this, I had postpartum depression. Fast forward to my 40th birthday, and I was neck deep into PMDD (Premenstrual Disphoric Disorder). As you can see, I wasn’t in the best head-space to be turning 40 and thinking about the next half of my life.

My PMDD was so bad I went to see a doctor about looking into having a total hysterectomy. Through tests it was determined that I also had adenomyosis, which is a condition where your uterus lining grows into muscle. Eventually I decided to get the total radical hysterectomy and go into full blown surgical menopause. At 40. Yikes. Going through all of that, didn’t help.

So Why A Blog?

Let’s fast forward to now. Today I’m a kick ass, gorgeous, Shieldmaiden of a woman who is happy, healthy, and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about my age number. Well, most of the time. I have my bad days and doubts like anyone. This is a main reason I’m doing a blog. To remind myself of my healthy mindset. Today I hold my head up high and enjoy battling these outdated beliefs that we all have about aging. But I will say this, it wasn’t easy getting here. It’s taken me 7 years. That’s another reason I’ve started this blog, even though I admit I’m scared to be vulnerable and open myself up, or that I won’t help anyone, or that it’ll just be stupid! My hope is if anyone else out there feels like I did 7 years ago, maybe my experiences and self improvement methods I have applied in my daily life will help in some way.

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog about rocking midlife, surgical menopause, motherhood, depression, and anti-aging like a Virago Corvus. I hope you will come back and find topics you can relate to! To find out just what the heck a Virago Corvus is, click here. To learn more about this blog community, click here.

Valkyrie by Hans Makart, image from Wikimedia Commons