Chipmunk Espresso

Your Little Beast

Have you ever seen a chipmunk on a double espresso?

Surely you have, or perhaps you have been one. Many times when stress weasels its way into our life, or the lives of the people we love, we see a glimpse of this cute, but anxious and often misguided creature attempting to assemble peace and order to life.

Perhaps work has you tangled, or a relationship seems too toxic to bear, or maybe you feel directionless and wonder, “Is this where my life is suppose to be right now?”

No matter the cause of your stress, know that it can be managed. The first step is to determine the cause of your stress and find healthy ways of dealing with it.

What Causes Your “Over-Caffeination”?

There are many situations that can cause us to be wired. When we are the happiest and feeling most fulfilled, it’s because there is a balance between the values we hold dear in our hearts and living those values in our actions and deeds. Typically, when we become imbalanced and betray one of our values in heart or deed, is when the chipmunk seems to overindulge in the dark, hot beverage.

Determining the root of our stress is sometimes very clear, but many times not. This can be a result of the jittery chipmunk already in overdrive affecting our ability to think clearly. If things seem a blur, writing down your thoughts or just a few bullets points is a quick way to refocus. Take a break and write about the situation that got you steamed and your feelings surrounding it. For example:

Perhaps in the past, you have graciously listened to a friend complain about a work issue, but now feel emotionally depleted discussing it frequently. After jotting down some quick notes and feelings, you realize that you want to tell your friend that you are no longer able to dwell on her work situation. You would rather help her plan how to positively address her situation so that she can move forward.

The Big Impact of the Tiny Cup

Becoming self-aware is so important in managing stress levels. What signals is your body giving when your stress levels are on the rise and your chipmunk has tipped back too much of the tiny cup of espresso? Does your heart begin to race? Do you feel nervous or shaky? Are your sleep patterns disrupted? Are headaches becoming more frequent? We handle our stress in a variety of ways, but sometimes the ways we choose to handle it aren’t always the healthiest.

Tame Your Inner Chipmunk

Now that you know how to examine your feelings and take care of your “over-caffeination,” it’s time to address how to infuse more calm and daily self-care into your life.

If you live a life that includes daily self-care, your stress and anxiety levels are not as high. Your stress isn’t gone; rather, you are better equipped to handle stress. This is not by accident, because when you implement self-care into your life you consciously remind yourself that YOU are important.

Start developing your daily self-care plan by thinking about the favorite little treats in your life ¾ the simple things that make life enjoyable on a daily basis. Most of these pleasures should be things that you do alone and for yourself, although, a few can be reliant on interaction with other people, i.e., lunch with a friend.

To give you an idea, and spur your imagination, here are a few favorites:

  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Take a long walk
  • Watch a funny movie
  • Read a chapter from your favorite book
  • Write or start a gratitude journal

Take some time to reflect on what brings you joy and develop an initial list of 15 – 20 simple pleasures. Don’t feel pressured to come up with them all at one sitting. Feel free to add to your list as the days, months and years go by. Maybe develop a self-care list according to the seasons. Before you know it, you will have a generous list to choose from, making it impossible to not come up with something of interest each day.

So the next time you feel like you are ready to boil, start thinking about how to tame your little beast. If you haven’t caught on already, having a sense of humor can diffuse almost anything.

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