What is snowflake stress?
How one stress may seem small and like it is easy to handle, like one snowflake, but if it snows for days and feet of single snowflakes add up, will the branches in a tree bend or break under the pressure? One small stress maybe easy to deal with, but add up many small stresses and their pressure if not acknowledged or dealt with can bend or break a person. The same can be said for trauma. One small trauma can be dealt with and handled, however many small traumas over years can build up until it is something that overtakes you with anxiety, depression, or PTSD. We can talk about the build up of small Traumas in the same way as snowflake stress.
Who can be affected by snowflake stress? Everyone! We have all had those days that seem to start out with some small incident. Burning the coffee, sleeping through the alarm, stepping on a Lego and the day just seems to get worse from there. That first initial “thing” or stressor we pushed aside to get going with our day. Then the next happened and we were a little more agitated then we would have been another day so the next small thing, no parking at work for example, sends us even further over the edge. Do you see the pattern here? Each stressful event in our life that we did not acknowledge and make space for has amped up our stress and made us less capable to deal with the next “snowflake” stress. Over time, a day, a week, a lifetime of ignoring these snowflakes, how is your mind and body bending or breaking with the pressure of that next small stress?
What causes these stresses to build on each other? Not acknowledging them. Letting them build and build till that next snowflake, like spilling coffee on your shirt sends you into a crying, angry, human. This reaction if you are highly stressed is so normal. You are normal! Life sometimes becomes so busy, and demanding that we do not take the time we need too for ourselves. Some think that we cannot let go or remove stress from our life unless we go on vacation or take a break from our day-to-day life. But this thinking is exactly what allows the stress to build on itself. If we took just one minute to acknowledge, feel, welcome the stress as a part of our life. Not let it build on itself, and then we would not see vacations as a need to escape the stress of our life. They can just be for the pure joy of vacation!
What happens if you don’t cope with your stress? Does your health, relationships, life suffer? For me when I don’t cope with my small “snowflake” stress, and I just ignore it and they start pilling up, makes me so overwhelmed I can’t function. I will curl up on the couch, not even knowing where or how to begin living again. Even deciding what to eat, or reading a little of a required book is too much. Its like I stare at everything all at once, and it is all demanding my attention right now, and that if each thing does not go exactly perfect the whole world will come crashing down on me. My “snowflakes” add up and weigh me down, till I am too broken to move.
How do I cope with my “snowflake” stress, what do I try to do on a daily basis to clear out these snowflake stresses? Meditation, breath work, journaling are my three main ways that I deal with the overwhelming “snowflake” stress. I try to start out my morning on my meditation cushion. I set my timer for five, ten, fifteen minutes, whatever I feel I have time for. I repeat my mantra for that time, using my mala (yoga meditation beads) to keep my mind and body concentrating on my mantra. I use deep slow belly breaths in and out my nose with the exhale lasting longer than the inhale. I journal most nights, before sleep, to get all the thoughts and to do’s out of my brain that are overwhelming me and preventing my mind from resting. During the day if a stressor happens and I notice myself start to get overwhelmed, I repeat my mantra, I use my breath, I acknowledge that this stressful event is happening. When I meet, greet, and welcome this stressful event, I can use my tools to let this stress go so it does not serve as a stepping stool for the next snowflake.
Want to learn more about how the tools I use for these “snowflake” stresses can help you? Please contact me, my life’s passion is helping people who have suffered from trauma, Veterans especially are close to my heart, I want to help my fellow veterans deal with their life the most holistic and natural way they can.