“I’m So Stressed Out!”
We’ve all heard that before. In fact, we’ve all said that before. There comes a time when life seems to start piling up and we become overwhelmed with all that we have to do. It’s our friends and family who require so much attention, or work that seems to never get quiet, or our own personal demons that constantly push us to try to achieve more than we can. And adding on top of that is our quest to fit our passions in our lives.
Stress is a very real feeling, and I can’t say that it’s completely wrong. We can believe all we want that stress is just a poor coping mechanism, but good luck finding someone who doesn’t feel stressed from time to time.
How do you handle stress? Is it something that ruins your life until you crawl up into a ball dropping all responsibilities? I know people who feel that way, and honestly it’s not the best response. After a while, they have to pick the pieces up again and now they are worse off than before and feeling guilty at the same time.
I would suggest another route. It starts before the stress hits.
Say “no”. The vast majority of our stress due to outside sources comes from us agreeing to do more things that we can handle. By refusing to only go along with other people’s plans, and instead prioritize ourselves, we can take back control. That doesn’t mean being completely selfish and only thinking about ourselves, but instead realizing that we have to help ourselves before we can help others.
The other is to be realistic with ourselves about what we can reasonably expect from within. Are we training for marathons and writing novels, while working up the fast-track to management in our careers? That’s a very quick way to get stressed out.
Even still, there will be times when life seems to really have it out for us. What then?
Take a deep breath. Look around. Put things into perspective.
I need to call that person back. Will it really be that bad if they don’t hear from you until later in the day?
I need to ace that presentation. Will there be other opportunities to show your expertise?
I need to take care of the mountain of chores at home. Will the laundry still be there tomorrow?
I need to… Is it really that serious?
So many times we pull our hair out about things that, in the grand scheme of things, are not that important.
If it is important, do it. If not…put it on hold.
Sometimes we need to push ourselves. Sometimes we need to work our passions and be willing to sacrifice. The rest of the time…we need to take it easy and do the best we can.
Where does stress fit in your life?