“Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you haven’t fallen asleep yet.”
“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.”
Um, I might be under just a teensie bit of the dreaded ‘S’ words these days. Just a smidge. Spring break can’t get here fast enough. They’re going to need to meet me at the plane with that umbrella drink in hand on Saturday, and then maybe…just maybe…no one will get hurt :). You wanna know how I can tell I’m stressed? When I tried on my vacation clothes (including–shudder–swimsuits) I didn’t bother to retch at my reflection. That’s not only stress. That’s intestinal fortitude.
I need a vacation.
Usually a killer deadline is responsible for this kind of stress but my book has been done for three weeks. This year, I will not still be typing on the plane and editing my first two days of vacation. Maybe that’s the problem. Usually I’m too busy writing to think about the approaching trip. That just makes the time pass more slowly.
A little bit of stress is supposed to be good for us. It keeps the mind sharp. But according to MedicineNet.Inc too much can do all sorts of damage. It can affect the brain and nerves, muscles and joints, heart, stomach, pancreas, intestines and reproductive system. That’s pretty much all there is! Too much stress puts us at higher risk for alcohol, nicotine and drug use. It causes us to make poor exercise and nutritional choices. Those without proper nutrition,inadequate sleep, in poor health or without strong social networks are at highest risk for having more stress in their lives.
Teens, working parents and seniors are especially vulnerable to stressors because of life transitions. Knowing the dangers of stress, it would seem a good idea to have a ready supply of ways to de-stress. Basically back in cave man days they had to rely on fight or flight when confronted with stress. Luckily we have more tools in our arsenal these days because neither of these two responses would be much help when confronted with an intellectually impaired boss who is in charge of our future :).
A few ways to manage stress are:
1) Laughter. Laughter releases endorphins, the ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain.
2) Exercise. Apparently it also releases an ‘ahhh’ type chemical, or in my case a particular type of virtuousness that can be duplicated only by attending Sunday mass.
3) Meditation (someone needs to teach me to do this so my mind doesn’t wander!)
4) Create predictability in your work and home life as much as possible. It’s nice to be reminded of the things we can control because the things that stress us out are usually those things OUT of our control. I’m a list maker myself. And when I get really stressed I prioritize the lists and label them for what’s to be done which day. Using different colors for each item isn’t necessary but I happen to find it calming :).
5) Bubble baths. Never under estimate the therapeutic effect of a hot bath. And if it happens to be a whirlpool tub with a drink holder nearby…heaven!
6) Vacations. My personal favorite. Just leaving it all behind for a few days can be incredibly healing. There’s nothing like beach and surf to forget about what’s bothering you.
What causes you the most stress in your life? Do you prefer stay-cations or vacations to relax? Any tips for relieving stress?