Stress (aka: Stresssss)

Oops…I just caught myself massaging the back of my neck. Again. And chewing on my pinky fingers. Again. Which may not seem like a big deal to lots of you, but to me, it means one thing.

STRESS.

Stress Sources

Wait, what stress? I thought I was just coasting along, my usual relaxed self. (Okay, correction: Relaxed for a Type-A personality. Relaxed for an INTJ). But we all have our own little signals that tell us when our bodies are experiencing a lot of stress. Some people overeat when stressed. Others smoke, or drink too much, have bouts of insomnia, or a myriad of other physical or psychological symptoms that spring up when our plates are just too full.

So what should we do when we recognize these symptoms? According to the American Psychological Association , we should identify the sources of our stress. Hmm, let’s see…

My oldest teen has caught a nasty case of Senioritis — that annoying and highly contagious bug that high school seniors often catch this time of year, when they feel so invincible that they slack off in school, convinced that they won’t fail. So I get to take off the sweet, cookie-baking mommy hat and put on the steel-edged hat of The Enforcer.

Stress.

My ex-husband has decided to initiate court proceedings to have my child support officially decreased, thanks to my shiny new full-time job. Despite the new job, however, it has been a challenge to keep the budget balanced while raising three teen/tweens as a full-time single parent and saving for college expenses. So a potentially big income cut would be a serious blow. I’ve just begun hunting for a second part-time job – something to help make ends meet once our household income drops. Bye-bye free time.

Stress

The older teen just headed off on an expensive school trip with his band — the only trip I’ve been able to send him on for all of high school. Senior prom tickets are really expensive, too. So is his recent dental work. Also, my teen daughter, the former gymnast, has fallen in love with dance. “Hey mom, can I take a second dance class at the studio?” And the twelve-year-old keeps outgrowing his clothes. And did I mention how much it costs to feed three kids this age nutritious, homemade meals filled with fresh vegetables? Oh boy. Kids are expensive.

Stress.

I just finished a bout of medical testing  (an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, and even a special endoscopy where I got to swallow this cool miniature camera). The doctor found nothing, except for signs of gastritis. Gastritis which sprung up around a year ago, and was likely triggered by — you guessed it —

Stress.

Effect of Stress on the Body

It is astonishing what stress can do to our bodies, even when we think we’re handling it well. Kind of stresses me out to think about it. Luckily, there are things we can do to help us manage the way we deal wih stress. Here are some great suggestions from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Regular physical activity
  • Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi or getting a massage
  • Keeping a sense of humor
  • Socializing with family and friends
  • Setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music

I’m pretty good with most of these, especially the sense of humor part. Very important stuff. But I still kinda suck at the socializing part. But know what? Today at work, I got to spend lots of time socializing with coworkers (in between moments of working hard, of course). And know what? It’s like a magic pill for this stress thing. Despite the enormous pressures I’m feeling, I’ve barely reached up to massage my neck or chew my fingers all afternoon.

Uh-oh — trying to come up with a nice, neat way to end this post is only adding to my stress. So I’ll just tip-toe out of here and hope none of you notice. Time to go and…

DE-STRESS

 

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8 responses to “Stress (aka: Stresssss)

  1. Having survived the discovery that my ex-husband had not only cheated on me (the least of the problems) but had the woman impersonate me so that he could transfer money out of my retirement account, he’d also wiped out my savings and wiped out the kids’ college funds, leaving me with a high school senior and an 8th grader to support on my own with no alimony…

    I can PROMISE you that you can come out of this OK. Lean on your friends and family and remind yourself every day of everything that is positive — such as your talent — and NOT stressful in your life.

    Someday you’ll look back at this chapter and marvel at your strength, resilience, and perseverance!

    • Oh my goodness, that is horrifying! :O When I hear stories like this from other divorced women, I feel so grateful, like maybe my own circumstances aren’t so unmanageable after all. And yes, though I’m rather lacking in the support network of people to lean on, I do take comfort in focusing on the positive things in life. Thank you so much for commenting. 🙂

    • Ahh, these encouraging words are like a salve. 🙂 It is astonishing how much strength we can gather from the good people in the world, and how such encouragement and kindness works to shield us against the negativity and cruelty.

      • Dear lovely girl, I wish you did not have to go through hard times but hold onto the goodness within you and you shall come out the other side, of this I have no doubt because I do believe in your strength and endurance and goodness. It is very hard when things are this way, but people care about you and are praying for you including me in my own way always that you be safe and find joy again

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