Stress by Temper

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Editor’s note: S.T.A.N.D. is excited to announce its newest contributing author, Temper! We here at S.T.A.N.D., especially the parents, look forward to Temper’s articles and insight! ~Rock

Well, hello there!

I’m so excited to join the ranks of these astounding, ‘super’ women… and can’t wait to get to know you a little bit more as well. So… let’s jump right in, shall we? My goal for contributing to S.T.A.N.D. is to shed a little light on how to balance work, play, family and ______ in a realistic, and likely (hopefully??) hilarious, way. With the holiday season now behind us, I think it’s the perfect time to tackle everyone’s favorite holiday side dish: STRESS.

Unless you suffered from a tragic arm-meets-chainsaw accident at some point in your life, you’ve got quite a few balls in the air, clamoring for your attention. Whether it’s work, your significant other, kids, family, friends, volunteering, exercising or running for congress, let’s face it – we’re busy, busy creatures! Oh, and all of that busy, go-go-GO activity? Even the most enjoyable item on your ever-growing To-Do list causes stress, for good or for evil. The trick? To minimize the bad stress (and have relaxation techniques that work for you when that inevitably fails), and find ways to take advantage of, and manage how much, good stress you allow in your life.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace, costing American industry more than $300 billion annually… not to mention the physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping! No wonder my mother was pulling her hair out after watching the five of us all day. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm is a great website for checking for signs of stress in yourself and those you care about.

Good stress, or Eustress, is that feeling of excitement determination that you get when you tackle a project or a problem. It’s that “CLEAN ALL THE THINGS” mentality, where no task seems insurmountable and no finish line too far away. Birds are chirping, choirs are singing… its paradise. A fun, but potentially soul-sucking paradise. Confused? Here’s a peak into my day-to-day life:

I get up between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m., get my two young sons ready for daycare, commute to work, where I work until 5:00 p.m. (or until 9:00 if I have a committee meeting), fit in self-defense and/or martial arts training or an organizational meeting/homeless outreach, and arrive home between 9:00 and 11:00 p.m., make dinner if I arrive home on time, love on my family if they’re still awake, and pass out by 11:30 or 1:00 a.m. Did I mention that I’m also taking online classes, running my brand new non-profit and trying to juggle all of my personal relationships?!
It’s a lot but, for me, it’s mostly Eustress. I thrive on being busy… and maybe you do, too, or know someone who does? While it may be fun to be keyed-up and ready to roll, prolonged exposure to high levels of adrenaline is not healthy (can we say “heart disease”?).

Now that I’ve terrified you into inaction (SORRY!), how do we combat the effects of stress? Well, you could eliminate all potential stressors… but that would likely require that you nap, continuously or live in a bubble. A few more manageable options are meditation, scheduling, improved communication, thinking exercises, breathing exercises and journaling. Do the research and find what works for you, then DO IT. You are only as strong as your ability to relax and recharge!

Until next time, I wish you only the best in all that you have taken on.

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