Monday, August 15, 2011

Stress

Everyone has stress, no doubt. One person’s is a little different than the next, but we all have it at times. And we all deal with it differently. I have a young friend who shuts down when things get on top of her. She just doesn’t deal with any of it. A boss I had years ago said she methodically dealt with it. She’d pick up something off her desk or open an email and wouldn’t move on until she’d successfully dealt with that one thing. Then she’d go on to the next until she was done. In her mind it was a waste of time to keep opening the same thing numerous times. Just deal was her approach when things were too much. My mother gets snippy and angry. Snaps at anyone about anything and if you try to help her, you’re the one who gets snapped at the loudest. I admit, I learned a bit of that technique growing up, but I’ve tried hard to break it.

When I have a bad time like this summer when it seems that one thing after another goes wrong, I feel out of control. Being somewhat of a control freak, that does not work for me. Often I can’t control the things that are really stressing me out, but I can control a few others. When my grandmother died years ago, I cleaned my house, my car, my mom’s house and her car. And I don’t mean surface cleaned, I mean, deep down get the cobwebs out of the corners clean. Later in years when my boys were teens, my house was always full of kids and chaos. Whatever I organized, just as quickly got disorganized. When I got stressed, I had the cleanest, best organized underwear drawer in the country. It was the only thing in the house that nobody but me touched. But hey, I was totally in control and it helped.

After putting in some extremely long hours at work this week, I was exhausted when I got off Friday night. But did I relax and maybe turn in early? No! I started cleaning. I vacuumed the bugs and spider webs out of the windows, washed the inside of all the windows and shutters, cleaned out a closet, cleaned and polished the kitchen counters, cleaned baseboards, even scrubbed the shower down.

I’m exhausted and my back hurts, but feeling a little less stressed. Since I fully realize that stress is just something we all have to deal with, I’d love some suggestions that maybe are a little less strenuous. Any thoughts?

20 comments:

linda s said...

I only make lists when I'm stressed. I make two pages - Must Be Done Today and Can Wait Until Tomorrow. When I finish the Must be done list, everything's under control... I can book off to have a bubble bath or read for a couple of hours. If I can't finish my Must be Done today List - I delegate things I don't have to do personally - dh, dd, dsil, ds...
And still have time to book off for a couple of hours.

Pamela Stone said...

Hi Linda. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and post. Delegation? Now there's an idea. But I did stop and enjoy the gorgeous moon coming up through my clean windows last night. Ha! I'm also practicing positive thinking. This week will be better. This week will be fine. This will not get to me. Jury is still out on how well that will work, but I've got my fingers crossed.

VICKI BATMAN said...

Stress is part of our life and yep, we have to deal. Instead of throwing up the hands, dig in. In most cases what we've gone through is worth it in the end. Like a clean house ! :)

Vicki

Pamela Stone said...

Hi Vicki. Don't they say, "What doesn't kill you will make you stronger?" If that be the case, I'm going to be Hercules by the end of summer. ;-)

Sally Felt said...

Pam, it's probably the desire for control that's killing you. You wouldn't know it to meet me now, but I lived for many years as a stress puppet, scrambling to feel in control.

Coping mechanisms have their place, but inner peace is easier on the back! You've heard that even just a few deep breaths can help, right? Well, here's another layer--something you can try anywhere, like at a red light: When you breathe in, think "Accepting." When you breathe out, think, "Releasing." Repeat as desired.

It sounds like you've chosen cleaning as a form of meditation, which is groovy because it has the bonus benefits of giving you a clean house. You can bring a peace-boosting layer to that, too. When you clean the windows, think, "I clear away confusion and reveal greater clarity," and when you vacuum or toss out clutter, try, "I release old habits and beliefs that no longer serve me." That sort of thing, y'know? It'll help you stay present with what you're doing so it feels more like you're choosing to clean rather than like you're cleaning in order to escape stuff that doesn't feel good.

Good luck, and be gentle with yourself!

Pamela Stone said...

Hi Sally, thanks for the suggestions. When I worked in the office, I'd get up and walk around. Just stretch my legs and let my mind calm down. I work from home now and for some reason seldom do that. I don't consciously think the thoughts you've mentioned, but what I do is escape into my own thoughts. On a good day, possibly plot a scene for my current WIP. On a bad day, try to devise a workable budget that involves a simples life and a beach house and doesn't rely on a corporate America salary.

Phyllis said...

Hi Pam,

You sound like someone I should hire to care for my house...lol.

I used to hold it in and I did so to the extent it hospitalized me. Since, then, I was told to let it out. So, I am more vocal, If I don't like it, I let you know. I think I'm more like your mom.
Unfortnately, this creates stress for someone else. I'm still working out the bugs to my stress relieving techniques.

Phyllis

Pamela Stone said...

Hey, Phyllis. Yes, I too tend to hold things in, but I have been practicing letting go. As my husband says, "It can be scarry." Eventuallly I'll find my happy medium, or uhm HIS happy medium. At least I hope I do.

So if you ever invite me over, I'll beware. You just plan to stress me out and let me clean. Thanks for the warning. Ha.

Thanks for stopping by.

Juliet Burns said...

I think Im at the stage in my life where I'm burying my head in the sand> Deadline? What deadline? If I finish, I finish, if not, eh. What's the worst that happen? So, I never sell again and go work at walmart. Hmm, maybe I better get to writing!

Linda Steinberg said...

My father, who would have been 99 Saturday, always told me, "This too shall pass." He did live to 98 in pretty good health until the end, and I'm convinced it was because he didn't let stress get to him. Not that he had nothing to stress about. But getting worked up over things you can't control doesn't help anything, it just makes things worse. Control what you can, let the rest go.

On the other hand, the same phrase works when you're having a good day/week/year. It helps you appreciate the good times.

Pamela Stone said...

Okay, Juliet. Burying my head in the sand adds stress not relieves it. I have to figure out my best plan of action or I freak out completly. Hmm, back to that control freak thing again aren't I? Yes, when on deadline, writing is typically what one should do. Get to it. Thanks for taking time out of your writing schedule to stop by though.

Pamela Stone said...

Yes, Linda. I think your dad had the right idea all around. I just wish it was as easy as it sounds. My daddy had a similar philosophy, although not quite to the extent of your dad. Some weeks I'm better at it than others, that's for sure. On the other hand, my mom is 85 and worries and gripes about every single thing, always has so...

Kathy Ivan said...

I am such a control freak! That being said, my life is always filled with stress--from the day job to even the smallest things most people could care less about.

I handle what I can as I can. That day job? Not a whole lot I can do about it except do my job day-in and day-out, knowing that the stress and headache will fade, at least for a short time before it all starts up again. That writing stress because it's just not working and you know that everything you've typed sucks? I get that one all the time. I'll usually go and hop onto the recumbant bike with my Kindle and start reading. Taking my brain away from my WIP and reading somebody else's work is a great de-stressors for me!

Pamela Stone said...

Oh man, Kathy. Right there with you except one thing. Reading someone else's work which used to be a fantastic escape only makes me doubt my own writing more. Beginning to think that I'm hopeless.

Linda Steinberg said...

Anybody need a hug?



http://www.potpourrigift.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=RA1010&usrsearch=had%20a%20bad%20day

Sylvia McDaniel said...

Great post Pam! There is so much LESS stress in my life right now that even a bad ankle is not slowing me down too much. Of course, it's also kept me on the couch writing, which is great. By the way, I finished your book, SECOND CHANCE DAD this weekend and LOVED it. Very cute. I'll be looking forward to the next one. In the meantime, I'm writing a Christmas Book in August and no, it's not helping with the 104 heat.

Pamela Stone said...

Hey Linda, thanks for the hug.

And Sylvia, your comment reminds me of a friend I had a few years back. Ond day things were nuts at work and she marched into our boss's office and told him that if he didn't straighten things out she was going to schedule a physical. He looked at her strange and she explained that at her age something was bound to need operating on and she could use 6 weeks off. Ha! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed Second Chance Dad. It was a fun book to write.

It's been a good day today. Thanks to everyone for stopping by.

Barbara White Daille said...

Hi, Pam,

I'm glad Monday turned out to be a good day for you in the long run!

I tend to focus in on a mindless task when I'm overly stressed, too--but somehow, that never involves cleaning. LOL

Housework is so far off my radar then, it doesn't even exist. You can drop by my house any time when you need to burn off some energy. :)

Barbara

Pamela Stone said...

Barbara, you are funny. I'm not sure cleaning in the fashion I do when stressed is exactly healthy, but ehh, I do end up with a clean house for a day or two. But I do think you've hit on the key term, 'mindless'. Maybe when the brain can't take anymore, the body kicks in.

Barbara White Daille said...

Pamela - I'm good at mindless. (grin)

But seriously, it's very often true that when the body goes on auto-pilot, that frees the brain to relax.

Less stress. More clear thinking. Even time for generating new story ideas. ;)

Barbara