I had planned to post about books next (today or otherwise soon-ish). There’s a books post coming – because I really do need some ideas for what to read next – but before I could write that post I got sick and I’m pretty sure the major culprit is stress.

I’m not a doctor or a nurse, but I can tell you that I firmly believe that overall emotional health can affect physical health. Obviously, when someone is stressed they can do things that negatively affect their health – binge eating, drinking, drugs, and other unhealthy decisions. But I also think stress can just slowly eat away at your overall health like a gigantic, parasitic leech.

Nom nom nom = die die die.

According to the American Psychological Association’s “Stress in America” report (2010) the common effects of stress are:

Body: headache, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, change in sex drive, stomach upset, sleep problems.

Mood: anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, irritability or anger, sadness or depression.

Behavior: Overeating or undereating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use, social withdrawal.

So let me see here – headache: check, muscle tension or pain: check, fatigue: check, stomach upset: check, anxiety: check, lack of motivation: check, irritability, sadness, anger: check, check, check.

Under behavior I would say social withdrawal simply because I’ve been less than social lately- less FB, less Twitter, less blog, and less social, in-person chitchat – but that could be due to time constraints more than anything. Or not. What do I know?

So what is the freaking dealio here?

Well, in a word, WORK. The entire month of September I worked some crazy long hours due to a staffing shortage (freaking people and their honeymoons) and, at the same time, an increase in workload. Then I was given even more work. Then I went on a short vacation last week in an effort to take a FREAKING BREAK but my first day back I worked a 12 hour day because I’m so behind from the 2 DAYS I took off. So how does that help? NOT AT ALL.

Now I could really go into quite the violent rant right now about my job, but this isn’t the place for it and if I did it could potentially get me fired (hmmm) so I won’t do that. Suffice it to say – I’m perpetually short-staffed and I do the job of about 3 different positions so I’m always pulled in 15 different directions at one time.

Monday – first day back from vacation and a 12 hour work day. Seriously didn’t get up from my desk to pee and grab some lunch until 3 pm.  Ridiculous. Came home at 8 pm, made dinner, promptly developed a headache – a headache that has not abated since Monday night.

Tuesday – headache all day. General feeling of malaise. Slammed at work, but determined to not work a 12 hour day again so I worked a typical day – 9-6. Felt marginally better at home when I was making dinner, but after dinner I sad down for bit and began to feel an overall ick. A little achy and shaky but not full-on FLU ick. WTF?

Wednesday morning – woke up with the headache, still have the ick. Stayed home with the intention of working just a little and then resting but, instead, I can’t catch a break and I’ve been working ALL DAMN DAY. At least I’m in my yoga pants, yo. (On a conference call as I type this).

Allergies are an issue, for sure. But this is MORE, and I’m pretty sure it’s stress.

So what’s the answer? I don’t know, but I think working more towards a healthy work/life balance is the best first step. I try to do this a lot but sometimes I execute it better than others. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a lot of control over it.

I can’t slack off on my job otherwise I’ll lose it. I can’t request to do the “mommy schedule” without it negatively impacting perception of my work ethic/goals. (I know this. Just trust me on this one. LAME.)

I’m the primary breadwinner at my house (my husband works freelance and is the primary at-home parent) but I have to be mommy too. I sacrifice going on the field trips, being room mom, working on most of the homework, etc., but I try to be there for them when they need me and I take time off as needed. But as my work demands it I’m there for them LESS than I wish I could be. Yesterday my little dude called me when he got home from school and asked if I was going to work late again. I hate that.

Guilt and stress? Check.

My husband put his arms around me this morning and said, “I just want you to be healthy.” Me too, dear, me too.

Does it come down to working less and possibly sacrificing the security of my job at the same time?  Is there a happy medium?  Sometimes I think I find it and then it all goes woefully wrong.

I’m trying to get my work/life balance figured out so that I don’t have more health issues. I’ve been putting off going to the doc knowing that I’ll have to face that reality of a few things I need to change or start on some meds. I started working-out this summer to get healthier – but with the increase in work that has fallen by the wayside as well.

Sometimes the idea of working on my health just seems like so much WORK and it’s easier to just push it to the back of my mind. Please tell me I’m not alone in this feeling.

The whirlwind of life at it’s finest.

So do you all have any bright insight into how to manage life and stress more effectively? I would love to hear it. What do you do to keep yourself healthy? How do you deal with stress?

Yours,

Stef

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2 thoughts on “Stress, baby – it’s a killer

  1. Can you really not work less? Would you really lose your job? Just curious. You have to remember that you need to take care of yourself so that you can be there for your kids later. Font put it off till it’s too late. Your bosses love you. Can you express to them that work is not your life?
    I was lucky. I always tried hard to choose jobs that did not expect me to drop everything for them.
    I hope you can find better balance.

    1. I really cannot work less and have any hope of keeping up with my work. If I’m not keeping up with my work then there will start to be problems from negative comments from clients about my turnaround time and that will cause me more stress. I have to keep up with my clients demands and I have clients that require a lot of personal support.I am having a conversation next week with my boss, but I also know perfectly well what he’s going to say and that there is very little that can be done right now to off-set my workload. But the fact that he’s willing to talk about it is a good sign. We’ll see what happens. Maybe he’ll surprise me. 🙂 Thanks for the support.

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