Stop Inviting Stress to The Party

Do you ever have one of “those” weeks? I just had one of those weeks.

One of those weeks where you go 90 mph at work, and then race home to go Mach 5 until you fall into your bed, exhausted, only to lay awake and blink in the dark as your mind continues to race at warp speed.

And yes, I tried “counting sheep,” but I swear my sheep had dropped acid before they entered my slumber, because it was like watching a Mad TV meets Cirque de Soleil performance.

The details of my chaotic week are not important, but my attitude about it is.

I, like so many others, long to know what “bored” feels like again. The closest most of us feel to “bored” is when we have so many things to do, that we don’t know where to begin, so we make ourselves two fried egg sandwiches, pour a glass of wine, and binge watch something on Netflix—only to regret it the next day when we have double the work to accomplish.

Or is that just me?

Whether you are overwhelmed at work or at home (or overwhelmed on your way to work from home), we can all find ourselves going off the deep end. Do you have someone who can throw you a line and pull you out, or are you completely on your own? Or is it that you just think you are floating in the middle of the ocean alone? I think those two questions are the first things you should address before thawing cookie dough and watching six straight seasons of Seinfeld.

Don’t know how to tackle a challenge? Ask someone. Look around at your circle of association and ask a friend, colleague, or random woman in the pickle aisle of the supermarket, how they handle their life’s hiccups.

Human’s love to feel needed. Humans all suffer from a certain level of “Superman Syndrome” and, therefore, would love the opportunity to help save someone’s world.

If the answer you receive does not feel right, then take it out of your life’s shopping cart, and put it back up on the shelf (but make sure the advice-giver doesn’t see you doing it—and also make sure you hang it back up on the wall each time they come to visit).

Now the next thing is, are you able to view your situation with a glass-half-full attitude?

“Sure Veronica. If the glass is half-full of gin.”

Sigh… How did I know you’d say that?

I’m not here to try to blow sunshine up your skirt, but I’d like you to take a moment with me here, to see if we can remove some of the stress from your life—by simply making a slight attitude shift.

load that breaks you

I hate driving. More specifically, I hate driving in Ontario. As my mother rolls her eyes at me and says, “Veronica, ‘hate’ is a strong word.” I will hold my ground and tell you that I don’t dislike it immensely, I hate it. There are too many highways in Ontario, and everyone is angry and in a hurry. I find myself caught in, what I call, “angry pockets” on my way to work some days. So how do I tackle this stress?

The old me would have been push, push, pushing through traffic and being just as angry as the others, but the now-me cranks my music and has a vehicular party for the entire commute. I sing, I groove, I let it envelop me. I just stay out of the way of the angry people and let them continue to cut each other off and flip each other their respective birds.

Another vehicular example is when I’m late (and I hate being late). The old me used to get behind the wheel of the car and literally vibrate in my seat with anxiousness. Will that emotional turmoil get me there any sooner? No. No, it won’t. So instead, I literally say to myself, “Stressing about this is not going to get you there any sooner, so just relax and enjoy the music. It is what it is.”

That was a very difficult one for me to conquer, but I’ve done it, and an ulcer is no longer a part of my future.

Traffic Jam

Money troubles? Seriously, there’s not enough space on this page to address that this week. So let’s hop over to your job.

You’ve been given a project and, over a period of weeks, have poured your heart into it. The day before the big presentation, your supervisor tells you that they’ve decided to go in a different direction, thanks you for your time, and leaves you standing, holding your pie charts, with your mouth agape.

How do you handle this?

Do you swear and curse, and then tell all of your colleagues that it’s “bullshit” and that you worked your ass off on that project?

Don’t lie to me. I know that the majority of you will behave in that exact way. So let me ask you a few questions:

  1. Did you work overtime and not get paid for your extra efforts?
  2. Are you now behind on other tasks because you devoted all your time to the other project?
  3. Did you get a cut in pay for not presenting your idea?
  4. Did you lose credibility with your superiors?

If you answered yes to questions one and two, then I feel it is important that you communicate with your superiors before taking on a project, so they are aware of the work-flow shift you are about to make. Maybe they don’t realize what else is on your plate, and will then work out arrangements to spread the workload out elsewhere. Communication is key.

If you answered no to questions three and four, then that is what I need to address with you.

You are getting paid to do a job. If it is not affecting your livelihood or reputation, then why are you upset? If that is how your employer wants to waste their money (meaning—paying you to spin your wheels), then just let it go. Tuck that project away and say, “Next!”

When I am faced with whining colleagues in an example similar to the above, I ask them questions three and four and then say, “If my boss told me that, every third Friday, I was to scrape gum off the bottom of the desks. I would ask them if it was going to cause a dip in my pay, and if their answer was ‘no,’ then I’d wear my gum-scraping pants and think, ‘Cool, if that’s what you want to pay me to do!’”

stressed desserts

We all suffer from some form of stress—it’s unavoidable. The question is: Can you recognize stresses that you can mentally conquer while you go through them?

I’m not saying that this is the cure-all to dealing with stress, but can you just take a moment to find a handful of things in your life that you can emotionally shelve?

That is my challenge for you this week. Good luck!

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