Saturday, April 13, 2013

de-stress or die.

Stress is serious business.
We all know stress is bad...but bad enough to kill us?
The answer is yes...

I decided to write this post after coming off a particularly rough two weeks. I've gotten very little sleep, my shoulder muscles are in knots and a few nights ago...I even experienced chest pain. Not good.

But on top of the typical symptoms (listed below), my endometriosis tends to flare up when I'm stressed. I can't figure out if the stress itself causes it or if I neglect exercise and good nutrition which causes it. Whatever the case, I've been in a lot of pain lately which makes it difficult to manage my stress. Sigh.
When I did some research on the top reasons people are stressed, here's what I found. Many of us can read through this list and start checking things off...yep, uh huh, check, that one too. But reading this list made me feel somewhat relieved. It made me feel normal to know that other people experience stress for the same reasons that I do. Even though everyone's situation is different, these kinds of circumstances would put anyone in a tailspin...especially when you start stacking stressors on top of each other.

So work stress tops the list. Take a look at this stat.

Why do you think that is? Do you think it's just a perception problem? Do women just perceive things differently than men? I find it interesting.

When I evaluate my own work situation, it makes me laugh. Advertising Account Executives topped the Most Overrated Jobs of 2012 list. My career is inherently stressful due to the competitive nature of the industry, pressure of high expectations and constant deadlines. Yet, I've always thrived in the agency environment and been very good at my job. 

But when you take an already stressful job and you add the additional stressors like the ones listed in the graphic - co-worker drama, an unmanageable workload and trouble with bosses...that is a whole different thing all together. The last couple weeks have made me question whether I'm cut out for the business anymore. The answer: this is what I've always been called to do. Trust me...some days I wish I was called to be a dog walker or a librarian. But I'm not. 

I actually have a friend who was a VP at an esteemed advertising agency called Goodby in San Francisco and at the pinnacle of her career...she walked away from the stress and is a yoga instructor in Boston. True story! That takes balls. Big ones. But at the end of the day, she's happy and that is what matters most...not money, not status...just joy and contentment.

So what do we do about this little thing called stress? We gotta do something before we find ourselves "toe up" because of all that cortisol. Here are some suggestions.

And some more...

I'll be having myself a triple dose of - all of the above - this weekend. Except the one with the bikini because hubby left for work this morning and won't be back until Monday morning. {sad face} For those of you who are looking for an IVF update...I can't even think about that right now until my life calms down. Thank God I was not in the middle of a cycle right now...or it would've been a big, fat fail.

Hope y'all have a stress-free weekend.
 If you have any other stress-reduction tips, please share them in the comments. 

Source for graphics and statistics


Sadie said...

It's not just perception. I recently had to write a report for work and in my research came across a table that indicated women earn on average 70% of what men in the same role earn (and that's just the US, which is among the most gender equal countries).

Sorry you've had a tough few weeks and that it's impacting your health. I always find cooking and gardening to be great stress busters. Something about getting dirty and using my hands to grow and create things is very contemplative, especially as I work in a role that has me in front of the computer most days.

Look after yourself and have a great stress-free weekend!

kharini said...

Stress is horrible and I have experienced it so intensely at several points in the past few years. The death of both my parents and infertility at it's worse. I had panic attacks, insomnia, memory loss, and innumerable crying spells. It has been very hard.

Yes, all those suggestions help. All of them. For me distraction has been key and now I'm in a much better place. Thank God!!

Hope you have a relaxing weekend. xo

Alicia said...

Hi Jessah. I'm so glad to read that you are taking actions to tackle the stress that you have come face to face with. Coupled with endo, stress can really take over our lives and the psychological and physical effects can be crippling.

Good job identifying that you need to take steps to reduce the stress in your life - this is the best thing you could have done for yourself. Once you've realized and admitted that it's an issue, you are in full control of it. So congratulations!

One thing that I like to do to bust stress in my life is to make a list of commitments to myself and put it in a prominent place to constantly remind myself of these little daily to-do's. This checklist is small, but I find if I follow through with the daily tasks I know I need to be healthy, then I do a lot better. Some of these small daily must-do's include:

- spend 20 consecutive minutes outside
- spend 20 hands-on minutes with my dog
- no junk food except on weekends
- stretch for 20 minutes
- write in my journal for 10 minutes

And other small things like that. Like I said, they're small, but if I commit to them every day, then I'm much, much happier (and healthier!).

I wish you all the best in your quest to reduce the stress monsters in your life! I find once I actually commit to it, stress reduction becomes a fun part of my daily life. :)

Team Harries said...

ahhh stress! So hard to imagine, yet I think it relates to so many of our infertility problems!! Only if we could be stay at home wives ;)

Suzanne @ Our Journey to a Baby Bump said...

Good heavens I needed this post. Stress is going to put me in an early grave, I swear. Glad that you've been able to embrace some of these de-stressers and I'm sorry the past few weeks have been difficult. I'm going to do my best to take a few of these to heart. xo

Endo_Life said...

It is definitely the stress that triggers the endo flares. When I am stressed it stresses me even more to know that the pain will come and quickly. I hope the things you are doing this weekend are helping.

AM said...

This post is just what I needed to read! A great reminder of things we can do when the adrenaline from stress seems to take over our bodies. Thanks for sharing.

Emily said...

Stress is a killer! Listening to calming music helps me so the car, while I'm cooking, while I'm just showering and getting ready for the day. Lots of studies showing how our heart rate and state of mind can directly correlate to the bpm in the music playing.

Laura said...

I'm sorry you have been so stressed lately, that is not good at all. Hopefully things can calm down soon and you can start to feel better physically and emotionally!!

I definitely think it's smart to not be worrying about the IVF at this moment. IVF easily doubles/quadruples the stress in my life.

Take care!! :)

Leanne @ Simply Beautiful said...

These are all so interesting...And true! Definitely experiencing all of this in my job right now and it has me questioning a lot lately. But, I know God knows my heart and I've given the timing to move on to Him. Let's just hope the stress doesn't kill me first ;)

Thanks for sharing!

Amber said...

I'm sorry things have been so stressful Jessah! You are right though, good thing you didn't have an IVF cycle on top of everything else. Hopefully things will calm down soon for you. Great job taking action to help decrease some of that stress!

Whitney B. said...

I would add to the "decrease stress list" turn OFF the news and avoid all news websites!!! It is so stressful and makes me sad/angry/ etc to watch the news, so avoid it and just keep up with what is affecting you locally!

TracyZLesh @ Then I Got To Thinking said...

UGH... your job is very stressful - seems like even when you were working part time it was still 40+ hours at least. I don't know how you do it. Hope things start lightening up on you soon, Jess!!

Ashley said...

What a great post. There all kinds of studies that link stress to physical symptoms, but it is so hard to escape! I'm a firm believer that pain and stress go hand in hand.. I have both endo and fibromyalgia, and sometimes it even takes a flare up for me to realize how stressed I am. I hope you have found some tools to help manage your stress!

Liz Yoon said...

Thanks for these important tips! I've been so stressed these days and this post is so helpful!
:) Liz @

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