“So have you had much stress in your life lately?” the kindly Doctor asked me.
I shrugged, nonchalant: “No more than normal” came my off handed reply. He laughed and looked me in surprise.
“Since when has stress become normal?”
It’s all my own fault, I know. Despite the fact I am certain there is no such thing as a worry free existence (unless you are the Dalai Lama) I’m sure a whole batch of self-inflicted stress arises all thanks to my own foibles.
Take for instance my tendency to over analyse and people please. Meaning not only am I worrying about not living up to people’s expectations, but I am dedicating a whole batch of time to I’m wondering if I am upsetting them if I am not pleasing them. I just don’t know how to be happy if everyone who is important to me is not happy.
Throw in for good measure my constant internal battle trying to reconcile with the fact my husband’s job equates to a whole lot of time away from home; and then feeling guilty that I don’t support him enough as his job is quite stressful. He works so very hard and his down time each week is non-existent; I just wish I didn’t miss him so much and hate that I seem to be taking out my crankiness on my son when it creeps in by the end of a long day…
Then there is the list of things out of my control that bring discomfort to my mind: like wanting to help those who don’t actually want my help. Hell, even just not being able to control every little thing in my world (because of course such a thing is actually possible *she says with youthful naivety*) stresses me out.
I know, I know, take a chill pill, right?
But even when I do get the chance to relax, I seem to have forgotten the art.
Case in point last week - I’d been fighting a cold for a fortnight, and the one day I could have legitimately rested, when Master H was at daycare and the husband at work, I still couldn’t manage it. My mind whirred constantly with the list of things I really ought to be doing: housework, job search, writing, pitching to magazines, blogging, keeping track of the monthly budget to ensure not a penny more than planned was being spent, phoning family or friends to make sure they were okay… It’s impossible to relax with a mind like mine.
But after some health advice, along the lines of “if you cup is running empty, how do you expect to be able to keep topping up others?” I’ve begun making a concerted effort to try. Stress just aint my friend. I don’t like what it has turned me into the last few weeks. It was literally hurting my body, and quite frankly, turning me into someone I did not care to be associated with.
And that’s saying something, when you don’t even like your own company much.
Thankfully, the winds of change have already sprung up from the south. Slowly there are some shifts. And I am beginning to think there might be something to be said for The Husband's strange taste in my music, as I might just have myself a new theme song to keep me in check:
Why're you in so much hurry?
Is it really worth the worry?
Then slow down.
What's it like inside the bubble?
Does your head ever give you trouble?
It's no sin.
Trade it in.
Help is on its way.
I'll be there as fast as I can.
So I'm trading this harried head of mine in,reminding myself I am not an island. I may never quite adopt a "devil may care" attitude but I can take it down a few octaves. By switching from an anxious control freak to trusting the process a little more I'm sure the old enemy stress might just become less...