Recently my husband and I spent a glorious ten days on vacation in Mexico in celebration of his 50th birthday. We traveled with five other adults to a resort which caters to scuba divers. I don’t dive, but Clay is enthusiastic about the sport, as were our fellow travelers. This led to some interesting insight on stress and relaxation.
When not diving, most of our group spent time lounging by the pool, with the iguanas (yes, actual iguanas). Being fair skinned, I spent some enjoyable time by the pool, in the shade, reading. I did not, however, have the staying power of the rest of the group. I needed something else. My husband, Clay, enjoyed being an iguana for a while, then also needed to DO something. We took out the little sailboat, went for walks — coming and going from the pool. One of our fellow travelers remarked,
“You are always on the go. When are you going to relax?”
Here’s the thing — we were relaxing.
Clay joked at dinner one evening,
“I’m like a border collie. If I don’t have something to do, I start chewing on things.”
Funny and true, it is a good description of how he relaxes. He needs something diverting him from thinking about the things which cause stress. Staying still provides too much time to think.
Are you and iguana, a border collie, or something else?
In the article, written by Jenn Chapman, Eliz shares the story of surviving a heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins and he mission to inspire women to pay attention to their heart health and manage stress.
“What’s really interesting and alarming is that 7 out of 10 people report they are highly stressed at work. Stress is a fascinating chemical reaction in our body , which makes our blood pressure, and heart rate goes up. Blood actually gets stickier which is good for survival. We need that burst of energy to deal with crisis but eventually when that crisis pass we are supposed to be able to recover, but because we live at this high stress all the time we don’t have time to recover and the cortisol level builds and builds,” Eliz says.
“I am often asked to present on work-life balance and yet if I’m honest with myself I am constantly figuring that out. I don’t think I’m alone. The idea that work and life are supposed to balance each other out doesn’t work because they don’t happen separately,” she shares.
“It’s not that we can’t manage our homes it’s just all blended together. We can do things to clarify priorities and protect time to recover from stress, but it take a cultural change to make a real difference. I think that is possible,” Eliz says.
So when that work email pops up on your phone when you’re at home watching TV with the kids, whether you respond to it or not, your mind will begin processing the message. Ultimately taking away the divider from home and work life and thus the stress rises.
One of the most common effects of stress is added weight around the mid section. The most efficient way to process cortisol out of the body is to sleep but studies show that very few women get enough sleep. And so the cycle of busy and stress continues.
“We eat away at the margins of the day to get stuff done. But yet sleep is the most efficient way to get rid of our stress. We have to be working not just for our family but also for our quality of life that makes it worth it. If we work so much we don’t see our families, we missed it,” says Eliz.
Women’s stress increases when we are in contact with other people who are stressed. It seems both sides of the aisle are stressed these days. The non-stop social media postings of overwhelm and doom can spiral into a feeling of despair. This downward spiral, which I call “awfulizing,” keeps the focus on the negative and stops us from seeing opportunities for improvement.
Regardless of their place on the political spectrum, professional women may find themselves, and their hearts, in danger due to stress around Inauguration Day. A previous post about election stress, revealed the unprecedented level of turmoil in the 2016 presidential race combined with already high job stress levels were a recipe for disaster. While the election is over, the turmoil seems to have increased, intensifying stress and increasing the risk of heart disease and heart attack.
So, be kind to your heart and let’s deal with the stress of Inauguration Day.
Facebook algorithms are built to show you more of what you click. It is easy to be pulled into a spiral of dire predictions and raw emotion. Set a timer, limit your number of clicks, avoid reading comments, or devise some other way to manage your contact with stressful posts and articles.
Our country isn’t going to implode on January 20th, nor will all of our problems be magically solved. It is one day. One ceremony. Yes, our country is deeply divided. Yes, we have work to do. It won’t all happen in one day. We all need to move forward and do the best we can.
One of my favorite quotes is from Diversity Expert Jess Pettitt
Doing the best you can with what you have is better than doing nothing.”
Her point revolves around choosing to use your strengths and opportunities now rather than waiting for the right leader, right time, or right frame of mind. This lesson has been instrumental in my own stress management. Rather than complaining on Facebook, I’m picking up the phone and getting to know my elected officials (local, state, and national — those I voted for and those I didn’t). Jess is right, doing something is better than doing nothing. By recognizing stress and taking an action, it is possible to release some of the tension.
As January 20th comes and goes, keep in mind we are all part of the process. You Are Good Enough Now. Do something and reduce your stress.
P.S. Jess’ book Good Enough Now is a fantastic guide to getting over being terrified of messing up and get into action. Check out the video below and order your copy NOW here: www.GoodEnoughNowBook.com
January 13, 2017
Minneapolis Convention Center
Register here by January 3!
During the holidays, this is a particular problem.
According to our job stress research, the sheer volume of work to be done is the single largest stressor for a vast majority of people. Eliminating things which steal time and energy from what is important is a central point in The Trouble With Busy.
Think about it.
Deleting what you don’t need several times per day takes time and energy you could use better elsewhere. Take a couple extra moments to scroll down and click the link to unsubscribe. Better yet, use a tool such as unroll.me to do it all at once. Today, using unroll.me I found 132 subscriptions. There are far fewer now. We all “sign up” for activities and relationships that may work in the beginning, but over time we outgrow them or our needs change. Any time we buy something online, the merchant has permission to email us.
It’s okay –- unsubscribe.
Think about it this way.
Unsubscribing is freeing. You don’t have to feel guilty about it. As a person who sends out a regular email newsletter, I only want subscribers who find value in what I provide. If you don’t have time to read it, if it doesn’t fit your needs, if it is just cluttering up your inbox, please unsubscribe. I won’t take it personally, really!
Unsubscribe for productivity, low stress, and great success this holiday season.