Stress Awareness Month

On my way to work this morning, the radio show I listen to talked about work stress. It’s some karmatic thing happening here, as I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed these past couple days. Anyways, the host talked about how roughly 80 of individuals feel work stress. I don’t have all the details about who, what, where, when and why, (I mean, it was this morning I heard this), but what I remember is that most individuals, according to this discussion, are stressing over something at work: an overload, money, time, bosses (okay, I added a few). This was an interesting discussion, as I realized it is Stress Awareness Month. I wondered how many people were actually aware of their stress and when they feel overwhelmed. (Like I do, at this moment, and that’s okay). Yet, stress awareness can also be about recognizing what elicits this sense of feeling “too much” pressure or too many demands.

Most of us have experienced moments where we feel optimally energized, motivated and creative. When I have these moments (Which is not at this moment of writing), I am focused, engaged and generally just feel good. It’s an optimal place.

Yet as I sit here typing this out, thinking about all that I want and need to get done this week, I want to run. I want to not think about all these things. That’s a normal reaction. At the same time, I recognize it may be because I am thinking about everything I want/need to get done and this can be overwhelming. When I break my list down, each individual item is something that I wanted to do and wanted to be a part of: grading papers; developing a course; finalizing handouts for a presentation I am doing (partly on stress, go figure); a research grant; revising a book chapter, putting together my first  comedy script, etc. These are things I want to do. As I am listing each one, I see how much I enjoy those activities and how they challenge me. I notice I calm down a bit. Focusing on the individual items that I want to complete lessens that “pressure” or “demand”, as I know, even from previous experience, it’ll get done.

I’ll focus on one thing at a time and cross it off my list.  Maybe I’ll start with the comedy script.

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