In addition to cleaning, my boyfriend likes to say that stressing about things is my favorite hobby. I’m getting better (really!) but I spend a great deal of time worrying, fretting, and feeling bad.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about stress – from a medical standpoint, why women report more stress, stress and modern life – and one theme jumped out on me. Stress is, for some of us, myself included, almost a positive feeling. Being stressed means we are being productive, and productivity is the gold-letter standard by which we judge ourselves. Stress becomes a sign of importance – a sign of success. The opposite of “stressed” has shifted from “relaxed” to “lazy” – and we all know to feel guilty about being lazy.
Admittedly, stress is part of life. It’s not going to go away completely, but perhaps it can be diminished. What can we do?
- Shift our discussions. Talking about how busy we are can become a competitive sport.
- Delegate. Ask for help. Silence your inner perfectionist and let someone else have a go.
- Let it go. Seriously. Have cereal for dinner. Leave the dishes in the sink. Put on your comfy pants, curl up on the couch and watch The Secret Life of the American Teenager.