There was a time when I looked exactly like this clip art. I was going around in circles trying to please everyone in the company I was working for. Every day I would wake up and go to work, dreading the day ahead of me. After a couple of promotions, I figured I was on my way to a smooth ride. How wrong I was. My paychecks looked better but the workload was more than doubled. The expectations were quadrupled and the goals were set so astronomically high, I never had a chance to reach them.
Then I started having an insistent pain around the area of my liver, that three doctors could not figure out. Finally, the last doctor decided that it was an issue with my gallbladder and surgery was scheduled. Here I was almost a year later and the pain was not gone. So I decided it was time to change jobs. Why?
Well, aside from the fact that I was being looked at as a non-perfomer, the level of stress that I was experiencing was making me irritable and it was zapping all of my energy. I had enough patience to wake up in the morning and then it was gone. My children could not do anything right and I was always yelling and arguing. I even started to develop a rigidity in my neck, I assume from carrying the bulk of my stress there. So I had to find a solution.
I started applying for different positions and one came along that would allow me to have the same benefits I was enjoying but it was, in theory, going to be an easier job. I took it. At first, the change, the training, the getting to know everything and the expectations started getting to me again. Then I decided I needed to make a change in me.
Four months later, I am now relaxed. I am content. But now I am convinced that stress does affect ones body and mind to where we can become debilitated. So, how can a person help stop the damaging effects of stress? I must add a disclosure here, I am not a doctor nor in the medical field, but I wanted to see if it was stress that was affecting me so. So I did some research and this is what I found.
First, you must recognize how stress is personally affecting you. If you are tense, this means the muscles are constantly on guard preventing relaxation and can lead to musculoskeletal disorders. The respiratory system can also be affected, causing shortness of breath or hyperventilation. We can be at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disorders, and it can even elevate blood sugar levels. The drain in energy that we can experience comes from the constant fight our nervous system has to do to try to keep us at what is normal for us.
Then you must try to help your body. This can be done through respiratory techniques, meditation, joining a support group, or, if possible, removing yourself from the stressful situation.
For me, I experienced several of these indicators and I can’t say that I am completely free of stress. However, I am no longer a copy of the caricature attached to this post. Now I change what I can and leave alone what I can’t.