Are You Dealing With Stress or Burnout? What’s the Difference?

 

 

I believe everyone has a certain amount of stress in his or her life. It could be a lot or a little. It could be brushed away or completely take us down. But it’s there. For everyone.

I found this amazing two-part series about stress and burnout. What is the difference? Why is it important to know the difference? What can you do about them?

It’s a must-read.

Whether you’re stressed/burned out or not, it’s a fascinating look at these two conditions. It’s eye-opening and informative. Really. Check it out, bookmark it, both, whatever…but do visit these pieces by Ruth Harris on Anne R. Allen’s blog:

 

 

ETA: I just found two posts on Sally Cronin’s blog about stress. I had to add these. They deal with similar issues in a very different way, focusing on health. Symptoms of acute vs chronic stress, how to manage stress with diet (vitamins, minerals, foods), and much more. Please check these out.

 

The link between stress and your heart

Strategies and foods to relieve stress

 

 

photo: Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso

 

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Envy and Honesty

 

Envy is never pretty. Not really all that helpful, either. (Except if it motivates you to go to the gym or something.) But I digress. I’ve been envious lately. Of the “good” writers, the funny tweeps, the people who have it all together. Because their blog and social media shows this, it must be true.

Then I received a DM.

An online friend was struggling.

I got an email. Then another. And another. They were all struggling. And I had no idea. I wrote back, sending supportive words and virtual hugs. But I felt helpless.

I also felt guilty. Here’s why.

Two of the people who contacted me were, less than a week before that, on my list. (My completely, utterly unfair list.) It was a long list, I must admit, because I am not doing well. I’m overwhelmed. I can’t keep up. And more is headed my way every day.

Although I should know better, I envied these people who had it all together. Who were juggling families, jobs, friends, writing, blogging, social media… Life. They were managing life. Without breaking a virtual sweat.

Ah. But there it is, right? Virtual. It’s difficult enough to recognize in real life people who are struggling. When you can hide behind a screen and type when you feel chipper or comment when you’re capable, no one can tell that you’re struggling.

Imagine my shock when one of these emails expressed a good-natured jab about how well I was doing because I was seemingly all around the blogosphere. Here I was drowning and someone thought I was winning the swim meet. Everyone is dealing with something—they may be fine, they may not be.

I know this. People post when they’re feeling okay. I should never have assumed. Needless to say, and yet I will, I should never have been envious of their ability to handle the world in the first place, virtual or not.

 

Sarah B rainy day - sig

 

Because September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, I thought it fitting to share this today. I’m checking my envy at the door. Giving what I can, when I can. Being there.

And asking “How are you?”

 

Honoring Short Story Month With a Little Yellow Book

 

In honor of short story month, I am sharing an excerpt from one of my very favorite short stories of all time.

I wish I could get well faster.

But I must not think about that. This paper looks to me as if it knew what a vicious influence it had!

There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.

I get positively angry at the impertinence of it and the everlastingness. Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere. There is one place where two breaths didn’t match, and the eyes go all up and down the line, one a little higher than the other.

Brilliant, right? The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a masterpiece. I first read this story in college. Many years later, in a small used book shop, I stumbled upon a small copy from a small press which was printed the year I was born, proving my crazy connection to this story was real.

Now, my little yellow book is a cherished possession, like a worn stuffed teddy bear from childhood.

It completes me.

 

The Yellow Wallpaper

First published in 1892, the story is available here and, if you have not read it, you really must. I insist.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Writers & Semicolons

 

As writers, we can kill off our characters with a fictional flourish.

We wouldn’t have our heroine receive a mysterious call in the middle of the night, or get a desperate text at 2 AM, or craft a dialogue with something as boring and unoriginal as “I want to kill myself”. Why? Because it’s cliché. We edit, revise, polish, and proofread. We make sure it. Is. Fantastic.

But suicide happens here—outside of books and stories.

A call comes in at 2 AM because nights are notoriously difficult.

A text reads, “I need you” because, sometimes, people actually do need you.

A partner says, “I can’t take it anymore” because there are times he feels that he can’t handle life one more minute.

A friend confesses, “I want to kill myself” because she wants to die.

These things happen. They happen because there are people in pain who want to escape and can see no other way out. And, because, when it comes to real life, clichés are not forbidden.

 

semicolon Sarah B. B&W

 Show your semicolon.
Because it’s not over.

Pay attention to cries for help. No matter what they say or when they arrive. Don’t assume anything.

Sometimes all you have to do is listen. Sometimes you have to act. Sometimes you have to seek help to help another.

Reach out. Your hand is powerful. It can hold, lift, or comfort.

It can make a statement.

Join the movement to honor, encourage, and support those who have kept going.

The Semicolon Project brings hope through a symbol of continuation.

Project Semicolon“A semicolon represents a sentence the author could’ve ended, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”

Project Semicolon

Wear your semicolon tomorrow: April 16, 2015.

Show your support.

Tell the world your story is not over yet.

@ProjSemicolon

#ProjectSemicolon

#SemicolonProject

#TheSemicolonProject

#SemicolonProject416