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

 

My Candle Burns at Both Ends

 

 

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

I could dissect this poem, line by line, pondering its possible meanings with regard to Edna’s life and writing. But this is not a lit class, it’s a blog. So I won’t. Also, I don’t want to.

It’s here today because the words are speaking to me and I need to share them.

Right now, I choose to see this poem as a reminder.

To a person who is working too much, overwhelmed and exhausting herself, who knows she cannot keep this up much longer, who addresses those who support her as well as those who do not. In the end, regardless of this knowledge, she cannot help but say how lovely it all is.

I feel these words deeply.

Watch as I go down in flames and see how beautiful the fire is.

How goddamn beautiful.

Life is difficult and stressful and a strange beauty emerges in those moments. If we look. And when we find it, we need to share it. Shout it out to friends and foes.

There is beauty in the moments of madness.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Are you going through a difficult time? Have you taken on too much? Could you use a break? I’ve got nothing. Sorry. No tips. No fix. Just support, solidarity, and a little bit of poetry.

 

The Art of Saying “No”

 

 

Your friend asks if you would edit her essay. Your kid’s teacher asks if you would run the bake sale. Your boss asks if you would stay late.

What do you do?

When you can’t take on one more thing? When your plate is overflowing? When you simply don’t want to?

Has anyone here mastered the art of saying “No”?

You in the orange shirt.

“Um…open your mouth and say the word ‘no’.”

Hmm. Interesting.

*pushes button*

*person in orange shirt drops through trap door*

Anyone else?

Good. Now that we’re all on the same proverbial page, let’s talk.

 

Some will say it varies. It depends on who is asking and what they’re asking. I’ll allow this line of reasoning. To a point. This is part of the issue.

I mean, really, if your boss asks you nicely (or not-so-nicely) to stay late, most people say, “Sure, you wretched piece of…” or probably just, “Sure.” Some people, like me for instance, say, “Of course! Not a problem!” Then those people, like me for instance, wonder what just happened.

If a friend wants help with a project, most people will probably help but they’ll be honest about what kind of time they have to offer. After all, their friend will understand. Some people, like me for instance, will sigh internally and not speak up about my lack of time and tell them to send it (if they haven’t already sent it because they know I’ll say yes).

It’s easier to say no to the bake sale request. Or so it would seem. But then some people, let’s say…um…me for example, begin thinking about the last time they assisted in any of their son’s school activities. Then, when they can’t remember (because it was like 7 months ago), say, “Absolutely!”

These answers come from negative emotions such as obligation or worry (employer), fear of upsetting someone (friend), and guilt (school).

For one who has not mastered the art of saying no, or even taken classes in it, this can be problematic regardless of the circumstances.

And for one who feels guilty or obligated or in some way responsible for making everyone happy, saying no to demands on your time can be damn near impossible. This is what I lovingly call The Yes Mess.

I want to scream. I want to scream loudly, “Hell, no! Are you kidding?! I couldn’t fit another thing into my schedule if I wanted to! I’m not a robot! Aaaahhhhh!” Or something like that. Instead, I say, “Sure! No problem!”

It is a problem.

I feel like this is linked to self-worth. By neglecting myself for others, I’m basically saying that other people’s projects, assignments, happiness, work, time, etc. are more important than my own. In other words, other people are more important than I am.

They’re not.

I need to remember that.

Instead of immediately saying yes to everything, I am making myself a promise to say, “Probably.” Or “I think so.” I know. It’s ridiculous. It’s not even close to a “no” but it’s as close as I can realistically get at the moment. Baby steps. Plus, this might make it easier to come back and say that I can’t.

If I’ve already agreed to something, that is even more difficult for me. I don’t want to let people down so I run myself into the ground making sure I do it. Or I let it slip through one of the numerous cracks in my life and feel horribly guilty.

So. If I say yes, I am giving myself permission to say, “I thought I could fit this in my schedule but I just can’t right now.”

I am not exaggerating when I say this stuff stresses me out, hurts my health, and keeps me up at night.

My health and well-being (and that of my family) must come before any demands on my time.

That’s really the end of that. Let’s see how this goes.

 

 

Have you mastered the art of saying “no”? If not, why? If so, how do you do it?

 

Last-Minute Holiday Gifts from the Heart

 

holiday-charity-gifts

 

These are some of the charities we give to regularly. We love them. I’ve sorted out the ones that let you email the recipient or print your own card.

Quick, easy, heartfelt. The perfect last-minute gifts:

 

Environment / Nature

ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION

arbor-day-post

Mission: “to improve water and air quality, slow climate change, and reduce poverty by planting trees.”

These Trees in Celebration certificates are lovely and every single dollar you spend plants a tree. They also offer “Give-A-Tree E-Cards” to send a holiday greeting with meaning. Because. Trees. Behold the beautiful trees! 🌲

 

Animals / Wildlife 

ASPCA

aspca-post

Mission: “animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected…”

Show your love for our four-legged friends. Give a holiday gift card in honor of a beloved furchild. I can’t stand the cuteness of that puppy. You know you want to help these little munchkins. Available in ecards.

 

Hunger / Poverty

HEIFER INTERNATIONAL

heifer-post

Mission: “to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.”

Choose a donation and print it out, email, or text with a custom message to the gift recipient. Or you can give a gift card (to print out or send via email) so they can choose their own donation.

* My personal favorite gift to give is honeybees. They are awesome. Here are 2 reasons why:

“Food for Life: Honey is the only food that includes all the essential elements necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals and even water. Its unique chemical makeup also allows it to be preserved indefinitely.”

“Farmers’ Helpers: In the process of searching for nectar, bees pollinate plants. The placement of a single colony can potentially double local fruit and vegetable yields.”

Isn’t that incredible? It’s the bee’s knees. 🐝

 

KIVA

kiva-post

Mission: “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.”

Print these out or email them to the gift recipient and they can start loaning right away. Change someone’s life, get paid back, help someone else… And on it goes. Making spirits bright.

 

Childhood Cancer/Childhood Diseases

ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL

st-judes-post

Mission: “Finding cures. Saving children. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

Please do check out the site if you don’t already know about St. Jude Children’s Hospital. And, if you do, well… ‘Nuff said.

Printable Christmas Cards

Ecards for Christmas

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Printable Hanukkah Cards

Ecards for Hanukkah

 

   ❄️ Have a beautiful holiday season! ❄️

 

Blog Happy

 

Misery loves company? Perhaps.

 

Sarah B. Mr Men books - sig

 

Does company love it back? Not sure.

I don’t think blog visitors do.

So, when hit with a prolonged period of illness or an unfortunate series of events, what’s a blogger to do?

When you are miserable, do you put that aside and smile for the keyboard or do you discuss what’s going on?

I suppose this depends on what type of blog you have.

I’ve hinted at my health issues, talked about writing crises, and touched on the fact that life isn’t so swell at the moment. But dwell? Meh. That’s boring. Maybe annoying.

Should I talk about spring? I suppose.

I don’t want to be Miss Doom and Gloom (and not just because it’s a silly name) but I’m also sort of irritated by Shiny Happy People. So I will write this:

Start climbing.

As the saying goes, when you are at the bottom, or damn near it, there are only two ways to go—sideways and up. Okay, the saying doesn’t go like that but it’s funny. Unless you’re in something so narrow you can’t possibly move sideways. Then it’s mean.

I guess the best idea is to mention and move on.

 

Thanks to my childhood collection of Mr. Men books, I know that, when life is messy, you can grumble a bit but then you’ve got to be cheerful and not grumpy then blog happy. I know. That’s totally weird. But that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you write about real-life issues on your blog? Or do you pretend all is well and just publish your next post?


Oversharing on Social Media

 

When you haven’t blogged or been on Twitter, what do you do? I think some would answer with a resounding, “Nothing. Move on.” Others would say that a full-on explanation is warranted. I’m guessing that most people fall somewhere in the middle.

Personally, I feel I should write something.

When sharing information about my personal life in a very public way, where is the line? Do I keep it vague or go into details? How much is too much? And, more importantly, why am I thinking about this at all? Why, in the midst of a family crisis or health emergency or computer meltdown, am I worrying about what my online presence looks like to others?

I suppose you should let people know why you haven’t been online or won’t be online much. I suppose that’s the nice/right/proper thing to do. But… Is this common courtesy or TMI (too much information)?

 

So, when I should have been getting a huge reality slap about what’s important in life, I was thinking about all the blogs I haven’t commented on, the posts I hadn’t written, the updates I hadn’t made on my website, the tweets sitting in my drafts, the emails piling up in my inbox.

For anyone who is wondering, I’m about to overshare:

I went to the ER last week expecting a little help but was admitted to the hospital. I stayed a night. Then another. Then another… The world outside those four white walls faded away. I didn’t think about much besides my family. (And all the beeping machines, wires, IVs, tests, and blood pressure cuffs.) After a day or two, it hit me. The social media thing I’ve been yammering about. And here I am posting about my hospital stay and my ongoing treatment (a.k.a. wireless heart monitor I must wear 24 hrs. a day for a month). So I will post when I’m not passing out and will tweet when I’m not too dizzy. And there you go. Hope that is not too much information for you.

Cheers, gentle readers.

Oh, also, I have a strange habit of taking pictures at unseemly moments. I like to document everything—even the horrible things. So, for your viewing pleasure, this is my EEG. It’s one of the nicer photos. I look at bit like a modern techie Medusa but I’ve titled it “space mermaid”.

 

Sarah B Hospital - EEG

 

What Am I Searching For?

 

On a walk yesterday, I had my phone out snapping pictures of new plants poking out of the earth and fresh, green leaves sprouting from dead-looking brown branches.

ThoughtBubbleI was also moving leaves with my feet to find rocks for my children. They love rocks. Actually, so do I. Rocks are awesome—all different shapes, sizes, colors. Some sparkle with mica, some glisten with quartz. Plus, they feel nice in your pocket. They’re grounding.

So there I was, stopped on my little walk, when an older gentleman in jogging pants came walking up to me. “Are you searching for something?” He looked a bit like he was approaching a badger.

I smiled as brightly as I could, “Just enjoying the spring weather and looking for pretty rocks for my kids.”

He shifted, clearly uncomfortable. Then just stood there.

“Oh,” he finally managed. Then he shook his head and started walking again, saying “okay…” as he got up some speed.

Am I searching for something? Yes. The energy and clarity I get from walking. And gifts from nature for my children.

But, clearly, I need to get some of those workout clothes I was thinking of buying last season.

 

Searching for Spring

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Late Night Snack

 

My husband and I are enjoying a late-night snack—relaxing after the kids go to bed. He is happily crunching on his healthy cereal as I’m munching on a leftover spring roll, drowning it in soy sauce. (No comments from the peanut gallery. Comment section below is for non-judgy-food friends only.)

ThoughtBubble

As I was saying, we were enjoying some quiet time and snacking before bed. One of the few joys we have left as parents. I’m kidding. Not really. I take a bite of my forbidden fruit, all salty and spring rolly and yummy then casually ask:

“Do you really think he should go to school tomorrow?” Munch.

“If he doesn’t have a temperature.” Crunch.

“I don’t think he’s better.” Munch.

“Well, he’s not a hundred percent better but he’s been home three days so, if there’s no temp…” Crunch.

“You know what?” Munch. “Doesn’t matter. He has to be temp-free for a day before you can send him back to school.” Munch, munch.

“Really?” Crunch. “I thought it was vomit-free for a day.”

“Nope.” Munch. “Temp. Or is it diarrhea?”

“Oh, right.” Crunch. “Could be…”

So this is our life. It is.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.