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

 

Advertisements

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?

 

Vernal Equinox: Spring in My Step

 

Today is the first day of spring. The Vernal Equinox.

 

Spring Equinox sprout Sarah Brentyn - sig

 

I had this really cool post planned. It was introspective and thought-provoking.

It was full of serious talk and thinking stuff.

Instead, I wound up with this barrel full of monkeys. Because that’s what my brain feels like.

I finally fell asleep around 4 am last night. So, I’m working on about 3+ hours of sleep. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I need eight.

Where was I?

Right. The post mentioned all the wonderful things I was going to do today.

I had plans to pause, enjoy nature, seek balance, embrace something new. Pretty much none of that happened. (Unless you consider exhaustion-induced zone-outs “pausing”.)

I will copy two lines from the post:

It is a time of beginnings.

It is a time of balance.

The Vernal Equinox is, indeed, both of those things. Spring is a time of new beginnings and the Equinox a time of balance. I wanted to embrace these.

I didn’t.

You know those days you walk into a room and forget why you went in there? Or you open the fridge seven times because you forget what you were looking for? Yes. It was one of those days—all day.

No fresh starts or balancing for me today. I ruined it.

Or did I?

Because, I used this opportunity to not do things. Such as beating myself up for not posting this morning, not reading other blogs, and not getting to my own blog comments.

Also, I didn’t get angry at myself for not living that perfect day I planned.

For me, that’s one hell of a fresh start.

As far as balance? I accepted that, along with the light, joyous pieces of me, there are dark, upsetting ones.

I’m human. I’m whole.

There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m going to just put it out there and say if you’re all sunshine and no shadows, you’re probably pretty boring. Or lying. Which might make you slightly more interesting but certainly not any more likable.

So I didn’t have a beautiful first day of spring. But I did have one more day on this earth. And I learned a few things while I was here. (One of them being that I can go a whole day without beating myself up about anything. And I’m counting that as a win.)

 

My Sunday thoughts in a sleep-deprived ramble of nowhere near 200 words.

ThoughtBubble

 

What happens when you plan a day and it falls short of your expectations? Do you give up? Beat yourself up? Move on? (Or a combination?)

 

Happy Spring! (And, to my friends in Australia, Happy Autumn!)

 

Insomnia and Putting Your Finger Up Your Nose

 

Did I say “up”? I meant “on”. Shameful trickery. ThoughtBubble

I have insomnia. I’ve tried everything. And although I (rightfully) complain when I have a cold, I am secretly happy at the end of the day because I get to take NyQuil, which helps me fall asleep.

This time of year can be extra joyful and stressful. So here’s a tip I’m thrilled to share with my fellow insomniacs and stressed-out peeps. Are you ready?

Breathe.

I’m not being cheeky—it’s special breathing.

This special kind of breathing, Pranayama, has been around for thousands of years. I’ve known about it for at least ten years and have used it for calming and de-stressing but I’ve only just started using it at night to fall asleep.

Clearly, I’m not sitting with a straight spine and smiling like you’re supposed to—slumped on my pillow with an I-can’t-sleep frown—and yet, magic! It still works.

No need for special gear (or talent, for that matter). It’s wicked easy. And free. All you need is a nose and fingers. And lungs.

Try it. You won’t be sorry.

The Art of Living

Yoga in Daily Life

Yoga Outlet

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.