Monday, September 14, 2015

Accumulation of Stress

In research, and speeches, and articles all over we are all told to reduce our stress loads.

There are dire warnings about the health effects of too much stress and prolonged stress.

I know all of this.  REALLY.  Intimately.  I've only been reading those articles and that research for most of my adult life.  I have been passing that information along to friends and family and clients.

And yet...

Remember the old tale about the cobbler whose children have no shoes?  Ahem.

KNOWING things is much different than applying them.

Frankly, I didn't think I was under *that* much stress.  Oh, I admitted at times that things were getting a bit out of hand.

Like, when I was a full-time grad student, working part-time from home, trying to keep up with 6 children, and my husband was deployed...for a year.  THAT was a little stressful.

Or the year when two grandparents passed away, we went through some major relational upheavals, and Jason changed jobs, AGAIN.

Or the year that the world was supposed to end, I had a baby (25 days late!), Jason had an affair, the house was going into foreclosure, the car was repossessed, we moved, and we dealt with some other major relational upheavals.  Yeah, that year was stressful, too.

But, in between those REALLY stressful times, life was pretty smooth.  Things would settle down, life would be "normal" for a while, and I would have said that my stress levels were minimal.

About that.

I just sat down and wrote out a timeline of my life.  Through EVERY year.  ALL of the major events...those ones that are listed in charts as the ones creating the most stress...job changes, moves, children's births, financial strain, relational strains, separations, deployments, deaths....all of it.

That timeline was very telling.  Those times that I thought were "less stressful"?  Not necessarily.  Because in the almost-23-years we have been married, I was able to list ONE YEAR that did NOT include a major stressing event...most had multiple stressing events.

All of this made me realize that I have been VERY stressed for a VERY long time, and that it is time to make some changes.

I really don't know what those changes will be...Jason is still in the military, so the moving-every-few-years is not likely to change...and the children are growing up, which means more changes (hello, empty nest - well, that's a FEW years off, anyway!).  All I really know is that I really need to be LESS stressed for longer periods of time, and that needs to start now.

No comments: