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STRESS...A MODERN INVENTION? | Musings on International Stress Awareness Week #stressawareness

As I write, it's International Stress Awareness Week. What the bejeezers does that mean? And, what are we expected to do?

My Dad used to say that stress is a modern invention. I think what he meant was that the word 'stress' is a fairly new addition to our vocabulary. Of course stress has existed since the beginning of time. Not that I'm that old you understand, but I read history. I see that it's been happening since time began.

I mean, imagine the stress our early ancestors experienced in just trying to survive. To find food and to protect themselves. Imagine the stress of being a faith among other faiths, trying to stay true but being persecuted and hunted. Imagine the stress of being a citizen of a warring nation. Imagine being labelled a witch for creating home remedies and risking being burned at the stake. Imagine the stress of being told you have to go to war, despite being a pacifist. I could go on and on. But here's my point.

I think what my Dad was trying to say is that the lines have become blurred between what is stress and what is adrenaline. But here's the thing. It's all relative. There is no clearly defined criteria for measuring what stress is. And thank goodness for that. You see, it's all relative isn't it? What stresses me may not stress you. The things you feel overwhelmed by, I may take in my stride. So, it's not for anyone else to determine whether we're feeling stressed. It's one self diagnoses that I consider to be totally acceptable. Maybe the only one.

So, if we're feeling the stress this International Stress Awareness Week, what are we supposed to do? Well, there are lots of useful suggestions from organisations and individuals that I'll reference at the end of this blog, but here are my musings born out of my own experience. That's all. Mind you, it's quite some experience. You know the story by now, right? Twelve years alone with my violent paranoid schizophrenic Mother, escape and then another 40 years work in progress. I think I can safely say I speak from experience when it comes to managing stress. Yes, I'll give myself that!

So, here are my Top Tips (for want of a better title)...

1. Protect Yourself

Get a killer programme of self care sorted now! Don't take, or give me, that crap about it being 'selfish' or about feeling 'guilty'. Just drop that story and get that

taking care of YOU, doesn't mean not taking care of anyone else. It means you can do

it better because you're in a better place. And anyway, how arrogant is it to think you

can sort someone else's sh*t out when you haven't sorted your own?

2. Get Perspective

At the risk of being contradictory (well, I'm human after all), this is a biggie. Don't get

in to the comparison trap. Remember, it's all relative. But, do think carefully about

what you're really experiencing. Is it stress? Or is it adrenaline, momentary

insecurity, fear of the unknown? Who or what can help you with that?

3. Get a 'Rescue Buddy'

I recommend this one a LOT because it's the best fix. Nominate someone to come

drag you out of the dark, the mire, the doldrums when you need it. Have a code (all

the best buddies have secret codes, right?) and don't be afraid to use it. That knock

at the door from a buddy who says "put the kettle on".

4. Do Something Selfless

This is kind of the bed fellow of Get Perspective. There are few things more effective

as a distraction from your own sh*t, than reaching out to help someone else.

Whether that's your rescue buddy, a neighbour or a few hours volunteering for a

local charity or charitable event, I guarantee you, it'll make you feel better about

yourself and your stuff.

5. Reach Out

I guess you'd expect me to say this, but sometimes you need independent, unbiased,

non judgemental professional help. By far the best investment I make in myself if in

my two mentors. One helps me with my business and my mindset, one with my well

being, spirituality and self care. So, whether you reach out to a coach or mentor or to

one of the organisations referenced below. Just do it. We're simply not meant to do

this stuff alone. If our ancestors on the Savannah had tried that approach, we

wouldn't even be here, would we?

6. Get A Good Toolkit

Having the right tool for the right job is priceless. So, start collecting power tools

now! Whether that's in the form of meditation, that breathing app you've been

meaning to download, mindfulness or a turbo powered coach or mentor (wink wink).

Just make sure you have resources to draw on when you feel the need, in case your

rescue buddy is off at the spa practising their own self care programme.

Go DO something....for you and for others. Awareness is great. It adds meaning to a cause and can even create a movement. But it's action that makes the change.


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