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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?