Richard Maun – Accounting For Stress

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Accounting For Stress

16 December 2019

It’s a truism to say that from the moment we wake up, to the moment we fall asleep, we are under a stress load.

Up, shower, breakfast, hussle to work, wonder if we locked the front door, did we forget to let the cat out, are we going to be called out on that email we haven’t quite got round to answering yet?

Work, life, home, kids, money. All going round in our heads all the time.

Not always bad of course, but always there.

There is always something to think about and plan for and make a decision about.

Unless we are on the beach, under a warm sun and pleasantly anesthetized by a couple of glasses of lunchtime wine, then we are definitely a bit stressed all of the time.

It’s important to recognise this.

We learned as young people how to stay safe in the world. Perhaps by always being helpful, or by never making mistakes, or by never showing emotion. Nobody taught us what to do, we simply worked it out for ourselves in our family unit.

Now we are adults we tend to replay these behaviours, without really noticing that we are doing so. We are just being ourselves.

However, as life gets busy and our stresses pile up, we can get ourselves stuck ‘inside the washing machine.’

On the inside we go round and round, unable to open the door. We are dizzy.

Our behaviour may start to get a little crazy. We may shout at people who ask us a reasonable question. We may start more and more projects and go into a kind of overworking mania. We might find ourselves in the middle of a supermarket and wonder what we came in to buy.

When we experience these extremes it’s important to find a way to notice them. They are clues that something really isn’t right. We cannot dismiss them as ‘just a bad day’ because to do so means ignoring our rising stress levels.

If we see them in a loved one then we need to be persistent and find out what is going on and not accept ‘oh I have a bit of a headache’ as an acceptable answer.

If we don’t account for the true level of our stress then we may be heading for a cliff edge. If we don’t take ourselves seriously then the wheels may come off and we might crash into a metaphorical ditch, or go over the cliff.

There is no shame in being stressed, or overwhelmed by life and all that it throws at us.

We do not need to feel humiliated that we cannot cope.

Coping can be the worst thing, because it invites us to keep going, when what we really need is to stop, or get help, or have a rest.

We cannot open the door to our own personal washing machine. We need to call a friend and ask them to do it for us. Maybe they will give us a hug and pour us a nice cup of tea. (Tea isn’t going to solve anything, but it is a pretty good place to start).

Being stressed is being human.

Accounting for it is a grown up thing to do.

We all have to learn to grow up again and be the adults our younger selves always wanted us to be.

There’s no need to struggle on alone and no shame in asking for help.

If you know someone who is very stressed then be a friend to them. Go and get the kettle on. Help them to get out of the washing machine.

Or, if that sounds too much for you, then show them this blog and invite them to be honest with themselves.

If they need professional support then they’re welcome to get in touch with me, or any other suitable professional.

Talking cures are a joy. Often hard to start and yet when the words flow, the tension eases and life seems a better place.

We owe it to ourselves to account for the stress we are really feeling.

We can all find a way to take care of ourselves.

Next week: The Easy Tree


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© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact