Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Arranging Furniture in My Head

I've recently been under a lot of stress. In fact, it's gotten to the point where it felt like my whole brain wanted to short-circuit. (Not going to give a whole blow-by-blow again, but if you're wondering what it's like, you can take a good look here.) 

The thing is that I've been having to function under increasing levels of stress for the past two years, and I kind of reached a breaking point over the weekend before last. The funny thing is that I'm actually not as stressed this year as I have been for the past two, but at any rate, I haven't been in a place where I can honestly say that I can truly breathe easier in the past two years. 



This is going to be hard to say. 

Anxiety is a real thing, and last Wednesday was that thing raising its head in a way I hadn't experienced in years. 

I think it was a build up of little things that kept growing and growing until one extra little thing made me feel like my whole life was getting wasted and that I'd be trapped watching said wastage taking place forever. 

The good thing about all this was that this particular freak-out meant that I woke up to the need to evaluate my life and see where I can smooth things over in order to maximize the odds of me breathing easier in the near future. 

So. What this means for me is cleaning up house, so to speak. Which mostly centers around me using the three public holidays I have (one on this past Monday and two on Easter) to do a ton of things I've wanted to do that I kept putting aside for other stuff. 

It's not necessarily a nice feeling, because right now, I'm feeling like I'm in dire need of a vacation. So in between, I'm taking plenty of breaks and doing things I enjoy. But overall, the idea is to give myself fewer things to worry about, so I can deal with the big stuff more efficiently later.

I'm also instituting changes to my current life-style. Such as... I'm not going to get fired for not looking at mails after hours. So I'm not. Nor am I going to look at mails before 8 a.m in the morning. Nor at lunch. And if I've done my duties for the day, I'm going to use my available time to write. (Don't worry. I am actually allowed to do that by contract.) 

Which means I'm going to start setting myself some goals for my job in the same way that I set writing goals. I need a way to measure my progress. (Which will also help me not feel like I have nothing to show for my time at the end of my work day.) 

But yeah. That's where I am at the moment. 

How are you doing? Do you also take time to evaluate and adjust? How do you deal with pressure?


  1. Being able to recognise the signs and then do something positive to help yourself is fantastic. Setting work goals is a brilliant idea. Sending lots of calming thoughts your way :-)

  2. Misha, this is exactly what I have been going through... I don't know how to get on top of it... and the same as you, I have had worse times where stress was insane and I dealt with it... right at the moment it is a bunch of little things... I am evaluating too... I have a lot of changes I need to make. Good luck with your goals and changes too xox

  3. My stress has gotten to me in the last 6 months. I started grinding my teeth at night which led to terrible earaches and a tooth abscess. I realized my writing goals were putting too much pressure on me. I've scaled back and now take time to enjoy life a bit more, watch TV, eat out with friends, stop pushing myself so hard. The grinding stopped. Ambition is a good thing, but not when it wrecks your health and takes the joy out of life.

  4. Dealing with stress, often when circumstances and events causing it are beyond your control isn't an easy thing to deal with, especially long term.

    Hang in there!

  5. Stress sucks! But recognizing you need to do something and implementing a plan is a good way to beat that stress. I've had to do some evaluating lately when my editing for clients was taking away all of my time for writing/editing my own work. This weekend I was finally able to focus on myself and my characters. It felt good.

  6. It's need for balance. Good luck finding it. I think you're on the right path setting up some boundaries in your life.

  7. I'm glad to hear you're taking action toward handling your anxiety. I hope it works out well for you. For me, it's been a process of stepping back from everything. Granted, I don't have much of a social life, but I have less stress. I hope your anxiety lessens in the weeks ahead!

  8. You are such an inspiration!
    I love that you shared your journey and now your solution.
    Stress is a killer and finding balance at home and at work is difficult. At least for me, because at work it felt like the eyes of the world/boss was judging my every move. At home I just failed to keep up with everything.
    Love that you're using goal setting to solve the issues. It does work!
    My son and I just set a series of goals that will help both of us achieve some peace of mind. No more running around in circles.

  9. Good plan! Keep work stuff within the confines of work. Don't take it home.
    Sometimes a meltdown is good. My wife claims she tries to schedule one every six months or so for good measure.

  10. Not doing work stuff outside of work hours and making sure you get a lunch break sounds very sensible to me. I hope that helps at least a little.

  11. I'm sorry to hear that stress has been kicking your butt, but it sounds like you're starting to get a handle on it. Refusing to let your work load infringe on your personal time is a great place to start. I wish you much success in getting things back on a nice mellow even keel again.

  12. These moments are necessary. Better to notice now, before the anxiety and the stress does serious harm. Take it from me. I now take things in stride and focus on the fun of each task.

    And you can write at work? Nice. :)

    Remember to have fun! Life is short. Every day should be filled with wonders.

  13. I was in a similar position three years ago and work followed me home each night, at weekends and during holidays. So pleased you are taking positive action to overcome the stress. Feel better soon and keep us updated. Just shout out when you need words of encouragement and keep the faith. Have a great weekend!!

  14. We do have to recognize our limits. And take positive action as one of the above commenters said. And we do need to take time to have fun. In almost 76 years I've never been very good at that. So you do it!

    And thanks for your comment on my lost opportunity story. Your post kind of echoes it. Relax and have a happy weekend!

    ann @

  15. For me there are two parts to my stress - worrying about what I'm going to do, and worrying about what I'm doing. Like you, I had to confine work stuff to working hours only. Shutting off the part of your brain that worries about work things outside of work hours (aka what you're going to be doing)... it's a beautiful thing and goes a long way. Glad to hear you're taking some steps to bring your stress levels down. I mean, it's either that or start a Fight Club... and I think you're better off with your idea.

  16. I was stressed and anxious years ago because of my day job and the people I worked around. I switched places, took on fewer burdens, rejected people who want to overwhelm me, and I'm doing a lot better now. So much stuff is done on the computer now that it's easy to say we'll take a few minutes checking email, but then it turns to much longer.


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