I don't suffer from stress, but I meet lots of people who do. I think it's a result of being in any kind of official capacity, because those people always seem extremely stressed whenever I meet them. Being stringently antismoking seems to cause a lot of it too. Someone should do a study.
Anyway, I happened across an article on stress which gives advice on what to do about it. It is unfortunate, I think, that the coping strategies described have the acronym STRESS in capital letters. I don't think that's going to help.
Here are the strategies:
Share your worries, swallow your pride, and admit and talk to someone about your worries (It's good to talk). A problem shared is a problem halved!
I've always been of the opinion that a problem shared is a problem doubled. Problems are better solved, circumvented or ignored. If it can be fixed, fix it. If it can't be fixed, don't worry about it. Incorporate it into a new way of life and then it's not a problem. It might not work for everyone but it works for me.
Take stock of your life. Are you living the life you really want to live? Remember, this is the only chance you've got! it's not a dress rehearsal! Do want you want to do. It's your life!
Good advice. If only it was easy to follow. I'm doing a job I love doing and earning money at it. I won't be patronising Mr. Ferrari's shops any time soon but I earn enough to live and to buy decent whisky. I don't actually want any more than that. Yachts? Private jets? No thanks. Someone once posed the question; 'If you won the lottery, what car would you buy?' My answer was 'If I won the lottery I wouldn't have to go anywhere, now would I?' I could even have the whisky delivered. Decadent or what? Honestly, if you gave me ten million quid, I couldn't spend it all before I died. I'd probably die sooner but there'd be a really big smile on my face. Cremation could be risky too. I'd be hyper-flammable.
I was lucky. Paid off with a good redundancy package, which was the only time I have ever paid higher rate tax, too old to be bothered with moving around the country for another job and too old for most places to employ anyway. I had been thinking about being a rogue scientist for a long time but couldn't amass the startup money. So now I had the money and no job. It was the kick up the backside I needed to make me do what I really wanted to do and I had the finances too.
Few are so lucky. It's all very well saying 'You want to be a playwright/actor/astronaut? Go and do that'. It's not easy to leave a paying job, even if it's crap, and take the chance of ending up penniless. So yes, it's great to spend your life doing what you want. In my case it's being Victor Frankenstein - and being paid for it - in a rented lab, but without the hunchbacked assistant and the table that rises to the ceiling in storms. If I can get those, I will. Most cannot do what they want because the government and local councils keep taking the money they are trying to collect to realise their dream.
You have to be in a place where you have no other options before you can take the hard option, and nobody is going to that place voluntarily. If I had not been made redundant I would still be working on what I was told to work on rather than what interests me. Sure, I'd have had a non-variable income but honestly, it wasn't anywhere near as much fun. But I was lucky. Millions are not. If everyone could do what they wanted to do, it would be a wonderful and far more relaxed and less violent world but we don't have a political party offering that option. All they want is our money. So you won't get de-stressed by giving up the day job unless you either have no option or you win the lottery. Good advice, but not very practical.
Relax. Get a hobby. Haven't you always fancied doing this or that? Well, do it! A hobby can be totally absorbing and therefore rewarding and relaxing!
Hobbies are good but most require time and money. There are cheap ones but if your tastes lie in things like railway modelling on garden scales, you're going to be shelling out huge amounts. Unless you're inventive. I have an 'O' gauge engine that's solar powered, it was intended for the garden but I couldn't work out how to pass the path in the middle. It runs whenever the sun shines. My neighbour suggested a tunnel under the path. I looked at him in silence because what I was thinking would have made the Devil blush. The clean version - It's solar powered, idiot.
It's a good suggestion all the same. Hobbies take your mind off work. I build models although there hasn't been time in the last three months. Hopefully I'll finish those Daleks now the work has calmed down. I also modify standard models for a laugh. I still take delight in showing off that 1:24 firetruck that I converted from left to right hand drive and, if you look through the back window, you can see the markings on the gear stick. Yes, I go way over the top but that's the fun of it. Building what it says on the box isn't a hobby. It's following orders and that's what most people do all day anyway, and what causes them to be stressed in the first place.
Exercise. Basically, you should walk at least 30 minutes each day, that's 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back non-stop!
Why? Purposeless exercise doesn't de-stress you. Especially if you feel obliged to do it. Sure, just being outside and wandering aimlessly until you happen across something new can be fun. Some people like to go rambling or hiking and that sounds interesting. They get to see things and visit places. Just going out of your front door until you are 15 minutes away and then coming back doesn't sound like anything more than some State-defined 'unit of exercise'. I have the feeling that a rigid 30-minutes-every-day regime would cause more stress, not alleviate it.
Say no! Do not take on extra work. Tell them you won't do it. Think of you, your health and your family!
Oh, that's a great idea. Try it at your place of work at a time when every company, public and private, is looking to cut down on staff. Then try to sleep at night.
For me, I take on work when it's available. There can be months at a time when it's not. Having no work is not relaxing for me because I'm not on a salary. These days, if I was, having no work would be scary because there are cuts looming and if you're not doing anything you can't be essential.
I would advise not taking this advice. Excessive work can be stressful but no work at all is worse.
Shop at a pet store! You'd be surprised at the amount of medical research which shows that having a cat, dog or pet in the family has reduced stress levels!
Not for me. Cats don't like me. I could live with a dog but couldn't look after it properly. In quiet times I'm here all day. In busy times I'm not. I don't work nine to five, sometimes there's no work and sometimes it's more than twelve hours a day. It wouldn't be fair to even have a budgie. Maybe a bat...
Fish are good. Not tropical ones, they need a lot of care, but there are some fancy goldfish around. All they need is a tank (not a bowl, you can see them better in a flat-sided tank and they have more room) and fish food. Maybe a filter so you don't have to change the water so often but otherwise, easy pets to keep. They don't care if you vanish for a week as long as you leave one of those food blocks in the tank. They are relaxing to watch and need little care. Best of all, they don't ever need to be let out or walked and they will never gouge the stuffing out of your sofa or shit in your bed.
If you feel that you are suffering from stress, see you GP, but do not accept long term tranquilliser prescriptions.
I might go and visit my GP, if I can remember who he is, and tell him I'm stressed about my lack of stress and might therefore be mad, and am in need of some free drugs and does he have any of the really good ones I've heard about? I will tell him how much I smoke and drink and repeat that despite now running two businesses single-handed (the writing stuff has shifted from hobby to business now that I'm in danger of making money at it) I don't feel stressed at all. What's the betting he doesn't make the obvious connection?
Ask for help from a psychologist, stress counsellor, relaxation therapist, qualified hypnotherapist or even alternative therapist. If these do not work, you must go back to your GP for professional guidance.
Or you could treat yourself to a bottle of some really top-notch booze, a pack of fine cigars and a greenhouse. The latter is essential in our climate if you want to sit around outdoors and just chill.
Get a good book or even a DVD, smoke, drink, let the whole world sort out its own problems for a couple of hours and pretend you're not involved in it at all.
It's so much more effective than all those rigidly defined stress relievers that you have to concentrate on. As I said, it works for me but if stressful rigidity and adherence to unwavering rules is your thing, have fun with that.
I'm going to have a smoke and a whisky.
It won't be the first of the evening. Note to Dylan Thomas - it's not a record any more.