Anyone who knows me knows I’m a pretty high strung person.
“We need to decrease your stress to get better results…What makes you stressed out,” asked George, my new trainer last Tuesday.
“What doesn’t stress her out,” Ben retorted from behind his lap top (open concept layouts are a blessing as well as a detriment).
Now, I try to be as grounded as I can, but often my discipline gives and I run away with myself. After her! I want to cry out, but its usually too late. And yesterday, it made a lightening fast get-away.
Recently, I thought I was doing pretty well despite Pure + Simple owning my soul (I insist, in a good way), taking two university courses (Obsessed with finishing – even with the extra 6 hours of class and 3 hours of reading per week killing me) and starting new edits on my book for its US release (which has been really daunting). Then there’s keeping my blog up (as well as planning upgrades and redesigns I want) and trying get into this whole twitter thing (which is harder than it seems – kudos to those who can).
But I guess I haven’t been as zen as I have hoped, because today when I a notice that my driver’s license was being suspended, I had a good cry for about an hour. After that hour, I proceeded to get annoyed with myself for wasting a precious hour of time, and got what Ben calls “stroppy”…I think my boyfriend thinks I’m crazy.
In the notice, as the Ministry of Transport explains it, I have been informed I have an outstanding ticket. A ticket that was paid – but unfortunately, because I paid online on the due date itself, it is said to be outstanding (they send me this letter over a month later?). Plus they curtly add that the late fee will also be $150. #^&!
Of course, I should have paid it right away, but I left for California – and in the flurry that was my life before my trip (we almost missed our flight!), it slipped. It came back to me in L.A, in the middle of the night, waking me up in a sweat. While I paid it the day I got home (which was the due date) – evidently, it was still too late.
“This is so humiliating!” I cried to Ben “Its going to look like I had a DUI or something on my record…or I’m one of those people who try to evade paying society! But I’m not – I got my taxes done early this year for God’s sake!”
But my blubbering isn’t about the ticket, or the suspension, like many women, its about the fact I feel like I have all these things to do, deadlines to make, new ideas to wrap my tense mind around – and I don’t know if I can keep it together. Well, I actually take this letter, in its ugly courier font, as proof that I am not.
And of course, when I spoke to my mother on the phone she simply advises me to “next time pay your tickets on as soon as you get it”. How enlightening.
But I am not alone, most of my clients are breaking out in acne or in rosacea because our bodies are spitting our the stress any way it can. And before I get all angry grrrl on you all, I will just say this – I’m complaining and I don’t even have kids! The mother’s I see often have eczema so bad they can’t put anything on it without a burning sensation. How are we suppose to juggle it all? Work hard, raise families, and somehow find time to shave our legs.
But while I can easily see how busy I am by the length of my leg hair, pay for it also in more permanent ways. Like many customer at Pure + Simple, I have concerns about eye bags or a new-found line between my brows (another thing to stress about). And while it may seem like simple vanity, much of the time, I think a tiny part of us knows that we are more concerned with the fact that these “imperfections” remind us that we’re tired, overwhelmed and anxious….and that we know we’re the problem.
A friend told me last week that she gets worked up about frivolous things all the time – and she takes full responsibility. “I hate when I’m in a rush (which is a lot), it gives me major anxiety. But when I do have a free hour, I insist on filling it with something: an errand, a short workout at the gym, anything. I don’t want to “waste it”. But usually I pencil in something that fits exactly into that hour, making me stressed out; because, again, I’m in a rush now…”
Compulsive stressheads? Stress addicts? “Idol hands are the Devil’s workshop” taken a bit too far? We need “Stress rehab” instead of VH1’s Sex Rehab. I’d watch that. Because, seriously, if they had a bit more coverage on how to overcome the depleting behaviors of distress instead of half of the ridiculous horse and pony shows on these days (which make more stressed and feeling alienated by our modern culture), we’d probably be a little more grounded.
But while everyone blames everything from insomnia to stomach ulcers on stress, what is the answer? Yoga? Meditation? Regular vacations? Dear friends, if any of you have insights, stories or suggestions to how to minimize stress and stressful patterns, please post – I’m all ears!