Stress. We all know what it is. For most of us, it is as much a part of every day life as breathing or eating. The definition (as found on Google), “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Kinda vague and ubiquitous right? What are adverse or very demanding circumstances anyway? I had a 30 minute battle royal with my 19mo old over pants and weather or not we were going to wear them… talk about demanding circumstances.
Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart is famous for the phrase “it was hard to define, but that I know when I see it”. For those of you that know this colloquial expression it came from the case Jacobellis v. Ohio and was referring to a censorship issue, but that is a topic for another time.
I bring up this famous phrase because that is my definition of stress, I don’t know exactly what it is, but I know it all too well when I see it. The problem is, I don’t always see it. Sometimes it has to be pointed out to me by someone, usually my wife. This is the kind of stress that concerns me the most the kind I don’t seem to be in control of.
Have you ever been in this situation? I am not just asking the young parents out there, anyone can succumb to this kind of stress. When you snap quickly at someone for no reason, when you just don’t feel like going and doing something today… all the times when you just don’t feel like “yourself”.
I am going to assume everyone reading this has some form of stress in their life… so how do you deal with it? One simple way goes back to the definition, and removing yourself from the situation that is creating the stress. It might seem like the no-brainer solution, but it is often the simplest. One of the first things they teach you in any parenting class is if you and your new baby aren’t getting along, put the baby down in the crib and walk away. I thought it was the most boring piece of information, but as a new parent I found myself having to do it on more than one occasion.
If you need help dealing with stress, don’t be afraid to ask. To paraphrase Prof. Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books, help is always available to those who ask for it. I am not ashamed to admit that I have been in therapy. I would still be in “the process” if it weren’t for a few external factors. But once those are resolved I will find someone new and go back to it. I am a better person when I am in therapy dealing with my stress. Some people run to alleviate stress, some like to knit, some people read… whatever it is you do, just do it. If you need help dealing with the stress of every day life ask for it. This plea if you will goes out to men especially. There is no shame in asking for help, trust me.
Life causes stress, but you know what… it is totally worth it. There are countless resources for dealing with stress, I invite you to do a Google search in your area. Hopefully as the weather gets warmer and the sun starts to shine almost all of your stress will melt away! If it doesn’t that’s OK too. Just make sure you deal with it.