Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stress – sometimes it takes a while to relax

Vacation is almost over – tomorrow we start our drive home. Instead of doing the 20 hours straight as we did on the way here, we’ll be stopping for the night half way through.

Although I’ve been enjoying myself since we arrived, it was only yesterday that I actually felt relaxed. I wasn’t exhausted or fatigued – I was feeling good, I felt happy and I really and truly enjoyed the day. It took *five* days for me to feel that way.

According to an article on WebMD :
(taken from the article)
- Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
- Seventy-five to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
- Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, or arthritis in addition to depression and anxiety.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
- The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

Why are we so stressed? Does life do it to us? Or do we do it to ourselves?

I think we do it to ourselves. A group of people can be exposed the same types of stress and some handle it well, others get stressed and anxious. I know in my case, the more stressed and anxious I get, the worse I make it by stressing about being stressed. It becomes a vicious circle.

Yesterday didn’t start as a good day. I hadn’t slept well at all, as I hadn’t for the previous 2 weeks. The longest stretch of sleep I could get was about 20 minutes each and every night. Of course, by the time I would get up in the morning, I’d be exhausted and frustrated by not being able to sleep. I’d try to catch a nap during the day, but that didn’t help my stress or mood.

Here on vacation, the sleep wasn’t getting any better at all and yesterday I got up feeling defeated. After sitting on the balcony, enjoying the view and weather, sipping my coffee, I decided to stop saying how tired I was and that I would focus on feeling good and not feeling anxious or stressed. I said to myself that I was going to lie down around 9 a.m. and take a nap. I would take a good, solid nap and I was going to wake up refreshed. And then, I was going to have a great day. I was going to feel relaxed and calm. I didn’t use any negative words in my thinking, I didn’t say what I wasn’t going to do (not feel tired, not feel stressed) but what I *was* going to do.

Guess what happened? I took a very refreshing 45 minute nap and had the best day of my vacation. We took a walk on the beach (wonderful!) had a great lunch, went to visit plantation gardens (beautiful) and had another great dinner. Not once did I feel like I had to curl up and go to sleep. Not once did I feel stressed or anxious. I felt great.

Of course, vacation is just about over. But that’s ok because I think I learned something valuable yesterday to take home with me. Every time I start to feel overwhelmed or stressed, I will think about the positive ways I’m going to deal with my feelings, not what I’m *not* going to do.

As for today, it’s raining. Kind of a bummer on our last day. But I’m not doing to say that it’s a shame because we can’t golf or we can’t go to the beach. I’m going to say, ok, it’s raining, I wanted to check out some local shops and stuff.

Have a great day everyone.

News for Today:
FDA Approves Nasal Influenza Vaccine for Use in Younger Children
American's TB didn't spread on flights: WHO
Crib bumper pads pose suffocation hazard: U.S. study

Drivers with dementia a growing problem, MDs warn
Parents' participation in medical decisions linked to self-efficacy
Cervical cancer screening: Too many are left unprotected
Antibiotics overprescribed by GPs
Alberta taking slow approach on HPV shots for school kids
Nighttime dialysis reduces blood pressure

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Greetings from sunny North Carolina!

We are having a lovely time in sunny and beautiful Sunset Beach, NC. Except for the horrendous thunderstorm we had to drive through near the end of our 20-hour drive here on Friday night, we have had beautiful weather. Hot, but not too hot. The golf courses here are amazingly beautiful and very tricky to play. So tricky that I played worse than I played since I first learned how a few years ago!

So, this morning, my hubby and our friends are going out to golf while I, alas, work. I know, it’s my vacation, I shouldn’t be working, but I do have a project that’s due for review on Thursday and sometimes we have to do what we have to do. It’s ok, I played so badly that I’m much happier to stay behind.

I even have some news links for today:
Take an aerobics class, lower blood sugar: study
Kids in affluent countries more likely to have allergy-induced asthma: study
Daily pill may save blood clot patients