Chapter 3 Manage Your Stress

Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way.

Douglas Pagels

When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.

Winston Churchill

Stressed Out

You are exhausted. When you get home, you drop your work bag and realize you forgot to send an e-mail to your supervisor about an upcoming project. You groan as you run downstairs to your computer. The clock says 7:03 p.m. and you feel like you haven’t had a minute to yourself since this morning. As you think about your day, you realize, you haven’t! It is your company’s busy time so the last few days have been booked with meetings and a huge project, with a Friday deadline. You send the e-mail, make a quick sandwich for dinner, and sit back down at your computer. You are hoping to get a few more things done on the project before tomorrow morning. As you work, you receive text messages from a colleague who is working on one portion of the project. You answer her texts and think about checking Facebook but decide against it as you just have too much to do. Your status update meeting is at 9 a.m. and you want to be able to show extensive progress on the project. At 10:30 p.m., you shut your computer, go to bed, and have a hard time falling asleep because you are thinking about everything you need to finish this week.

Does this sound like someone you know? Many people today are struggling with the ability to manage time with so much work to do and personal/family lives to manage. Technology has certainly made working longer hours easier, as we are always in touch with the office. What we can tend to forget is the importance of managing our stress levels so we can function more effectively. In this situation, having no free time during the day may work for a few days but isn’t a healthy long-term solution. This chapter will discuss some types of stress, the effects of stress, and what you can do to reduce stress.