We teachers joke in the staffroom that kids have made our hair turn gray.
We all laugh it off, but underneath that joke we believe, to a degree, that it’s true. In the high school classroom, and in many of our jobs, we face stress and pressure. Whether it’s the high demands of running a business like Alpine Integrated Medicine, running a school program or classroom, or meeting that next release deadline, our work presses on us in ways that we don’t always consciously consider. I joke about the kids, (both mine and other people’s) but the real issue is stress. Dr. Brooke’s job as a Naturopath here on Redmond Ridge is incredibly stressful as she has so many people depending on her advice, time and expertise, and because she works very hard to fit as many people in her day as possible.
So what? So we have established the baseline that work is stressful and stress is bad. What’s the point of this article, you may be asking? Well, I want to take the next step and think about what happens when we leave our workplaces and go home.
Let me ask you a question: Have you ever come home from a day at work where you have to deal pleasantly with all sorts of difficult people, and when you get home, your spouse or kids say something, or ask a question, and you respond in an annoyed or aggravated way?
I had a moment the other day where I got home and Brooke asked me a simple question, something about if I had taken something out for dinner, I think, and I responded like a total jerk. I got defensive, as if Brooke was attacking me for not having dinner done. I was frustrated, because in my little whirlwind of a mind, I felt like I had a crazy day, and now I was getting harped on about dinner too. My mind shouted, “Enough! Give me a break already!” I rubbed my temples and took a deep breath. The next morning, I realized that I was being ridiculous. Why could I not see that in the moment?
The answer is simple: we bring our stress home. We bring our stress home and it never
ends up being a good thing. Maybe it’s because we feel safer at home to be “ourselves”, but for whatever reason, we are much less conscious about our levels of stress when we are at home versus at work. The question becomes: what can we do about it?
As discussed at length this month by our docs, stress can manifest in headache and tension. The pounding in our head can make it tougher to be ourselves, and leads to us acting in ways that encourage more stress, not less. What I’m encouraging everyone to do, is to develop conscious routines to deal with daily stress. Know yourself and what you need.
For me, the drive home from work, complete with unapologetically loud music and singing, is my way of “exorcising the stress demons”. Working out, mountain biking, gaming online, and even some focused deep breathing all find their way into my personal stress-relieving routine. Dr. Brooke has been attending weekly Yoga classes at the clinic. My parents walk the dog. The point is this: make some time for you. This is easier said than done. Some people will find literally any excuse to not take time for themselves. The thing is…there is no excuse to not take a little time for yourself. The result of doing so is a happier, healthier, less-gray-haired you.
Thanks for reading, thanks for a great month of June, and as always…AIM for Health!