Stress: more is being demanded of you than you feel able to deliver.
For much of my adult life I was a one-trick pony. I simply mixed sound for bands for a living, my touring schedule dictated when I was away, and being home meant not working. No kids, no complications, no stress. Simple. And that was the way I liked it.
So naturally, the universe wasn’t going to let life stay that way for long, and sent a bunch of wonderful things my way to mess it all up.
I married a fantastic man (from the other side of the world, with a lovely daughter).
I discovered yoga (and wanted to teach, as WELL as mix bands. And then undertake an in-depth, 21-month-long study of yoga therapy).
I rediscovered my passion for writing (articles, which got published, and meant working to deadlines).
So much for my mantra of doing one thing well rather than two things badly!
I am not a natural juggler. I like to do one thing, exclusively, for a period of time, and then stop and do something else – like touring. But that’s not how my life works now. These days I tour, I teach yoga, I write, I’m training as a yoga therapist, and although I’m based in London, I’ve spent large chunks of time over the last 9 years living in Australia – which is a bit of a commute, let me tell you! Don’t get me wrong, all of these things are fabulous and I welcome them with open arms – they’re my choices, after all – but I do sometimes feel overwhelmed.
So naturally, I’ve been figuring out some coping strategies…
Take the bull by the horns
This takes courage, but it works like nothing else. It’s the grown-up equivalent of turning on the light to check out the monster under the bed, instead of lying there terrified and hoping it goes away, and it’s particularly pertinent when it comes to finances and deadlines. It’s not fun at the time, but when I put my big-girl pants on and take an honest look at exactly what needs doing, however ugly, it loses some of its power to stress me out. I feel stronger. Because armed with that knowledge, I can…
…Make a plan
What have I got? What do I need? Where’s the shortfall? Whether it’s time, money, support or something else, when I know where the gaps are, I can figure out what I can comfortably manage and what needs extra assistance. I might have to….
…Ask for help
Ahem. Ok, I’m really bad at this. But I can confirm that, on the odd occasion when I’ve gone crazy and tried it, the world did not in fact stop spinning. Hands up, I must try harder with this one.
Fortify your resources
If the definition of stress is being asked to deliver more than you feel capable of, then can you fortify your resources? This can be anything from getting up 15 minutes earlier so you’re not rushing, to taking private tuition in a professional area that you know is a weak point. If you haven’t got enough, how can you get more? Alternatively, is there a way to reduce the demand so what you do have goes further?
Done is better than perfect
Again, an area where I must try harder. I like perfect, a lot. But perfect is time-consuming, and sometimes things just need to get finished to the best of your ability in the time available and then be put to bed. And sometimes the source of stress is internal – we often hold ourselves to far higher standards than other people expect.
Which is why I’m going to publish this now and not spend an hour editing it. If the world stops spinning, you can blame me for a grammatical oversight. But I’m guessing it won’t….