Stress shouldn’t be normal!

October 8, 2014

So earlier this week I uploaded to my YouTube channel about stress – focused more on how to get rid of it. If you haven’t seen the video and want to check it out, you can click right HERE.

If you’ve seen the video, you might have gathered that I’ve been feeling a tad stressed and exhausted over the past few months. I didn’t go into too much detail in the video, and I won’t go into a lot of detail here either, because let’s face it, no one wants to read about me moaning about my life! I’m well aware that other people are in much worse positions than me; although I admit that I do forget that sometimes just like everyone else. To sum it all up, things have been rather full-on since the start of the year. I started a new job in January which I let get to me way more than I should, and I started another new job in the same company about 6 weeks ago. Glutton for punishment, I hear you say. I’ve had things happen in my family, and lots of change within my circles of friends. I’ve been trying to get my YouTube channel up, running and established, plus I started up this blog as well so I can keep you guys updated with what’s going on with me. Some of these things are good, and some are bad. Either way, it can feel like a lot to deal with sometimes. I know that everyone gets stressed. Like I said in my video, everyone has different stressors in their lives; from school or college or university or work, to family or friends or partners, to things like self-esteem issues. Sometimes it can be one thing, sometimes it can be a combination of different things. But what worries me sometimes is how this has been normalised in recent years.

I’m gonna focus on work/school/college/university. We all know that you can get stressed over an assignment or project or deadline and you start to panic that it won’t be done in time and that someone will have a go at you or you’ll get in trouble if it’s not done correctly. Some people are better at handling this sort of situation than others; some people can shrug it off whilst others can find themselves in tears or feeling ill, or even experiencing anxiety attacks. But in a lot of cases, people don’t talk about how stress affects them. And so nothing is done about it. I’ve had friends who have been so stressed over their university dissertations they’ve made themselves ill. I have friends who have worked such long hours in high pressured environments, they’ve become completely exhausted and gone off sick. I have friends who have felt such pressure, either from themselves or other people regarding exams that they’ve dropped out and had to seek help. I’m not talking about one friend for each example, I’m talking numerous friends. These situations aren’t isolated. Yet nothing is done about it. In any environment, everyone should feel that they can hold their hands up and say “this is too much” AND ACTUALLY BE LISTENED TO. In a lot of workplaces, a person’s workload isn’t looked at until they are signed off sick with stress, no matter how many times they tell their manager they can’t cope. By then, it’s too late. It’s the same in academic environments. Before I dropped out of uni, I contacted my student adviser person who I’d been assigned when I started my course. Although I wasn’t stressed about my course, I emailed him to tell him I wasn’t sure whether to continue or how I should review my options and asked to arrange a meeting. He didn’t reply. What if I had been a student who was seriously stressed regarding the upcoming exams who failed because he couldn’t be bothered responding to them asking for help?

Then there’s the theory that teenagers today are so much more stressed than teenagers 50 years ago. What are schools doing about this? When I was at school, we got one class a week of Personal and Social Education. That was basically a lecture saying “don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, if you really must have sex then wear a condom” with the odd bit of careers advice in there (by “odd bit” I mean I met the Careers Adviser person once in the 5 years I went to the school. I was 14 and didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do). The rest of the time we had to look at our “core skills” and how we could improve those. I’m pretty sure everyone had the IT stuff down to a fine art, we could all speak and we all studied Maths – I don’t really see how this helped anyone. What about teaching us something useful? Like how to handle these stressful situations? I sat 2 sets of exams over the 5 years. Where were the lessons in how to study? Don’t get me wrong, they brought in some company to teach us how to remember stuff – but why isn’t that part of the curriculum by default?

Stress is a very touchy subject for me, mainly because of a previous job I had where I could see pretty evidently how much stress can affect people. I’m hyper-aware of how situations at work affect me and I’m no longer afraid to tell my managers if I’m struggling to cope with my workload. And my managers have always been supportive when I talk about this with them. If someone is being unreasonable with their demands, I tell them. Diplomatically, obviously, but I refuse to bend over backwards for someone who I know won’t return the favour. Why should I get stressed out by someone else’s incompetencies? It’s not always easy to keep that frame of mind though, and it’s taken me years to get to that point.

I guess if there’s anything that I’d like people to take away from this post, it’s that stress shouldn’t be seen as normal in either school or work. If your workload is so high that it’s having an impact on you, then you need to speak to someone about it. It can be really difficult to do; it takes a lot of courage, but if you struggle then you run the risk of making yourself ill. Plus, everyone else thinks you can handle it, so they throw more at you, and so the cycle continues. Something’s got to give somewhere. Don’t let it be you. If things aren’t that bad but you just want a helping hand in relaxing and taking your mind off things, then you can check out the Boots WebMD page I spoke about in my video right here: http://www.webmd.boots.com/stress-management/default.htm

I’ve ranted enough. Funnily enough, I feel a lot calmer! :)

 

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