Getting High on Stress

Oh Twitter, how you love to distract me from my work.

Of course, I think this Monday most of us New Yorkers were either in a bit of a “Hurricane Irene” fog or unable to make it into the office and therefore trapped in our respective homes.

(Sidenote: I am in a chocolate/wine fog from sitting on the couch all weekend with Michelle, making our way through our Hurricane Survival Pack and watching every chick flick known to man. This morning in spin class, my legs felt like tin…then the instructor played a Selena Gomez song at the top of a hill…It was a rough class, to say the least, but I persevered.)

Therefore, I willfully allowed a few tweets to distract me during work today, figuring that I was in a similar boat with those that were still transfixed by all of this non-stop Irene coverage (On a serious note, while I’m very happy NYC made it through unscathed, I’m definitely thinking about those that were affected and hoping for the best for all).

When Women’s Health tweeted the following, I just HAD to click on it.

“Do you stress yourself out?” Why Women’s Health, I do believe you must be talking directly AT this Sometimes Healthy Girl. (Proudly voted “Most Stressed” out of Burke High School’s Class of 2001 -495 kids and that’s what they remember me for. Now, that’s an accomplishment.)

I wholeheartedly admit that not only am I stressed out 90 percent of the time, but also, most of that stress is self-imposed. So, when the tweet said, “Why some people get hooked on stress and how to get an attitude adjustment,” I knew the article was a must-read for this Sometimes Healthy Girl.

Talk About Eye-Opening!

Kudos to Women’s Health for delivering a quality tweet that made due on its promise with a very informative and thought-provoking article. In short, according to the article many modern women live by the misguided belief that “stress is synonymous with success”, Basically, most women (particularly in NYC) think if you’re not totally wiped out (aka working until 10 pm every night fueling yourself with Reddi Whip, coffee and other random excuses for food), then you’re not doing enough. Oh, and we get a certain “high” from being stressed. Go figure.

Stress gets us high!

The article even highlights a woman who thrives off people asking her, “How do you do it all?”

There are too many good points in this article to highlight them all (so I suggest you click here and read it), but my takeaways are the following:

  • Wired to Stress: Women these days are wired from an early age to believe we’re supposed to be stressed.
  • Stressed Out = Productive: Somewhere along our little path to becoming certified basketcases, we essentially become addicted to the adrenaline rush of stress and think that being stressed actually means we’re being more productive, rather than hurting ourselves healthwise, in the long run.
  • Couch Monsters Are Bad: While many of us freely admit to succumbing to the Couch Monster and the Bachelorette, we also feel guilty about doing so, and in the back of our mind, consider ourselves lazy for not working every second of the day.
  • Must Sacrifice Sleep for Success: We actually think that the less sleep we get and the more we work ourselves to the bone, the greater the glory of the success.
  • Stress IS Sometimes Healthy: When stress causes you to give yourself a necessary kick in the a**, then it’s helpful. Sometimes Stressed = Healthy. Constantly Stressed = UNhealthy

No More Enabling this Sometimes Healthy Girl

After reading this article, I had one thought: GUILTY AS CHARGED.

Hello, my name is Jamie and I am Stressed ALL THE TIME. And I like to talk about it too. ALL THE TIME.

I’m one of “those” women from the article (and if you’re reading my blog, it’s highly likely that you are too). I blame it all on The Devil Wears Prada. I’ve always thought if I’m not pushing myself to the limit to achieve my goals, then I don’t deserve anything, and my dreams won’t become reality. (Look at how hard Andie had to work just to gain Miranda’s respect! Vogue doesn’t come for free and neither do dreams right??)

This is what it's always supposed to be like, right?

Thanks to Women’s Health, I now realize how delusional this thinking truly is.

Well, that’s it. I think I’ve been inspired to make a little change.

No, I’m not going to quit my job and travel the world a la Eat, Pray, Love.

I'm not there...yet. Give it another 10 years, please.

And no, I won’t be living every day like the “Lazy Song,” bonding with the Couch Monster (although that does sound tempting).

And, of course, I’m not going do something crazy like stop drinking coffee, give up the Sometimes Healthy Living Blog or quit watching the Bachelor Pad and Jersey Shore. (which inevitably kills braincells and takes away from precious sleeping hours.)

These guys light up my Thursday nights with their antics. I'm not givin' them up.

But, I will make a small change for the greater good of humanity/my sanity.

The Stress-Buster Jar

The article advises us stress “gloaters” to catch ourselves in the act of saying things like, “I’m so stressed out.” By proudly announcing these words, we’re enabling or stress and sort of reveling in the glory when what we REALLY should be doing is getting s*** done. A small tip, but what a great idea!

I must utter the words, “I’m so stressed” or similar phrases at least an average of 10 times a day.

But no more enabling, my friends.

I’ve decided to follow the advice of this wise article and stop glorifying my stress. Not only that, but I’m going to turn my self-indulgent stress declarations into a way to benefit others.

Enter the Sometimes Healthy Stress Buster Jar.

Yes I decorated my Stress Buster Jar with Post Its. It was late at the office. I was resourceful.

Here’s how it works: Any time I make the following statements, I’m going to put a whopping $5 into my Stress Buster Jar to remind myself of exactly how costly these words can be. Any of the following phrases will cost this Sometimes Healthy Girl 5 bucks:

  • I am sooo stressed!
  • I am sooo worried!
  • I am sooo tired!
  • I am sooo overwhlemed!
  • Etc.
At the end of the month, I’m going to collect the money and donate it all to Girls on the Run Manhattan (GOTR), an organization that teaches young girls how to channel their stress and anger and empower themselves through running. You can read about my experience with GOTR here.

As you can see, there is already $5 in the jar. That’s because tonight, I was telling a coworker about the Stress Buster Jar and then followed it up with a conversation about flying home where I stated, “I am so stressed to fly home twice in one month. Flying is SO stressful.” And with that, I made my first donation to the Stress Buster Jar.

I’m already correcting myself in conversations to ensure I don’t drop the “stress bomb.”

Do I think this will change my ways completely? Probably not.

But frankly, I think it’s a very manageable way to attempt to change the way I approach stressful situations. And quite honestly, I can assure you my friends, coworkers and family will appreciate the decrease in “stress-talk.” This will also mean that I can’t talk about stress on the blog…I haven’t figure out how that’s going to work as I feel my Stressful Sometimes Healthy Self is a big part of this blog.

So, let’s see how this goes. Let’s see if talking about my stress less will indeed DECREASE my stress level. Game on.

At the very least, GOTR will be receiving a hefty donation at the end of September.

Feel free to join me in the “No More Stress Talk” movement. You can make your own little jar (it can be much prettier than mine – I’m not the most crafty kid on the block.) and donate the proceeds to a charity of your choice. It may not only help your sanity, but also benefit some people in need and give you a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Let’s do it. Get Involved.

(P.S. – Right before I finished this post, I got a bit “concerned” about a work situation and vented to my mother…I owe 5 more bucks. Ooops)

Question:

Interested in creating a Stress Buster Jar? Let me know and perhaps we can pool our money together to make a bigger charitable donation.

If you’re not interested, that’s cool – it’s not for everyone. What’s one small thing you can do to eliminate some stress from your own life? Now…do it!

19 Thoughts on “Getting High on Stress

  1. I totally clicked the link and read this after you tweeted about it. I definitely need to scale back on the stress and get to the sometimes stressed/healthy zone. I’m starting a new job tomorrow so I’m sure the stress load will change immensely then. Once I start making some money I would be interested in starting a stress jar. I’ll let you know when I get back in the green and can contribute!

  2. Wow thanks for sharing the article, thats sooo true!! Im guilty as charged as well :( Its sad that most people actually thing stress= a productive, happy person!! I never thought about the fact that complaining about stress actually makes things worse and doesnt solve anything!!! Ill definately be more aware now, who knows maybe Ill actually solve problems instead of whining about them :)

  3. I have a post-it directly in front of my work computer that says: “Too blessed to be stressed.”

    A friend handed off the saying to me years ago, and I wholeheartedly believe it!

  4. This is my first time on your blog and I love it!! Not to mention this GREAT article (thanks for the summary btw). I am totally guilty of always feeling like im in waaay over my head and you provided some great tips. Like you, I refuse to give up watching Bachelor Pad (how much do you want Kasey and Vienna gone? lol) because it’s relaxing and I end up thinking “wow my life is nearly not as messed up as these peoples’ lives haha jk :). Anyway, love your blog and I am def bookmarking this!

    • Thanks so much for reading and for the kind words! I hope you keep reading and I’ll go over and check out your blog ASAP.

      The Bachelor Pad is so good and I could care less that those idiots STILL haven’t voted off Kasey and Vienna – it’s still entertainment, that’s for sure.

      Thanks again for reading and hope to see more of ya!

  5. I loved this post! I like the stress buster jar – and donating everything that goes in it is an awesome idea!

  6. I love this! I definitely feel like I am in the same boat, and sometimes I forget that I am in charge of how I react to stress….
    Anyway, I may have to create my own stress jar too!
    Love your blog!

    • If you do, let me know. We can pool our money all together and make a big donation to charity. This way our mindless “stress bombs” will benefit others :-)

      Thanks for stopping by – makes me so happy to see new people around these parts.

  7. What great thoughts! Thanks for sharing that article and it’s really inspiring for someone to admit where they’re at and then make a change. $5?! Wow – that’s a great amount to help bring some change to your habits and to help others! Your photos and captions were hilarious, by the way. ;) It’s so true that we view ourselves as needing to be like Andie OR like the Eat, Pray, Love girl but there should be some type of balance between the two…super applicable post. Thanks for sharing!

    • Aw, Bonnie you are just the sweetest! Well, I figured $5 would be enough to entice me to change my ways AND ensure I am giving GOTR a nice amount at the end of the month.

      I love making photos and captions – sometimes I wish I could do whole posts that way but it always takes me too long. I’m headed over to your blog shortly – I’m lovin’ it!

  8. um this is so true! guilty as charged, as well. if I go home after work instead of opting for dinner/drinks and try and rest I wind up more stressed because I’m thinking of everything I could be doing. DOH.

  9. Jamie! I dont know if you remember me but we sat together at HLS! Im so glad I found your blog so now I can learn more about you!!! im glad you are ok after Irene!!!

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