When I am stressed out, I binge. The type of binge depends on the type of stress. I may over-sleep. Or over-eat. Or over-exercise. Or over-TV. Even within those categories, there are variations depending on the stress. When I over-sleep, am I not sleeping well at night because I am anxious, so I have to nap a lot? Or is my mind so full and exhausted that I am sleeping for 13 hours at night?
Here is what I have learned about anxiety and stress:
- Don’t sweat the small stuff… and it’s all small stuff.
- A run is just as therapeutic as a nap – if you can get there.
- Overeating only feels good when you’re actually doing it. You’ll regret it later. And later is now.
- Give yourself a deadline for letting stress take over. Sometimes it’s ok to watch Disney movies all day, or to reread your favorite book, just because you’re overwhelmed, sad, or tired. But give yourself an end point. “I will watch this movie and then I will get up and do something.” Cry. But then fold your laundry. Nap, but then go out and go for a hike.
- In the wise words of my mother, “Everything feels worse at night.” So don’t make any rash decisions when you’re tired. I know people say don’t go to bed angry. But for some of us, sleeping on it can really help us calm down, gain perspective, and realize that this, whatever it may be, is most likely “small stuff.”
Enough with the vague. Looking for a new job and feeling your deadline quickly sprinting towards you is like jumping up and trying to grasp a limb of a tree to evade incoming wolves, only to miss over and over, as the wolves get closer and closer. And each time you jump, you’re convinced you’ll catch it. And each time you miss and fall, you sprain your ankle, so jumping again hurts more. And the wolves get closer. The wolves of destitution and bills and fear of the unknown. (If you, too, are picturing direwolves, then we can be friends.)
Now that my current job knows I will be leaving at the end of June, I feel free to say that job hunting is the worst. Especially if you’re an introvert. Knowhatimean?
Applying everywhere, excited, caffeine-esque high
Stress type: overeating
Not hearing back from anyone, depression, “no one wants to hire me,” “I might as well look at Starbucks,”
Stress type: over-napping, over-TVing
Getting an interview, finally, and reading up about the company / position / history; worrying about what you’ll wear, how you’ll get away from work for a few hours, how much you’ll sweat while meeting new people
Stress type: over-exercising
Not hearing back, despite following up, despite feeling really good at the end of the interview, despite them saying they definitely want to have you in for a second round, etc.
Stress type: and we’re back to over-napping and over-TVing
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
So, don’t sweat the small stuff? Ok. I have a job now. And I will for 3 more months. Ok. But, as the cliff edge approaches, I have bills that have to be paid and very little wiggle room. “But this is your own fault for not planning better / living within your means.” Yes, I know. Thank you for rubbing it in. I shall return to binge-marathon-watching Property Brothers now.
Best immediate cure for stress:
Best long-term cure for stress: Plan better. Save more money. Exercise.