349 days: Stress Management, Part 1

Quick recap: I have a plan to raise $10,000 for some awesome organizations by Sept. 22, 2013. And squeeze in some training for Ironman Lake Tahoe (and other events).

Ragnar Northwest Passage registration is open. Four commitments are in, 8 more to go… If I get 2 more commitments I will register the team. I’ll post more specific details on Friday on what all this means…

Tri-ing for a Challenge is now on Facebook! Like us! We like you…

Yesterday (Sunday), I participated in the Hermosa Beach “Day at the Beach” Triathlon. I’ll work up a race report for Wednesday. This race was an interesting, somewhat unique experience for me…

I am usually pretty good at managing stress. I have a stressful job, a stressful commute, stressful training regimen, stressful fund raising campaign… A whole pile of small, large, and often self inflicted stressors just like the rest of you. The way our society is structured today dumps a ton of stress on us. In the best of times we can manage our way through from one stressor to the next and just barely avoid imploding.

And then there are times the stressors collide. The pin on your stress grenade has been pulled. RUN! We each handle the resulting stress explosion differently. My preferred outlet is to go for a swim/bike/run to work through that stress. Think it through. Put things back into perspective. But sometimes that is not an option. Often because the time commitments of the stressors won’t allow it… ironic, huh?

When the healthy outlet valve is not available, what happens? How do you respond? I tend to regress to being a 2-year old. Imagine a wee happy toddler that has been given a tasty cookie, and then has that cookie yanked away. Yep. Full on temper tantrum meltdowns. I yell. I make funny angry faces. There is stomping about. Big heavy sighs. Usually some kicking and punching of the ground or inanimate objects. Occasionally an alligator tear or two. The cats scurry away to warm, safe hidey holes. Theo follows me around with a “It’ll be OK, Dad” look on his face.

After a few minutes the tantrum subsides. And then I recover the stolen cookie. And eat it, savoring every last delicious morsel, taunting the world (or my little microcosm, at least). I have a cookie! Look at how wonderful this cookie of mine is, and you don’t have one! Ha!

Yep. At some level I guess I’ll always be that 2-year old. And I can guarantee the neighbors think I am moderately psychotic… or, at the very least, just barely stable.

But at least I now have that darn cookie!

How do you deal with the stress implosion? Tell me your story on the Tri-ing for a Challenge Facebook page, e-mail it to me, or share in the comments section below. The most “fun” stress related stories will be featured on Thursday, with a fun little game/competition… and maybe a little prize.

We’ll pick back up on this topic tomorrow… but, sincerely, send me your stories!

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3 Responses to 349 days: Stress Management, Part 1

  1. johnrieber says:

    All I took away fromt aht story is that you covet cookies…but a stress story is coming….

    As LSD would say… “I do care for the occasional cookie”. Actually, I will post a stress story or two on Tuesday. Today was just the cookie teaser… – JFO

  2. risiblegirl says:

    Wow- this will be a loaded reply. This is not a fun stress-related story for the contest. Just sharing why I empathize with you about being stressed to the limit. Boy, do I ever….

    I’m MAXED out in the work-stress department. “Big Fish” has had some major reorgs, leaving me with doing several people’s jobs coming from several different directions/orgs all at the same time with short deadlines. Being a contractor (if I want to continue contracting to them), I can’t say no or “bugger off”. My “boss” is one of the folks that has left the org so I have nobody in authority to put a “protective bubble” around me from the executives asking for things. I have to do what I’m asked and not ask questions. I don’t have the luxury of re-prioritizing or moving deadlines so I’ve been working 12-16+ hour days (kaChing, being self-employed, but NOT worth it) in order to meet those deadlines.

    This leaves no time (or brain power, frankly) to work on the looming 90 minute workshop I’m presenting on November 2nd. Add to that, shoulder surgery scheduled for Friday, which gives me a pretty good feeling that I’ll not have the ability to work once again on my looming presentation this coming weekend. I’m expecting I’ll be on some good drugs. 🙂

    Probably the biggest piece of evidence that my life is way out of balance: The hubs planned a ‘romantic weekend for this past weekend and that didn’t go so well. I ended up taking a cab home by myself from Seattle at midnight Friday night due to unforeseen discord (and you KNOW that’s not how we roll, so stress is at an all time high). The hubs stayed in Seattle thru Sunday and had a good time doing what he’d had on the agenda (and I’m glad he did). I’d made a promise to him that I wouldn’t work that weekend and I wanted to keep that promise even though we weren’t together having fun. A promise is a promise and I didn’t want it to appear that I went home just so I could work. 😉 Not to worry, all is OK in the casa now (largely in part because I’d kept my promise and I think that helped him to realize that I care more about “us” than anything else).

    I’m depending on this presentation on Nov 2nd to be spotless and exciting because I’m hoping that it will turn my business into a whole new dimension (off the shelf product that requires little work compared to the big payoff). If I say I have fun and engaging training, then I’d better have a fun and engaging (and informative) workshop, or nobody will believe me. Plus I need to look like I know what I’m doing.

    People are paying almost 1k to attend this thing and there will be some very big names in the industry speaking as well, but they will also be attending my workshop which makes me nervous. I don’t want to come off like an idiot, and my presentation isn’t anywhere NEAR being done.

    How do I deal with it the stress? I’m hyperfocusing on work and trying not to let anything else get in my head. That’s always been my fall-back stress mechanism… put laser-focus into work and work as many hours as possible so all I have time or capacity to do is work and sleep.

    It’s not a method I’d recommend, but it keeps me from stewing about it. If I ‘do’, then I don’t ‘stew”. Yay! I’m a poet!

    Oh, and a cookie sounds pretty good.. I don’t mind if i do.

    Sleepless in Seattle…..

  3. Suzanne says:

    When I get stressed, I get busy.
    If it’s work, I just buckle down and do it. Tonight that means I don’t get to go out and play. But the work I will get done will make me feel better tomorrow and the rest of the week so I guess it’s worth it.
    If it’s emotional stress, I run or do P90x or bike or swim. Something so exhausting that I literally can’t think. The issue is still there later when I recover but somehow putting some physical pain and time between it and me seems to make it shrink just a bit.
    Too much to do? I make lists. Lists of lists. Yes, it is a bit neurotic but if I can get it on paper, get organized, have a plan in place, well that’s half the battle.
    And when my stressors compound, well that’s when I just have to do something for me. Get a massage, open a special bottle of wine, eat really good chocolate, a pound of cheese and some great bread.
    Once I have conquered the stress, it’s celebration time. It is imperative to celebrate the victories even if it’s just a small self acknowledgement of survival. 🙂

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