On a normal Monday morning in September I ended up in ER sobbing from the intensity of a piercing head pain! What a SCARE! Thankfully all turned out to be fine, but I clearly identified the culprit as Stress Overload. Here’s a Stress Checkup for both you and I today:
Stress Overload to Pay Attention to: Daily “Stress” is when you are caught up doing something that collides with your plan to be doing something else. Too much daily stress and calendar overload can wear us down. My personal stress was not any one activity, just too many good activities and assuming I could do them all. My body told me I was dead wrong.
Red Flags – Do you Have Any of These Signs?A red flag is a warning that things in your life are going off course. Whether it’s:
* Sensing a knot in your stomach. (Who says only kids get these going to school?)
* Laying awake at night when you are desperately trying to sleep.
* Disliking what you face each day and who you are becoming
1. Routine Skimming through Life. This is a warning flag when your desk overflows with paperwork, your email Inbox is larger than normal, and the dishes and laundry pile up at home. All symptoms I talk about in Simplify Your Life: Get organized and Stay that Way!
2. Words and Thoughts. When you hear yourself saying out loud or in your head, “I can’t do all this” or “Once I get through this project/season/program, next month will be better.” These are waving Red Flag words telling you you’re doing too much. Solution? Seek ways to cut back.
3. Ask, What Was Happening Before This? Review your life. Personally I had just finished five intense months writing two books, which was after a 3 week overseas trip, and then we had a family funeral. I never took a break and just kept plowing ahead. Emotional breaks are necessary!
Looking Back If six of my friends told me I had too much going on, I would have agreed â€¦ and kept going. It took a trip to ER with throbbing head pain and tears to finally wake me up to my life. BUT it only took two hours to calm down and immediately sort out my priorities: my health, my family, and my life calling to teach.
In 48 hours I resigned from three committees. One of my passions had gradually morphed into a larger than life load. I knew I couldn’t do it all, but I was trying by reorganizing my time, tell myself I could do it if I just worked harder on my schedule. It didn’t work. My head pain was proof of that.
Once I realized my time and abilities were limited, I cut back. And you can, too. It’s the basic principle of simplifying – don’t do more than you can do without leaving a margin in your life for rest and balance. If you’re not there, I highly recommend you make a change, before it’s too late.
It caused me to realize Red Flags of stress overload can be waving softly around us. We can ignore them – until it might be too late.
What are Stress Symptoms and Red Flags have you noticed in yourself or others? Leave a Comment below.