Many of you know I have I high stress job with long hours, and I work from a home office. I try to keep my life in balance by enjoying time with friends on the weekends, and hiking, and eating relatively healthy food. Plus I do a little yoga. This week, I had a house guest, and I saw firsthand the results of uncontrolled stress.
My friend is smart, funny, and very health conscious. But she has always been very volatile emotionally; she winds herself up into a tizzy and then has a meltdown. She stresses out so much her digestion is in turmoil, she can’t sleep, she gets sick. She wants a lot of support and hugs and I just can’t do that when I am working. Even if I am working in my home office on my computer, or on the phone with my employer/clients -- I am being paid to work. I can’t just stop work to deal with her crisis. (Mostly self created crises – this time she was agonizing over purchasing another rental property.)
She last visited about three years ago and she mostly stayed at her own place (she owns four rental properties in my city; one is a furnished condo at a resort that is for short term rentals. She stayed there). And she stressed out so much about her tenants and her properties that she ended up in the emergency room with an asthma attack, and then AGAIN in the ER with heart problems. I talked to her quietly and calmly after she returned home, and suggested she see a physician for help with anxiety and stress. That conversation actually went quite well; she said she realized that stress was destroying her health. She followed through to the extent of seeing a physician, but she did not take the prescribed medication. As is usual with her, she reads all the possible side effects and then won’t take any prescription drug.
This time she stayed with me for a week visit, because her condo was booked with paying guests. She told me she would be out while I was working. That wasn’t the case; and she steadily more and more stressed, then got very sick again. And I find her stress and anxiety and interruptions VERY difficult when I am working. I am now WAY behind on MY work projects. I love her dearly, I want her be well and healthy. But I think in the future I will just tell her that she can visit me on the weekends but that she cannot stay with me in my home when I am working. I will have to work at least 15 hours of overtime next week to get caught up on my work due to her interruptions (perceived crisis/meltdowns/tears etc.). That’s not healthy for me either.
So here's a reminder to all of us! Take time to distress. Enjoy the beauty around you. When you are walking with friends, stop to look at the flowers and talk about the glorious wildflowers. DON'T waste your life stressing over things that can't be changed. Try yoga; relaxation techniques; meditation; prayer; and seek medical assistance if you are so stressed you are becoming ill. My thoughts and prayers are with my friend, and with all who are suffering from an inability to deal with stress.
My positives for this past week:
1. I cleaned my spare bedroom
2. I cooked healthy food every night for my friend and me
3. I exercised a lot! at least 1/2 hour daily, usually more
4. I was cleaning the garage when my friend arrived -- she pitched in to help and now I have a clean garage!
5. I gave helpful advice to my friend in trying circumstances. I am trying to be a more kind and patient person.
In a half hour I am flying off to California for my mom's 94th birthday. In January we thought she never would make it to this milestone! Now she is out of hospice and doing well. Happy birthday mom!