27 August 2021

Stress vs. Stressors


One thing I've learned in the past couple of years is that there is a huge difference between stress and stressors. Stressors are things that happen, outside yourself. They are basic situations that occur in every day life. Money can be a stressor. Work can be a stressor. Health can be a stressor. Family can be a stressor. Lots of things can be stressors. Living in the modern world is going to expose you to lots of stressors every single day. There isn't much that can be done about them, things happen. 

Stress on the other hand is how you react to stressors and that is very much in your control. I used to be a chronic worrier and ruminator. I had the idea that if I didn't think about the stressor constantly, and basically let it control my life, I wouldn't come up with a way to solve it. I have since learned that not only is that not true, I don't even have to let the stressors affect me at all. I can ignore, though ignore is not the right word. Stressors have to be dealt with because they are usually problems or issues that need to be fixed/solved. But letting them ruin my life is absolutely not necessary. 

We just completed the 4th week of school. We are back in person and expect all the students to attend in person, there is no online option this year. I'm actually glad for that, I prefer to teach in person and enjoy the energy I get from kids. But a problem has surfaced. I teach my classes in a very hands on, interactive way. I don't use a textbook at all. Well, in the past 4 weeks a number of kids have been in and out due to Covid. They either are sick and stay home to be sure it isn't Covid. Or they have been exposed and need to quarantine. Or some such nonsense. How do we do hands-on, interactive content if there are kids missing every single class. Also, we have to allow them a way to make up citizenship points if they are out and since mine are based solely on participation, that was almost impossible. Last week I think I had around 20 kids out in total. Yikes!!!!  So a stressor has been how do I get these kids the assignments and keep them caught up without making double work for myself?  

Last week I let that stressor affect me. I developed a headache that just will not go away. It's not super bad, I can completely function with it, but it is always there and that gets old. Tuesday I came up with a solution to my problem. There is a site that has the experiments we do, and we do lots of experiments, along with some questions so that the kids can do at home what we did in class. I even came up with a way to deal with it. Every class I write down who is absent from that class. At the end of the day, or when I get time, I post the assignment to those students only in the Google Classroom. They do it and it keeps them up with what is going on in class and they earn their citizenship points for 'participating' by doing the assignments. Genius! I thought I've got it handled and this will work well. 

The problem is, I still  have my headache and it's now Friday. If it was caused by stress it should have gone away once I solved the problem. Then last night I noticed that my eczema was coming back. I get it on my hands in times of great stress. Ugh!!! What the hell????  Clearly I am still letting some stressors affect me and I need to get to the bottom of it. 

My self-care has slipped a tiny bit with the return to school. I really don't have time (or energy) to workout during the week and I've been slacking on the weekends. The first week or two I went to the trainer on Friday and the gym on Sunday. Then last week I blew everything off and didn't go at all and that's when things really got bad. The lesson here? I must workout to help keep my stress in check. Working out is purely physical and allows me to release pent up energy. This helps me deal with stress even better because there is no physical component to it. I can't go during the week, okay that's fine. But I can go 3 days on the weekend. Next week I have a 5 day weekend - that's an entire week. I can actually workout more than I work. 

I have not let mediation slip at all. I do that every single morning without fail. It has become an integral part of my morning routine. Thank god. 

Food is still kind of iffy. I need to take control of my food more. I have a hesitancy to do that because Hubby fixes all the meals. He cooks dinner. Makes the lunches. All the food he handles. But there are a couple of issues with that. First, he makes things I don't want to eat - like pasta the other day. And many times it is not enough for me. When I am working out regularly (which I will be soon) and my self care is on point, I eat a lot of food. Also, I'm kind of over the stuff he makes regularly. He has gotten into a bit of a rut and we eat the same kinds of things all the time. I need to come up with a way to convince him to branch out and do different things. Also, we spend an inordinate amount of money on food for 2 people. Our freezers are packed to the gills with food and yet we go shopping every week. Last month we spent over $1000 on food and there is 2 of us. WTF?   I'm seriously considering one of those food kits. We would spend about $80 a week and that would be around $320 a month and that would be considerably less than $1000. We would still need to shop because that would only be about 4 meals a week, but I thought if we do that not only will it cut down on the food bill but it would make it easier on him if he didn't have to think about dinner during the school week. I don't know, I'm going to talk it over with him at lunch today. 

Steps!! Steps are my nemesis. I cannot seem to get 10,000 steps in a day. Since returning to school my steps have greatly increased Monday - Thursday. But even then I can't hit 10,000. Yesterday I got 7500. I was on my feet all damn day and that is all I get??? I have discovered that my watch does not record my pacing which is really annoying. I can pace for 20 minutes and get 100 steps - that's not right. So I need to solve that. Maybe I can get a small FitBit and keep it in my pocket and see what that says. Just went to investigate and those are not so easy to come by. Crazy. But steps are something that I need to work on more diligently. I read one lady who was using a timer to time her steps. I wonder if I could use my excersice feature to track my steps while pacing. Hmmm.....something to consider.  

Okay, I have to get ready to go to the gym. I need to shower and dress. So I'm off. I feel a little better having gotten all this out, I just need to figure out how to ditch the stress completely. 

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