What Causes You Stress?
Stress is not something that I do, well not anymore. Well, until these past couple of weeks.
Some moments of the greatest stress in my past had to do with money and the ending of relationships. Real panic would overcome me with the approach of a bill that was most likely going to be unpaid. A looming breakup, as I could usually tell when the end date was coming, or the real event could and did send me into major panic as well. Then there were the “regular” stress moments such as examinations, job interviews and blind dates. Granted the last, blind dates, was something that I rarely did and one of those things I will never, yes, I said never, repeat.
A couple of months ago, I wrote about ways to alleviate stress at Christmas. It was something that was relatively easy for me to write as over the years, seasonal stress was not something that I experienced refusing as I do to buy into the hype and commercialization of holidays. Valentine’s Day is another potential stressful time of the year for some, what with choosing a gift for a significant other or worrying whether you will get one or have a date for the big day of love. After the last fiasco that my now ex husband and I went through on our first Valentine’s Day six or so years ago, that is another thing that is on my list of “never to be repeated.”
So what caused me stress these last couple of weeks and how did it pass?
Economy In A Slump
Recently, I shared with you that the continuing fall in oil prices worldwide is having the effect of many people losing their jobs here in Alberta. This is a current reality in a few oil-producing provinces in Canada. Most of those laid off were directly employed in the oil fields/sands, on oil rigs and with big oil companies. All categories of workers are out of their well, very well, paying jobs. The pressure on social services and food banks is high. Last Sunday, the Prime Minister of Canada took part in face-to-face “question time” with ordinary Canadians and one of them was a now unemployed oil worker. His stress about the situation was real and quite frankly the Prime Minister’s response did very little to reassure him.
The rising numbers of unemployed is not limited to oil workers. The effect of the below $100, even $50 a barrel oil is seeping into other sectors of the economy. One of them is not-for-profits. A couple of weeks ago, one of my part-time team members told me that her full-time employer was closing its doors to the senior citizens it serves as funding from the oil companies has dried up for that not-for-profit. My own day job is being eliminated as another example of non-oil enterprises affected by the downturn in the economy.
The Stress Of Change And How To Reduce It
While the looming unemployment gave me a moment of pause, stress was not my immediate response. However, when added to my decision just the week before to move into a new home, taking advantage of the incentives offered as not many can afford high mortgages or rental rates at this time, the expenses started piling up. Still not overwhelmed, I continued with my plans, despite not having a new job lined up. My thought process was “I need to move as my living arrangement was driving me crazy and I needed peace.”
Switching priorities, rescheduling payments and adjusting my budget taking into account the possibility that come March I might not be working, at least not full-time, the move went ahead. Looking around my new place, I know that this is home for a while and that means a lot to me and a real source of peace. Love change as much as I do, this move I hope will be the last for a long while.
With my boxes and suitcases still unpacked, I hit the road running, attending one interview everyday over the past ten days. That was when my stress meter started going up. It was a lot to handle. The potential of not finding a full-time job to cover my expenses and needs was, surprisingly, the trigger. I have become accustomed to a steady schedule, working Mondays to Fridays, but as the flooding of the job market continues, it struck me that that might be an adjustment needed, a preference that I have to consider letting go. Stress!
After three almost sleepless nights in a nicely decorated new home, on the verge of being totally overwhelmed, this is what I did:
- Accepted what is.
- Adapted: I pulled up my calendar on my phone and created a new schedule that would allow me to work for the required amount of hours and still have enough time to write and spend time with my granddaughter.
- Adjusted my budget, not to cut necessarily but to see how best, wisely and creatively to use my earnings. For example, one possible job (second interview is this week) would be downtown and parking is expensive there. So I checked other ways of getting to work, if that job is offered to me, including park and ride the train or carpooling.
- Allow. I am somewhat of a control freak and sometimes forget that Life has shown me over and over that I am not in control of it. So, this fourth step of allowing is critical to reducing stress. It has always worked for me once I remove myself out-of-the-way. At 1:30 this morning that is exactly what I did, rolling over in bed and turned on a Bob Proctor affirmation video and was lulled to sleep. When I awoke, The Universe had done what it does best – took care of one of my major stressors. As I was writing this, my phone rang and an offer was made to me for a part-time managerial position!
Four steps and, while my new (and preferred) full-time job is not yet confirmed that should be happening this week or next as a couple of second interviews are scheduled, my equilibrium returned. Will these work for you? I make no guarantees but why not give it a try? Acceptance, adapting, adjusting and allowing – in that order – can be summed up in one word: Surrendering. That was a word that challenged me long time ago but once your small, limited, fear-filled thinking is out-of-the-way, “miracles” do happen.
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Have a great week!