Most of you who follow me on facebook are familiar with my startup posts and photos showing the changes that are happening over here. It is indeed busy times, and it will most likely get even busier!
Even though busy can cause a lot of stress, I'm amazed at how calm and collected I feel. I'm happier than I have been in a very, very long time, I now have a "purpose" and there's never a boring minute! Stress is something I've had a lot of issues with in the past, starting at the age of 17 when I got my first epileptic seizure, a grand mal in the middle of class. I woke up with all my class mates looking down at me, not knowing what the hell was going on. After that I fell behind in school and my intense relationship with Stress started. Before that it was as if I was unable to stress and that was pretty nice. I've had to work hard to get were I am today. But I'm sure I still have a long way to go!
After upper secondary school I had a year off, like many others, and was confused about what to do with my life. Torn between decision on whether to stay or leave home/Sweden, which career to chose and so on. I fled to Stockholm to work as a photo assistant for no money, and as you can probably imagine it was tough. So I experienced stress with money. I had to give up what I thought was my dream and come back home, but when it was least expected, I got an offer to start at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. I went in a hearbeat!
Once again stress caught up with me. Stress from being so far away from home, from living with less than ideal people (halls ughhh), from the epilepsy and of course, being an A student (a pressure that I myself forced on myself). I've always had a fear of failure in things that really mean a lot to me, so when I, in my last year of Uni, crashed into the wall and burned out, that was pretty much the worst thing that could have ever happened to me.
But you know what? It wasn't that bad. The worst thing that could happen wasn't bad at all. And people didn't even care. I cared, but once I let it go and said, "screw this, it doesn't mean that much to me" I started the journey towards being able to control stress and stressors around me. Things can only stress me if I let myself care about them too much. And when I care about things I can't control, it is a lot harder, but I CAN let it go.
One thing that really made me make up my mind about not letting stress control me, is the fact that 100% of my epilepsy seizures seems to be triggered by stress.
At this point in my life I have more important things to do in a shorter period of time than ever before, but I have a feeling of harmony in me, as if it's just the perfect balance between surrounding myself with stressors I have control over and being able to use the support I have around me. That is something that isn't always easy, but makes us grow as people. We all have people in our lives that wants us to succeed, so don't be afraid of asking them for help when things are too much. Personally I've managed to "plan for stress" pretty well, as in I prepare before stress comes so that it becomes a non-issue, just a passing feeling rather than an apathy sinking it's claws in me. This fits well; if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
My advice to anyone that is experiencing the same types of issues;
Map your stressors
Make a list of things you think about, big and small. Collects thoughts over a few days, and when you feel "empty", sort them into categories. Must do's (or I'll be bancrupt/die/fail etc), can't control/out of my hands (family members living situations etc), things that can wait, things I want to do (because you have to do some things that you really like :]) and should do's.
Avoid your stressors
When you've mapped your thoughts a few times you'll see quite clearly what it is that stresses you out the most, and which things aren't worth stressing over. This means you will be able to plan better for things that you know will most likely stress you out. Things that you can't ignore that causes stress can be money, time, family and a whole bag of other things, but if you can point to a certain thing that stresses you, you're in control because you can now form a strategy to avoid the stress element. For example, if you experience monetary stress, you can make budgets, pay off the important stuff first, live a bit cheaper for a bit etc. If your income is just to low, then maybe you strategy should be to find a new job that pay you better. But it is always about priorities.
Face the remaining stressors head on
Once you've managed to map your stress, and eliminate the most unnecessary stress in your life you are ready to face your remaining angst, and yes, you will have the energy for it. Because when you remove all the unnecessary stress and let positive things replace it, magical things happen. You have more energy for those things that are actually STRESSY for real! Deadlines, family issues, money, jobs etc. Stress feels less stressful when you have energy for it :]