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National Stress Awareness Day

Posted on: Wednesday, 6 November 2013

So, a certain lovely blogger brought this Blog Something Every Day in November challenge to my attention, and for one crazy moment I thought, I can do that, YEAH MAN, bring it ON!

And then I remembered that I'm a fan of of the Blogging Disappearing Act (see here, here and, well, pretty much every third post on this blog for further evidence). 

Foolish Laura. Overestimating your productivity once again, I see.

But then today's prompt was National Stress Awareness Day and I thought, well, surely I have something to say about that. I mean, I have a marking pile that deserves its own postcode, an exhaustion-induced twitchy eyelid and the seven worst weeks of the academic year in terms of slog-value ahead. Oh, and an ongoing IBS saga (glad you checked in tonight, eh?) 

Are you a stresshead? I am. I wrote a poem when I was eight and I can still remember one of the lines: 'I really am a worrier/I hate a telling off.' Laureate-worthy, I know. It's not so much the telling off that bothers me now, but the worrier bit's still true. I'm a people pleaser. I want everyone to be OK. I'm utterly obnoxious in the way that I believe that it's only me - no one else - who's capable of doing it, whatever 'it' is: marking the essay, putting up the wall display, whatevs. But in the meantime I'm smiling at everyone and trying not to offend them and worrying that I've trodden on their toes and....argh. It's a 'mare. I wish I didn't care so much - about an email to a parent, about my crooked teeth, about the phone charger being on the floor and not in the phone-charger-box (Hello Anal-Phone Charger-Obsessives-Anonymous, are you there?) in the drawer - but I do. 

And actually, that's a lie about wishing I didn't care so much. It's important to care. But not to the point of going completely bonkers, eh? 

So what words of wisdom do I have? Well, I'd start with DON'T follow the advice of a Deputy Head I worked with onceuponatime who said of another member of staff, "I mean, she said she was stressed. STRESSED? Pfft! I mean, every member of the Senior Leadership Team's got a prescription for beta blockers MINIMUM! It's how you get promoted in this school!" 

Um. Okaaaay. Life doesn't have to be like that, you know. 

Be strict with yourself. Have a cut-off point. Take a breath. Be appropriately selfish. Say 'no' when you need to so that your 'yes' means summat. Make a sign for your office door that reads 'DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL - GO AWAY' for when you want some uninterrupted time - you know, for marking, or staring agape at Buzzfeed. Make time to do something you want to do - paint your nails, write a blog post, go to a dogs' home and take one of those poor buggers for a walk - anything to help you come back to what you normally do with renewed vigour. 

And, in desperate times, make sure you have a well-scheduled trip somewhere - oo, say to London - to meet up with friends, go to the theatre, eat Mexican food in Soho and drink cocktails until it's the wee hours and an eye-rolling waitress tells you to DUFO*. 

And there you have my weekend plans. Eek. Can't wait. Hope you have something similarly lovely planned?

* It's an acronym. Got it?

**pictures from vhmckenzie here


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