It’s funny how stress works.  It can creep up on you gradually creating a sick feeling in your stomach or a heavy weight on your chest; or it can slam you in the face with an unexpected gust.  But is stress just our response to a situation or is it something we create?  

I was starting to feel stressed earlier in the week with everything that is going on at the moment.  My weeks and months are filling up fast.  With a first birthday party to plan for this weekend, a pile of uni work, orders to finish and post, a holiday to plan (totally essential of course)  and work prospects in the coming months; I had that creeping stress crawling up my neck, starting to make my breathing short and my attention scattered. 

But really.  What am I stressing for?  In this case I can choose to be stressed or I can choose to be really busy but just plod along and get things done eventually.  Nothing will be done faster by stressing.  In fact its more likely to happen slower because I am a killer procrastinator and will likely find some more important things to do, like alphabetize spices or something.

This was pretty clear after my trip to the grocery store yesterday.  Honestly I was a hot mess.  After carrying Eamon through most of Woolworths and pushing a very full trolley at the same time (we are having massive teething meltdowns at the moment), I thought I had lost my phone.  Whilst unpacking my entire trolley Eamon completely lost it, so I gave him my keys to hold. (Bad move)  Finally I found my phone at the bottom of the trolley, repacked and was set to go… no keys!  So I unpacked again and finally found them hiding with the bread.

I was stressed. I was rushing. I lost stuff.  I looked like a madwoman unpacking her groceries in the middle of shopping centre.  So my new plan is to relax and just go with it.  Everything will happen when it’s meant to.

Obviously everything this week is about the big party.  Somehow I managed to invite over 50 people to a first birthday! Clearly my one year old is a social butterfly with lots of friends.  I put it out to Facebook yesterday asking for survival tips and got some really great ones, including ‘outsource!’ and ‘don’t worry about the food, you aren’t giving them a 3 course meal, they will only eat what you provide!’  Brilliant!

But I think the best tip was not to stress about making everything perfect (which of course the perfectionist in me wants to do).  Of course this does not mean I’m not going to spend all day making tassel garlands or another day tomorrow making cardboard box aeroplanes.  I want to do all those things because I think that’s about putting effort into a day for one of my most favourite people.  But at the same time I am remembering that when it comes down to it, if it doesn’t get done it is no big deal.  Eamon won’t mind, nor will anyone else who comes. And my time is better spent holding a teething baby than pushing myself to get any more than possible done. 

It’s funny, that simple change of perspective, of intention, has changed my whole attitude towards the party.  I actually can’t wait for Saturday now. And I really want to be out there making things out of cardboard boxes now, but you know, it’s midnight and that sort of crazy behaviour is probably frowned upon. 

So what are you stressing over today?  Is it a choice?

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11 Responses to “Stress.

  • I think sometimes is a choice – Eamons birthday party is a great example of that – but sometimes it us something that physically manifests in us whether we want it to or not. Getting stressed about a one year olds birthday, or the perfect outfit to wear put for dinner, or because you have a basket of washing to fold before your visitors arrive is very different to being stressed about your mortgage or a loved ones health, for eg….

    • Bettina Rae
      10 years ago

      I think you are right Amy. And it’s a different kind of stress as well.

  • For Jarvis’s first birthday, I invited over 60 people, and that was mostly just family. But on the invitations I asked for not presents, but instead could everyone bring a plate of food to share. That way we got a great variety of food and I did not have to do any cooking. I did take a lot of time with the invitations, hand made, decorations, again hand made, but the rest was done by others.
    I did this because I am a huge stress bucket. So much gets to me, often money related. Stupidly the more stressed I am the more I want to clean/tidy. It is a stupid thing, if I can control my environment, then I can control my stress. NO! It just makes me more stressed.

    ps gotta love the shopping melt downs

    • Bettina Rae
      10 years ago

      I do exactly the same thing. When I can’t control what’s happening I try to control my environment. (it never works, just makes me more tired!)

  • stress is hard to avoid and I am a worrier so it comes more. but you are right, we choose to be stressed! hope the party goes well – i’m sure it will be adorable!

  • Hope that birthday party goes swimmingly and your stress fades away.

  • I am sure the birthday party will be great…he will be surrounded by people who love him and that is all that really matters!

    And I am already stressed about May!
    Two weddings to go to.
    One second birthday party to host.
    An assignment for uni.
    Plus work and all the usual household stuff.
    And I also have to pack and get on a plane with Toddler C for the twenty four hour flight home!
    I can feel my blood pressure rising!
    I keep telling myself I will get through it and once I actually arrive home, it will be wonderful.

    • Bettina Rae
      10 years ago

      How exciting! You’re going home! I think it’s the worst when you are still months away from the event because there is not much you can do to get organized yet.

  • I completely agree. I refuse to become too overwhelmed with stress or sadness. I think it’s important to recognise the feelings, know what happening and why, but not let that overwhelm you. Recently I received some tough news regarding my infertility but I’ve turned it around and looked at it positively and I feel so much better. I’m not sure what would have happened if just let myself go… But I just saw the pictures from the party and it looks like you’ve pulled off one amazing event 🙂

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