Tag Archives: Stress

Coming into the light

I went through a dark time a few months ago where I felt like my kid needed 50% of me, my husband needed another 50%, my job needed its 50%, my other family and friends needed 50%… so I was either doing fantastically at a few aspects of my life and failing miserably at everything else, or I was failing at everything at once.

Also, notice how there was not a percentage of demands made for myself. Every day, I made choices to sacrifice my own sleep, emotional and mental well-being, diet, exercise – forget about fun and relaxation, ha! – for someone or something else. I went days and days without a chunk of time for myself – or, if I did have a moment to myself, it was clouded with guilt and indecision.

And people from different aspects of my life were not kind. I was told how I was failing and in what ways. People disappeared from my life instead of hanging in there. More importantly, I got no offers of help. Maybe it’s because I tried to shield people from how hard it was for me.

These conditions resulted in occasional emotional blow-outs to my loved ones or having to take mental health days from work with no notice to my colleagues because I. Just. Can’t. Take. It. Anymore!

Then, something happened. I started to communicate what I needed. (I’ll be honest, I did not often do it in the most eloquent of ways – yelling and breakdowns and tears don’t often fall into the category of optimal communication in my opinion, but if I’m at least stating my needs through it all, I say: whatever works.)

I’ve read that one should push through the inconvenience, the discomfort, the conflict of communicating your needs (should I say, especially women?) in order to realize balance in life, but I couldn’t, I just couldn’t… until I had no choice to do so because the alternative – the status quo – hit such a level of unacceptable that there was nothing else to do.

Was it inconvenient, uncomfortable, and conflict-generating? HELL YEAH IT WAS. And on the other side, I have the support of a loving husband, a happily dancing-tantrumming-singing-tantrumming-laughing child, more respect in the work place and among clients, and sleep.

Y’all, I said I’m getting some sleeeeeep.

Who knows how long it will last? Life will throw another curve at me, boy do I know it, but I will relish what I can for now. And if I need something from you, you’ll hear about it.

 

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Stress buster: have a little faith in your people, in yourself

My husband and I took a childbirth class this weekend at the local hospital where I expect to deliver. Maybe it’s my A-type personality, or perhaps it’s arrogance (I will own that possibility), but I don’t see why I shouldn’t work until my due date (or the week of my due date), especially if I’m tying up loose ends and can work from the comfort and flexibility of home.

Granted, this is the first baby for me, so ok, I don’t know how it’s going to play out. But why should I assume the worst instead of assume the best? It’s not the way I live my life, certainly not the way I run my Division, and it’s not the way I want to lead my family.

Will it be uncomfortable? Sure, but what the heck am I going to do otherwise? Sit at home and stare at the walls? Read until I’m bored? Do house chores? Cook? Just… blog? (ha)

I can tell you that I’d much rather interact with my excellent colleagues and staff and clients, be churning out strategies and leading tactical implementation of huge commercialization plans!  I’d rather be measuring our successes, identifying improvement possibilities and putting things in motion. It’s exciting! It’s engaging! It’s stimulating!

It’s stressful!

Yes, it can be stressful. But I’ve always had a high tolerance for stress and uncertainty. It’s what’s gotten me to where I am in my career, and will I believe help me keep my sanity as a parent. But in the last weeks of pregnancy – indeed in these last months of pregnancy – I’ve had to let go of my of that stress and trust my colleagues to carry the torch for a bit while I go over here and push out a small basketball from my belly, feed and change the little thing, and generally spend a few months figuring out how to find things like balance and equilibrium and sleep.

Perhaps stress comes from lack of control. But what is that lack of control but a lack of trust in your colleagues, your clients, or yourself? Stress comes from uncertainty, sure, but can it be actively managed with preparedness and faith?

The “danger” I hear about working so close to the due date is the stress and whether it has a negative impact on the baby. But what if the maternity plan is in place, and everyone knows what they’re supposed to do? Is there really anything else to do but continue to be supportive to colleagues and junior staff, and gently but forcefully tell them I’m not going to tell them what to do, but that they should tell me what they think they should do? Then… leave to have a baby and have a little faith?

Interestingly, I suppose this approach probably goes for both the Board Room and the nursery room, the Executive role and the parenting role. Have a little faith!