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Sunday, March 6, 2011

That dreaded five letter word: S T R E S S

Stress is not a nice word. In fact, when I hear of people talking about how stressed out they are at work or at home, it irritates me. I think to myself, why don't you stop moaning and go do some excersise, take a long bubble bath or zone out and watch your favourite movie? Maybe it's easier to sit back and judge, and I guess I've been lucky that in the last 3 years I haven't had to deal with stress to such an extreme that it's made me physically ill. Until last week Thursday that is..

Before going into what happened on Thursday, I want to explain what happens when I get extremely stressed out. Every single person deals with stress differently, some cry, some scream and shout at those around them, and some just shut down completely. I get physically ill. The last time I was so stressed out, I was booked off by the doctor for something called Vertigo. (Vertigo is a type of dizziness, where there is a feeling of motion when one is stationary. The symptoms are due to a dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear. It is often associated with nausea and vomiting as well as difficulties standing or walking.) Having Vertigo is definently not pleasant. You wake up with the room spinning, your body is drained of energy, every little move of your head makes the room spin and you feel nauseous to the point of being sick. I was booked off for two weeks, and couldn't do much of anything. I wasn't allowed to drive a car or do any excersise. I could barely concentrate for long periods of time - which meant that I couldn't really watch anything on TV or even read a book. Not nice at all.

This past week has been a nightmare. Things at work are quite stressful. My colleague was off sick from Monday and I ended up doing 3 people's jobs. It may not sound stressful, but it's not simply doing someone elses paperwork. It was madness, to the point where I was getting in at 6.45am and working straight through the day without a break and barely eating. It's difficult when you take such pride in your work and put so much pressure on the level of work that you do, and wanting to please clients and staff alike. Wednesday night when I got home, I completely broke down. I was stressed to the point of being sick and feeling slightly hysterical. That's when I knew that that was it. I didn't want to be in a situation where I'm booked off for two weeks and can't do anything because of stress. Luckily, I've learnt how to listen to my body a lot better since then.  No one is going to pat me on the back and say, "shame, you're doing too much - relax". And yes, taking off two days sick leave probably wasn't a good idea with my colleague being off for the week and very bad timing, but at the same time I had to think of my health first.

I'm feeling a lot better now, having had those two days off to try and get my body back to normal. Going to work and doing a job to the best of your ability is important. But, if you get to the point where you are eating, breathing and sleeping your job then there's a problem and it needs to be addressed asap. I'm unfortunately not a robot, I'm only human and sometimes, actions speak a lot louder than words and you need to be selfish and determined to put yourself first.

No one is going to stand at your grave one day and go on about how hard you worked at your job.

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