I work when I’m not working …..

stress

I’m on the 3rd week of my annual leave and I feel amazing! Fatigue, both physical and cognitive, seems to have disappeared and other symptoms have also reduced. Don’t get me wrong, I still can’t walk very well but I feel stronger and more sure on my feet.

The fear seems to have reduced as well. I went to my sister’s house last night and trundled round happily on my scooter without a care in the world. Even though she only lives around the corner I usually don’t feel confident enough to go on my own and imagine all sorts of mishaps that could happen to me on the way. It got me thinking about what had changed and why I felt so well.

Although I haven’t been at work for a few weeks I’m still busy as the kids are off school and my husband works a lot this time of year. I’ve also been on holiday which means outings, late nights and drinking too much alcohol. Although I did need a rest day while I was away I managed it all the rest of the time and came back feeling refreshed and relaxed.

So, given that I’ve been as busy as usual, why is it that being off work seems to be doing me so much good? What is it about work that makes me feel so ill?

The answer is stress.

I was so stressed out that I felt like a coiled spring, ready to snap at the slightest provocation! I don’t think I was coping very well at all and needed a break so much before I killed someone!

I want to work as I feel the benefits outweigh the negatives even though I let myself get stressed out. I like having money to spend and save and I like the structure and sense of purpose it gives to my life. I work part time hours as I worry about my health and have my children to consider and I don’t think giving up work is an option for me.

What can I do then? I used to swim 4 times a week and would love to feel the stress dissolving from my limbs as I ploughed up and down the lanes. The, ”Me time” involved in going swimming is also important for mental well-being. A lack of mobility as well as heat intolerance make swimming impossible now and I’m usually too worn out from working to contemplate physical exercise.

Maybe I need to incorporate some exercise in order to prevent myself getting dangerously stressed out again. I’d love to hear from other MSers about how they deal with stress. What works for you?

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2 thoughts on “I work when I’m not working …..

  1. Abi, I was an assistant city editor with Gannett and writing was something I have loved since I was 12. Writing was my stress reliever and I felt like I was actually doing some good, depending on the story. Within a year of being promoted I began to have all the symptoms folks go through before the MS diagnosis happened. Anyhow, once I began to have that life-changing fatigue, I knew I had to step back a bit. I was fortunate to have a company with great benefits so I retired early and could keep my benefits but I was bored and felt unfulfilled. I ended up freelancing on my schedule, especially when the “monster” of inadequacy came to me. It has been so much better! Just seeing my name in print boosted my self-esteem. So, my suggestion, if it is possible for you to do so is to just cut back a little. It has made all the difference in the world to me, allowing me to still be active mentally, but also able to rest when I need to. I enjoy your blogs so please don’t give up on those. Thank you for your candor in describing some very personal issues that many of us face. Take care of yourself…. you remind me a little of myself since I also worked in the criminal justice system before I found my real love of journalism… Marti

    • Thanks Marti! My boss and I are looking at ways I can work from home some days which will help.
      I think I’ve lost the ability to de-stress too and let it eat me up! It’s hard when you can’t exercise isn’t it!
      I’d love to write more as I also really enjoy it.

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