I’ve been trying to figure out if my stress levels have passed an acceptable level.

There are some unfortunate signs they have.

In case you are unaware, here are the top ten stress-creating situations:

1. Divorce/Breakup.
2. Bereavement.
3. Losing a job.
4. Wedding planning.
5. Work.
6. Kids/Family.
7. Debt.
8. Commuting.
9. Studying for exams.
10. Pregnancy.

I’m trying to find a source for order of most to least stressful, and how that’s determined. For example, with kids/family, I imagine that being the parent of a special needs child trumps my family/kids-related stress. If you’re not getting divorced, bereaved, unemployed, or married, does work automatically jump to number 1?

Not that it’s a competition, but you know what I mean. I hope. I haven’t been sleeping well. I’m not even sure I know what I mean.

On this list, I “suffer” from — if you will — numbers 5 through 8. Again, I find myself wondering how the scale differs from person to person, from occupation to occupation. Is work stressful regardless? I mean, if I’m not free to lay about all day long on a nice sandy beach being brought cocktails by Sven the cabana boy, then am I by default stressed? (Is Sven, the transplant from Sweden to Hawaii stressed in his role as cabana boy for that matter? Is it legal to be stressed out in Hawaii?)

Mmmm, cocktails. Beach. Cabana boy. Hawaii.

*closes eyes for long moment*

*blink blink*

Where was I?


A certain amount of stress is beneficial, I get that. It’s the extended-type of stress that starts tipping the scales. That’s what I’m trying to suss out: where and when do the scales tip? How do I stop them from tipping? Or, if they have tipped, how do I get them to balance a little better?

Here are some physical things that make me think I’m over-stressed: canker sores (I’ve had four in the past eight months); tension headaches; back aches (I’ve been seeing a chiropractor, which is helping); exhaustion; insomnia (it is not fair to not be able to sleep when I am so tired).

I’ve also been having some emotional struggles. I am tending toward depression (rather than anxiety, which is my usual MO), I lose my temper WAY too easily, and I feel like bursting into tears much of the time too. And, no, I’m pretty sure given the consistency of these feelings that I can’t put them down to hormones.

And mental lapses. Pure forgetfulness, dropping the ball, utter disorganization. I have to put reminders on my phone (or my work computer) for nearly everything.

I’m sure I’m a pleasure to live with right now.

Of course, I have some ideas of how to reduce my stress, but nothing immediately available. Plus I wonder if changing one thing simply mean another thing will become more stressful? My usual coping stratagems are being overwhelmed, primarily because my schedule (between work, house, and children) simply leaves me no breathing room.

*sigh* I’m just Susie Sunshine around here lately aren’t I?

What do you do when you’re overwhelmed — not just stressed, but over-stressed?