“The pattern of your breathing affects the pattern of your performance. When you are under stress, deep breathing helps bring your mind and body back into the present…breathe in energy. Breathe out negativity. Breathe in relaxation. Breathe out stress.” ~Gary Mack~
Or you can squeeze the cow.
About a month ago, one of our office assistants announced she was leaving to take another position in the school system. “Okay, fine, no problem,” I thought as we’ve had vacancies before and always made it through to the next hire. Both of our office assistant positions are part-time and that means that employees tend to come, stay awhile, then leave for a full-time or more lucrative position. That is, unless the employee is happy in her position, lives just down the road, and enjoys having her Mondays off, which happens to be the situation of our other office assistant.
I was somewhat fine with the office assistant leaving until I realized this: The other office assistant was going on vacation the first two weeks of September, which means I would be alone during that time to serve my own position and two others.
At first, I was stressed to the max about the situation. I’ve been alone in the office before, but never for two weeks. This time would be different in that it’s the first two weeks of the month, our busiest; I would have to learn a major process that I had washed my hands of because I was too dang busy with my own crap to get involved; I had two meetings to attend during that time; and a large annual project was looming on the horizon, one which always gives me a cerebral rash and headache.
Needless to say, at that moment, I had the Chicken Little urge to run around and declare the sky was falling.
After I took a few deep, long, hard breaths, I came to the realization that I was creating my own stress for a situation and time that had not yet occurred. I needed to make a plan to get through those two weeks, one which would ultimately include a small plastic mammal.
In looking for ways to decrease stress, I considered many options: 1) Exercise every day; 2) Stay away from sugar and bad carbs…eat healthy; 3) Do not schedule extra-curricular activities after work unless they help reduce stress; 4) Pray a lot; 5) Keep in mind that I will not be fired for being short-handed and doing my best; 6) Smile every day no matter the circumstance; 7) Ask for help; 8) Stay in the present.
I adopted all of these options.
Except for this past Thursday, when I ate a cookie and a magic bar while at a company function.
And Saturday, when I gave myself the day off from any form of exercise other than walking through the farmer’s market and mega store and completing three loads of laundry. (Marathoning Season 13 of NCIS on Netflix doesn’t count except that it was good for the soul.)
One week down, one to go.
I made it through this past week without an excessive amount of anxiety. Without a doubt, I stayed busy. Several mental acuity tests were given and multi-tasking gymnastics performed. But this was done with determination that I would not take all of this to a perfectionist’s heart. I did what I could do and then I went home.
Except for one small moment on Friday, when I felt frustration perpetrated by something out of my control.
This is when Natasha’s gift of last Wednesday came into play. It was a “hang in there” gift. I texted her…“squeezing my cow, squeezing my cow, squeezing my cow.”
Yes, I squeezed my cow. The eyes bulged out three times. I felt way better.
Never underestimate yourself and the ability to get past whatever life throws at you. My favorite Mother Theresa quote is this, “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish God wouldn’t trust me so much.” For this week, though, I’d like to change “God” to my boss. No blasphemy intended, I think it fits better under the circumstances.
My fair readers, how do you handle your stress and anxiety?
Have you utilized any of the eight options above?
Do you spit and sputter and turn red in the face?
Do you keep a stash of bubble wrap to pop?
Do you quietly meditate?
Spend time with wine?
Or do you squeeze a cow?