When Stress Brings Out the Worst in You

So…I went a little nutso over the weekend.

First, my work e-mails were out of control because I had been on a business trip for 3 days. I then had 2 vacation days that weren’t very restful because, apparently, my projects fall apart when I’m not chained to my laptop.

Next, Chris and I bought a lovely, inexpensive desk from Ikea, struggled to fit it into the car, put it together, and then realized it wasn’t at all right for my home office: too big, no way to position it so I could see the window, weird grainy texture that wasn’t on the floor model.

We took it apart and drove to a few stores looking for a new desk, which then had to be put together. And not having a desk made it more difficult to handle my job stuff.

Finally, I worked myself into a frenzy over being behind in my blog work like writing posts, replying to e-mails, commenting on other blogs, tweeting random stuff, becoming the most loved blogger in the universe….

It was a slow build, but by Sunday night, I was in full-blown crazy chick mode.

There was ranting.

There were tears.

I may or may not have wailed, “I feel so unfulfilled!” before dramatically flopping onto the bed in a heap.

Chris wisely took Skyla to the dog park so I could take some time to find my way back to Sanity Land.

What was wrong with me?

My old friend stress had crept back into my life and picked apart my sense of control.

I’m usually a calm, happy person, but stress got the better of me. My perfect plans for taking a relaxing break from work, having a functional desk, and being a productive blogger didn’t mean a thing once stress got a hold of me.

I wish I could say I had some epiphany that instantly made the stress manageable, but I didn’t. I struggle with stress a lot, in every aspect of my life.

Sometimes taking a nap helps. Sometimes I just have to plow through whatever’s going on until it’s over. Sometimes being alone is the answer.

A combination of things helped me get back to normal, non-psycho Sage this time. Being alone in the house for an hour gave me time to think, drink some water, and sit in the silence and decompress.

When Chris got home, my rational, lovable husband talked me through it, and we found a way to reconfigure my schedule so I could get everything done.

Setting up a routine to separate “work time” from “personal time” helped too. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when working from home because there aren’t set boundaries between the various areas of your life.

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  1. Tinfoil Tiaras on February 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I’ve been working from home more often recently and I as well find it hard to separate, I have to force myself to stop checking my work e-mails at 5 pm. Stress is a very close friend of me, which if I don’t keep in check is often followed closely behind by anxiety! Thanks for posting this- I’m not alone and will readyour suggested articles!

  2. Molly on February 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Well, you’re certainly not alone! I get the same way, but am getting a bit better about letting things go more (just a bit). It’s great that we both have husbands who help “talk us down”. heh 🙂

    I hope that you’re stress free by now and are looking forward to a relaxing weekend!

  3. Shybiker on February 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    My sympathies. I know stress; it’s my daily companion. At times, it turns me into a monster. It’s hard to control and sometimes pushes us off the cliff. Thanks for the advice. I think this is a subject we can all benefit from discussing more.

    • Sage on February 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      “Pushing me off a cliff” is exactly what it feels like. 🙁 I’m glad people are talking about being stressed. It’s exhausting to try to pretend that everything’s fine. We could benefit from knowing that we’re not alone in our struggles.

      • Shybiker on February 23, 2012 at 12:11 am

        I was too wrapped up in the subject at hand to mention how powerful your photo here is. Looking at made me profoundly sad. Even if the picture was staged, it evokes a strong emotional response. I want to wrap my arms around you and make you feel better, but I’m afraid you’ll punch me. Your misery appears so deep.

        • Sage on February 23, 2012 at 6:15 am

          Oh, I didn’t mean to make you sad! This is a staged photo, but I was still feeling the lingering effects of too much stress. I guess it’s easier to tell the staged photos when I’m mugging at the camera. I’m glad you got a response from the photo because I want my pictures to fit the theme of my post…but I’m not miserable, just very overwhelmed.

          And I would never punch you, Ally!

  4. Megan Gann on February 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Birds of a feather flocking here? Yeah it feels like such a crunch of time and stress. I’ve been making myself sick with panicking. Somehow everything gets crammed into this time of year and I don’t have enough days to do everything.

    I was really grateful for today because I did get some time alone. I feel like I’m always working with someone doing something, but I think you’re right. Setting up a better schedule needs to happen for me soon.

    • Sage on February 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      I know! What’s going on with everyone? All the people I talk to are going through some kind of stress crisis. Is it because it’s the middle of winter? Is it midterm time? Are all the good TV shows on hiatus?

      I’m glad you got some alone time today. It’s really important to take a break…something I don’t do nearly often enough.

      I should do another post about setting up a daily schedule. It’s true, we write about what we most need to learn.

  5. Cara on February 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Wow, I also think we live in parallel universes! Sorry to hear that you had such a rough past week(end), but I take comfort in knowing that I’m not alone. I had a category 5 stress meltdown on Sunday as well involving lots of tears. I’ve been attempting to give myself some quiet time in the morning and evening to regroup, unfortunately that has led to no blogging/blog reading this week.

    I hope this week is off to a happier start. Stress free hugs from the East Coast!

    • Sage on February 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      Thank you so much for the hugs, Cara. I could use them. 🙁

      I’m sorry you had a meltdown. I’ve had no blogging time too, and I understand how frustrating that can be. It makes me feel like I’m playing catch up, but blogging’s supposed to be fun!

  6. xvavaveganx on February 22, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Giiiiiiiiirl I feel like we’ve been in a parallel universe this past week. I’m so sorry that things were crazy and overwhelming for you. There is nothing worse than having plans to enjoy some personal time and decompress, only for it to become even more stressful than if you had just kept up with the regular routine.

    I’m glad that you were able to pull yourself out of it and figure out a schedule that works for you. It is so hard, I know in my case I just had a moment of clarity and said enough is enough, this isn’t you. It is so hard to see around the stress but it says a lot about your strength to be able to recognize it and fix it.

    Keep trucking girl, you are an inspiration and a much loved blogger 🙂

    • Sage on February 22, 2012 at 11:20 am

      Haha, thanks for the kind words, Sarah. My life seems so busy sometimes! I don’t like being a stress monster.

      I’m gonna keep on truckin’. Oh, yeah. 🙂