Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stress: A Story of Frenemies

I was at a meeting the other night that discussed stress and its role in our lives. I heard some interesting things . . . People were saying, "Stress is just part of college,"; "it motivates me when I feel anxious,"; "if you're not stressed, you're doing something wrong."


My Story: When I was a Freshman (not all that long ago!) I was a homework machine. Nothing could stop me from getting everything done. Yeah, I was that efficient. But a large part of my productivity stemmed from stress. 

At first, this relationship with stress was lighthearted, no strings attached. It helped me get motivated; it made the stakes a little higher when there was that "slightly off" feeling pushing me to get things done. Being anxious made me faster, adding an element of discomfort dying to be balanced. Generally, stress and I got along just fine. 

And then after several months together the relationship went sour.

My twin sister started urging me to "just take a break"and relax. My friends reminded me that taking a brain hiatus was important; Mom and Dad called asking if I was okay; I had seemed frazzled last time I was home. 

The truth? I was.

Before I knew it, stress had turned on me. Ignoring my issue, I kept adding more to my plate, never resting, and soon I was overwhelmed. I was drowning. I was a completely different person. Suddenly, I didn't love school anymore; I was obsessed. I wan't happy; I was anxious. Ultimately, I worked myself into a state of bewilderment, and it took its toll. By the end of the year, I was totally exhausted, feeling defeated despite an academically good year. 

The strange part? It took months of crying with Mom, hours of complaining to my sister for me to even realize that stress had started hurting me. And then I finally changed. I started telling myself it was okay to take a break; prioritizing makes life easier. Making decisions (hard for someone like me) became essential and I started having balance again. 

So I'm wondering . . . what role does stress play in your life? I'd love to hear your story! How do you deal? What gets you motivated? 


  1. Sarah, are we the same person?? Don't worry sweet girl, you aren't the only one. SO glad you decided to step back and relax. Sometimes we can just drive ourselves crazy with efficiency and achievement. Not that those things are bad, but it's good to enjoy life every once in a while. :)

  2. i could so relate! i'm one of those people who work best under pressure and yes, it can get pretty exhausting.


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