Honestly, I originally wrote this blog for my company, for the Women’s Interactive Network. But seeing as how all of 11 people read it, I felt like I could repost it here and actually reach MORE people. I wrote it for women, but in this “remix” I am addressing everyone. You know why? Because I have heard about too many people dropping like flies before the age of 40. And since most of my friends are hovering near 40, this seemed … timely. And of course, the pictures were not in the original… LOL
I Do What I Want!
That is my stress-relieving mantra. There are times when we as working adults become so overwhelmed in doing for others – kids, spouse, friends, family, not to mention our jobs! – that we forget to take care of ourselves. And sometimes, even in taking care of ourselves, we stress ourselves out. We know that we need to eat better, exercise more, take real vacation days, etc. But we seldom enjoy it. Have you ever come back off vacation, and NEEDED a vacation? It isn’t really a vacation if you have to work through it or be responsible for 2 to 5 other people. Sometimes, to really de-stress, you need to Do What You Want!
We all know that stress is the silent killer. It exacerbates other health issues, like diabetes and high blood pressure. Here are some statistics for you*:
• Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease (with which it is closely linked) and cancer.
• People with uncontrolled high blood pressure are seven times more likely to have a stroke than people with controlled high blood pressure.
• Women account for approximately 43 percent of strokes that occur each year, but they account for 61 percent of stroke deaths.
• Brain aneurysms can occur in people of all ages, but are most commonly detected in those ages 35 – 60.
• Women are more likely to get a brain aneurysm than men, with a ratio of 3:2.
I’m sure there are stats for men and minorities, but I’m not doing additional research.
Suffice it to say: stress = stroke.
I had an epiphany about 10 years ago when I decided that I wasn’t going to drop dead in the living room from stress, trying to be what everyone wanted me to be. I was trying to be Wonder Woman (minus the outfit) and satisfy everyone’s needs. I was even taking days off for myself that were ultimately spent running errands, doing favors and cleaning the house…. I hate cleaning the house. I decided that I would do something just for me, that I loved, that made me happy. I scheduled a day off, left my cell phone at home and went to Universal Studios by myself and rode all the roller-coasters. Multiple times. I then treated myself to dinner and a movie, and went to bed early. The next day, I felt like I had come back from an extended weekend! I try to do something like this at least every few months now.
Everyone can afford to self-indulge from time to time. This does NOT mean you can just walk out in the middle of dinner with your family. It does not mean that you lose it in the middle of a meeting:
But how about starting a ‘Me Day’ Fund, and put $50 a month into it? Every quarter, you could afford to do something nice for yourself – something YOU want. This could be simply paying the baby-sitter to watch your kids, and getting a hotel room for the night, just so you can take an uninterrupted hot bath. And don’t take your husband – let him find his own stress relief! Besides – couples who take breaks from each other stay together longer. So be selfish! Go get a massage – Massage Envy is a great club to join (but Robert is mine – *see previous rant). Take Friday off, and go to the mall alone. Men – lock yourself in your room and play Xbox for a designated “don’t come in here” amount of time. Madden Therapy is real. If you like the outdoors, go fishing, go hunting, or just go to the garage and pretend to work on stuff. These are all things my dad used to do. And by the way, my parents stayed married til death. And my dad died at 76 and he looked damned good to the very end. Try reading a book – and not a work-related, motivational or personal growth book either. Read a trashy romance novel, or a murder mystery, or the last Harry Potter book. Escape is the name of the game. So go have a pina colada and get caught in the rain. Eat, drink and be merry! You’ll live longer.
Rant 45 done, and I’m out. Hey, there were no curse words in this one. I think that’s a first. LOL
*statistics found at http://www.theuniversityhospital.com/stroke/stats.htm