It’s Sunday night and I’m experiencing my typical anxiety for the busy week that I know lies ahead. It’s all I can do to not work past midnight – I know it’s not a good way to kick the week off but I always feel like it might make the beginning of the work week less crazy (it never does – there’s always more work). I’m starting to wonder, after having read “Can’t Slow Down” by Lynn Harris in this month’s Glamour, am I a stress addict?
I’ve always known I’m a Type A, can’t-sit-down-for-long, list-making person. I pile a lot on my plate, probably don’t say no often enough and am usually late for everything because I continue whatever I am doing until the last possible second. But hooked on my own anxiety? I had never even considered it. But now – after taking the mini “how addicted are you” test in the article (sit still and do just one thing for 30 minutes, like read a book) I believe I am what Harris calls a “stress junkie.”
In the article, Harris writes about why stress is so bad for women – extra weight, heart problems, memory/concentration/performance issues and accelerated aging (eek!). Interestingly, she also writes about some of the reasons women in particular feel the constant need to live at an accelerated pace – one of which is technology. She talks about our “bleeping, beeping gadgets,” our need to be successful at everything (work, family, friends and more) and women’s unique need to feel connected and belong. In that vein, she mentions how all the new social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace put added pressure on an already time-constrained life – making time for all those new “friends” can be exhausting.
Harris also talks about not being able to relax even when she was “relaxing.” I completely understand that feeling. Whether it’s baking cookies with the kids, reading on the beach, decorating for the holidays or running, my mind is constantly going, thinking about how I need to do such personal “relaxing” tasks perfectly, or what I need to do as soon as the event at-hand is complete. I’m an incredible multitasker – never concentrating on just the one thing I’m doing.
I try to remind myself to live in the moment and enjoy what just “is” now. After reading this article I will also try to recognize my need to slow down and not seek validation in everything I do. I can’t make any promises… maybe I’ll ask all my Facebook friends to take a “likeness” test to confirm I’m not alone…