The ‘S’ Word

Stress. I don’t know about you but I find I use that word more than I do others in my vocabulary. According to Carleton University, ‘statistics show that 1/3 of Canadians feel that they are constantly under stress trying to accomplish more than they can handle, that 2% of Canadian workers reported that they were on the verge of a breakdown, and that 50% of Canadian workers ages 25-44 worry that they do not spend enough time with friends and family’. Stress, outlined by Canadian Mental Health Association, ‘comes from both the bad and good things in life. If we did not feel stress than we wouldn’t be alive!

April is Stress Awareness Month so I started thinking about this popular, often negative word, and how it affects me. I have to say, especially over the last year, I have experienced this feeling more than ever before. I won’t go in to my story, but let’s just say the majority of it has been due to unexpected life events. Unfortunately some of the stress has not resulted in me feeling alive, as indicated by CMHA. I will admit I have felt anxious, frustrated, overwhelmed, and have wanted to throw in the towel. As I ponder the stresses in my life, has it resulted in hiding the real me? Who I truly am? Do people see me as fun, full of life, and living with purpose? Or do they see me as stressed out, irritated, and filled with tension? Am I reacting from a place of stress or from my strengths? In HEROES®, we encourage students to understand that everyone has gifts and abilities and a desire to succeed. We also speak to the concept of ‘walls’ which are barriers we put up due to life circumstances, things people say, and fears.

I am confident that the stress you are going through, if any, is warranted. Maybe you’re a teacher and you’re wondering how you’ll get through the rest of your curriculum before the end of the school year; maybe you’re a parent dealing with a child who is being bullied; maybe you’re an Executive and your company is on the brink of a major deal; maybe, like myself, life has thrown you a few curve-balls and you’re trying to deal with the tidal wave created. Whatever it is, I write this to encourage you to reflect on the person you truly are, the people you love, and the support system around you. Life happens, which means stress will continue. The difference is whether or not we let stressful situations cause worry, anger, and hide who we are. So, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, take a break to reflect. Have a Kit Kat.

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