Fried brain. Burnt out. Runned down. Out of steam. How often do you find yourself using these terms? Stress will do that to you. Stress can turn any brain into total mush.
Definition: “Busy” Can Be Translated Into “Stressful”
Every morning it’s a battle between Mr. SFD and myself to get out of bed and get to work. I rip the covers off of us, he buries his head in the pillow. We both agree that we’d love to be able to sleep until we naturally wake up. Even though there’s this constant struggle, this only furthers adding fuel to our FIRE.
This week I had an extensive Request for Proposal to get out the door. It was over 150 pages in length; I had just over 2 weeks to get it done. By the end of it, I found myself having a hard time seeing straight. I vegged in front of the TV then passed out that night and slept through my alarm the next morning – I never do that.
I was, and still am, exhausted.
Mr. SFD wasn’t much better. At his day job, he had the biggest project of the year due just days after simultaneously completing a twenty-page paper for his MBA about macroeconomics, taking a midterm exam, and giving a presentation about IT implementation in a financial firm (the hard work paid off, and I’m proud to report he got an A on all of them! Way to go!).
Somehow, we were also able to get a radon mitigation system installed in our rental property, handle various requests from our freelance clients, and squeeze in a visit with Grandma SFD.
I refuse to refer to life as being “busy” – it sounds so negative and tedious – I’d much rather think of life and the activities I partake in as being “fulfilling”. But this week – we were ridiculously… busy… and that translated into being super stressed (because, being the SFD, it’s bound to be super-sized).
And that section right there is one of the big reasons Mr. SFD and I are working towards retiring sooner rather than later, but that’ll be a topic for a whole other post.
You Already Know This… Stress Impacts Us In Multiple Ways
Mr. SFD and I rarely watch TV, so he can always tell when I’ve run myself ragged by my desire to want to mentally shut down for a few hours (or a few days) in front of the TV with something relatively mindless on. In return, I can always tell when he’s been super stressed by how quickly he comes down with a cold the day after the stressor is gone. Everyone handles stress differently, but one thing is consistent across the board – bad stress, the flight or fight kind that is prompted by mundane tasks and not an actual threat, is not good for our health.
It seemed convenient that this video came across my radar today
Needless to say, all these studies coming out about stress and how it affects you negatively only makes retirement that much more appealing, right? But a topic that should be exciting and hopeful tends to be the complete opposite for many out there who have not taken the proper steps to plan for their retirement.
“I’ll rest when I’m dead or retired – whichever comes first. Eh, who am I kidding, I’ll never be able to retire.”
You know what I find to be very unfortunate? That a close relative uttered those words to me and truly believed that THAT was the only way they’d ever escape stress, that retirement was not achievable for them, and that they were going to work themselves to death.
Also unfortunate? That they’re not the only one out there that feels that way.
OK – so we all know that the flight or fight kind of stress is overall not good, right? But just how bad can it really be? Well, studies have found that even young children are starting to suffer the consequences of stress and this is translating into more and more adults suffering from not just severe anxiety and depression, but also cardiovascular diseases, cancers, asthma, autoimmune disease, chronic lung disease… the list goes on.
As adults, the stress is around us every. Single. Day. I can’t tell you how often I see posts complaining about money or general malaise about being an adult on my Facebook newsfeed. It’s gotten to the point where I rarely check my newsfeed anymore because of the constant stream of negativity (which, by the way, also adds to the stress. Ever felt your blood boil because of a post you read? Yup – your friends on Facebook are one of the worst offenders contributing to your stress). Let’s not forget about the constant stream of stress being spoonfed to us at work or school – tight deadlines, lengthy projects, negative acquaintances – it’s no wonder depression and anxiety are at an all time high both for teens and adults. Even the drive to work is killing us in more ways than one.
The Little Things We Can Do To Relieve Stress
We work hard so that we can reach retirement (be that early or traditional), but the whole journey is stressful and may feel overwhelming and never ending. However, you can help alleviate some of that stress by incorporating some techniques into your routine now, and then, hopefully, retire early. We’ll touch on early retirement in one of our futures posts (this post has already turned into a novel), let’s focus on relieving the stress first.
So how can we work towards eliminating the stress if we’re not able to retire right now? There are plenty of techniques out there that you can incorporate into your day-to-day activities. For example, Mr. SFD and I make a point to settle on the sofa every morning for 10 minutes to calm our bodies and minds before we leave for work. We’ll use this time to just be near one another and aim for 2 minutes of meditation and silence. At the end of this time together, we both feel at ease and ready to tackle the day.
What other things can you do to relieve stress? Well, of course there’s meditation, getting enough sleep, taking care of your body, enjoying activities and hobbies you love, spending time with loved ones… There’s tons of ways to take your mind off of the stress, but one of my favorite methods is practicing mindful meditation and yoga nidra.
While I’ve not tried it yet, I’ve also been told that laughing meditation is a great way to let go. And, yup, it’s exactly what it sounds like!
Now let us know! What techniques do you use to relieve the stress?