A Stressful Post About Stress

(stressception. Do people even say that any more?)

With 28 minutes to go until midnight ticks over and this post will technically be late, I think I’m in an appropriately stressed mindset to talk about stress.

Stress has always been a strange feeling for me because I attribute it to a lack or failure of planning; if you consider that you’re probably going to be awake for sixteen hours a day, every day suddenly you don’t run out of time for anything, you only run out of available time because there are enough hours in the day to do your stuff, you’ve just spent half of them playing Clash of Kings. This is why I tend to take on far more projects than seem reasonable, or even possible, because I know that your time can essentially be limitless if it’s managed properly. While I’d say writing is my greatest skill, I’d put time management and personal organisation pretty high up the list, just after my skill in picking adorable nerdy t-shirts from Teeturtle. This also means that I’ll often come across like a bit of a dick when talking about managing one’s time – and why I’ve not explicitly written about stress on this blog before – because my answer to someone not being able to juggle several responsibilities at once is always a dismissive ‘just manage your time better’.

But this week I’ve been very stressed, as my scheduling has broken down somewhat; a combination of screwed-up sleep patterns because of some inconvenient but actually very sensible doctors’ orders, the boundless enthusiasm of starting a new studying technique and resulting relentless desire to work, and the surprisingly difficult world of starting an ambitious new project from scratch has left me tired, and worried, and pissed off for large periods of the day. I don’t have time to walk every day, I can’t talk to my friends because I need to spend four straight hours with my nose in a book, and I may or may not have ignored my parents’ texts for the last two days. But I’ve not suddenly gotten worse at planning my time, I think I’ve just hit my limit in terms of the number of hours a day I can commit to working.

On Tuesday, for instance, I was up at nine, and didn’t stop working until eleven that evening; on Wednesday I was working from 7am to about 2am the next day (with breaks for playing footy and watching Bake-Off in between), and yesterday I was up for twelve hours, and worked for all but one of them. And I’m still falling behind on a few magazines, and my Old Icelandic work has been shelved indefinitely until I can cobble some free time together.

Hitting my limit has had one significant advantage though, and that is my newfound awareness of stress limits in general. In the past I’d be dismissive of other peoples’ stresses because I’d not experienced hitting a limit in that kind of way, and so found sympathy difficult; now that I know that limits exist, and roughly what mine is, I’m realising that other people have limits, that are very likely reached after different amounts of pressure. So when my mate complains about having worked for hours a day, Past James would have brushed this off because they’d been awake for 2x hours and so shouldn’t be complaining; but Present James knows that their limit may well be x-1 and they’re killing themselves as it is, and my bluntness isn’t helping.

Tomorrow is the last day of my stressful week (hopefully); I’ve made a conscious effort to get ahead of where I should be and – fingers crossed – everything should be sorted by Sunday afternoon, giving me Sunday evening, the whole of Monday, and a total of two nights off to screw around with Until Dawn and see my friends again. Of course now that I’ve said that, my house will be inexplicably engulfed in flames overnight, my notes and computer will burn to crisps and I’ll have to restart everything, but for the time being I’m optimistic.

Incoherent, stressed, and optimistic.

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17 thoughts on “A Stressful Post About Stress

  1. (Yes, we do indeed still say *insertvariouswordhere*ception. But then again, I live in an area very behind in current trends. So, who knows)
    I wish you the best of luck with your insanely overwhelming life that is far more interesting than mine.
    And, due to these circumstances, I’ll tell my people not to burn down your house. Yet.
    But, don’t get too comfortable.

    1. I still think Pokemon cards are a thing so my idea of what’s current and what’s not is all out of whack. And busy doesn’t mean interesting – you can do cool things without killing yourself in the process!

      And yay? Thank you? Thank gods I read this comment before I went to bed, and not after…

      1. Pokemon cards… Oh boy…
        I know busy doesn’t mean interesting, I just also happen to know that your life is more interesting 😛
        And, yes. You are indeed welcome….
        Watch yo back.

  2. Yep. Each person has their own limits – even those of us who can manage our time efficiently. From personal experience, I don’t recommend pushing your limits for too long. It can lead to a catastrophic downfall.

          1. Well, I wouldn’t quite call most of it “extra-curricular”, but it’s busy all right. I’m taking three courses, and I’m teaching three courses. I’m also planning a wedding, analyzing data for my final MA project, writing my final MA project, presenting at a conference, traveling to another state about once a month (to visit my fiance), and taking three yoga courses.

            1. Those are very extra-curricular! The teaching and the studying I’d expect, but where did the wedding planning come from? And what’s the MA on?

              Also congrats on the whole fiancé thing – that’s probably long overdue by this point but this is the first I’ve heard of it :’)

            2. My MA is the same one I’ve been working on – Applied Linguistics: TESOL and hopefully this is the last year I’ll be working on it. This semester, I’m analyzing a teaching journal I wrote last year. Next semester I’m adding that to all the stuff I wrote last year about learning and teaching culture.

              Thanks! I got engaged less than a month ago, and I’m just now back to blogging after a too-long hiatus.

            3. You’re analysing your own journal? I’ve not heard of a project like that on such a big scale before. And how long have you been working on Linguistics in general now?

              Also welcome back to blogging (I’m saying this early to make up for my earlier lateness)

            4. It’s a reflective teaching journal. I kept a journal about teaching, and now I’m analyzing how that helped me as a teacher. It’s actually a fairly common type of qualitative research within Applied Linguistics. It’s probably not that common within English Studies.

              I started the MA two years ago, but I took last year off to teach in Colombia.

              Thanks – we will see if I actually stick around or if my other commitments suck me away. 🙂

            5. Yeah there’s nothing like that where I am. Although your degree is more about providing a service (ie teaching) so I guess analysing and improving that process is useful – if we had a whole module on assessing our own essays we’d highlight a naff point here and there and call it a day.

              And I can’t tell if that’s long or short :’) I keep flipping between thinking a year is a long or short time ago :/

              And if you don’t I’ll leave moaning comments to annoy you into resuming 🙂

  3. Funny enough, English Studies and Applied Linguistics Studies are very different even though we both study words.

    I feel like the older I get, the shorter a year feels.

    And that would be great – I need somebody to tell me to blog :).

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