Keep Calm and Carry on?
NEW research out this week has revealed that most Britons ignore the signs of stress. Apparently we are only too happy to carry on living life in the fast lane, putting our bodies, minds and families under continual, high levels of pressure while blatantly ignoring the warning signs and alarm bells that are symptomatic of our ‘must have it now/do better than the neighbours/get the promotion/earn more money than we need’ culture that we have created for ourselves in our apparent wisdom.
I actually think this is nonsense. Stress is often caused by being busy-far too busy to actually work out where the stress began in the first place. Stress and levels of busy-ness are highly addictive and competitive. A friend of mine (male I hasten to add) is convinced that some women (mostly the single ones) are just busy being busy (I would suggest this comment is probably fuelled by the fact that he can’t get a date but there you go…)
Just spend any amount of time at any school gate at about 8.24am and you will overhear conversations along the lines of “I am SOOOOOOOOOOO busy! It’s just ridiculous! I am FLAAAAAAAAAAAAT out ALLLLLLLLLLLL the time! If it’s not work it’s the children, and then there is the charity work and then the shopping! I have no ME time at all….stress levels are peaking!!!” Of course what this particularly busy and clearly stressed out person has neglected to mention is the three Pilates classes she attends each week, the ‘essential’ shopping trips, lunches with girlfriends, manicures, pedicures and facials…not the mention the extra marital affair she is having with the handyman….need I go on?
Stress IS competitive. We have created a culture that puts us under pressure to be busier than everyone else and this in turn leads to stress. I would question the survey that says we ignore stress-yes we may well ignore the effect it has on our bodies but we are the first ones to sing and dance about how stressed we are and how busy we are. It’s as if without a high stress factor in our lives we are unimportant and almost invisible. Being stressed is like wearing a badge of honour-if you don’t have it-you are just a big fat nobody. Carping on about stress is attention seeking behaviour and is done to illicit comments like “oh you are soooo good, I don’t know HOW you do it…”
I am bored with the endless stories about how stressed and busy everyone seems to be, I for one gave up stress for the sake of it in my mid twenties based on the fact that I had a life. Instead of filling their vacuous days with pointless tasks and trying to justify the fact that they do as little as possible for fear of a nail breakage crisis, people should ditch the stress label and start channelling their energy into something worthwhile. Imagine if all those middle class school gate mums who are so busy and stressed doing nothing all day while their long suffering husbands make the hideous journey to the city to pay for the skiing trip and the private schools, actually got off their skinny arses, put down their skinny lattes and applied themselves to something useful? On the other hand…they would probably find that all far too stressful!