Stress is a funny thing. If you look it up it apparently leads to everything from the common cold to the big C. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it and some could say it could almost be beneficial. Having the stress of a deadline makes some people focus and work harder. Some people deal with their stress by running or going to the gym. Other people clean, because if they can’t clean their mind at least they can clean their surroundings. Then there are people like me. When I get overwhelmed I sleep. It really is not productive and probably makes my stress worse because then I just end up having less time to do whatever it is that needs to get done. I wish I was one of those workout people. Can you imagine how great that would be? Every time you feel stressed you go to the gym? I would be a body builder within a month at the rate that my mind worries about things. You still don’t get done what you need to do but at least you will have abs to show for it.
I have come up with a term for my coping technique; I call it ostriching. Like the ostrich, when faced with some sort of threat I hide from the world and avoid the situation. (Okay, so ostriches don’t actually bury their heads in the sand, it is a myth, but I still think that it illustrates my point quite well). Some days I just feel overwhelmed, like the whole world is on my shoulders, and on days like that I can’t function. I can literally lay in bed and stare at the wall or ceiling for hours. When I try and be productive I just can’t. Then, because I know I am being extremely useless, I feel worse, so I try and be productive but can’t and so on and so forth. It is really a vicious circle. I could be completely fine and back to my happy, bubbly self the next day but that previous day is a write off.
I find naps can really help, for a few different reasons. It gives me a bit of an escape from my reality. If I can manage to sleep my brain will focus on dreams and not on everything I need to do, remember, accomplish etc. It gives me a break from my mind battling about whether it makes sense to take a break or not. It is a little like the angel and devil on your shoulder idea. One part of me says ‘take a break, it’s good for you when you are stressed, you deserve it’ then the other part says ‘why do you deserve it? What have you accomplished today?’. Sleeping is an escape from that. Another great reason is that right before I fall asleep I get really creative. I come up with ideas for projects, solutions to problems and everything in between. Some times just laying there thinking helps me break down what I need to do in steps and allows me to visualize the task/s at hand.
Moral of the story: If you are not productive when dealing with stress, that’s okay. You aren’t alone. It is about balancing, like everything in life. Sleeping all day, everyday is not healthy but neither is going until you break down. If you feel overwhelmed, take a break, regroup and maybe take a nap. It could make all the difference!