The Courier

Today we’re going to talk about dealing with stress. Let’s identify what situations can cause stress: worries about productivity at work, strains in professional relationships etc.  These kinds of problems are being discussed regularly by civilians and military members alike.  Elementary schools are having seminars to make sure that staff and students don’t fall victim to stress.  Most of us can easily tell others about what causes us to be “put on edge”.  What many of us do not have, ironically, is a practical way of actually dealing with our situations.

I know that not being able to play team sports made me become a bit depressed because that is an activity that gets me interacting with others. However, COVID restrictions tell me that to protect myself and others from the virus, this kind of activity is not allowed for the time being. Fair enough. But on Tuesday at 1000hrs we’re going to sit down together to remind ourselves that we are living in stressful and even depressive days, and that we need to be able to recognize what is going on, so that we can find ways to lessen the harm that our circumstances might do. Once again we go through the litany of stressors that can affect us and do affect many of us. The fact that stress over longer periods of time can actually change our brain chemistry is identified, that lack of physical activity or social interaction can bring about depression is acknowledged, that lack of intellectually stimulating tasks at work only compounds the situation, is pointed out.  Hurrah, now we know how bad things can be, that makes me feel better already!

More than once, when someone confides in me about what problems he or she has, I have recommended an easy first step.  Physically get out of the place where you are, and this will embody your rejection of what is happening to you. This act alone will help you to put your mind on something else positive, Lord willing. By experience, if nothing else, I know that sitting and going over a problem again and again can make the weight of it seem greater. We all need mental breaks. The basic element in a break is to do something that one has not been doing much in the past, or at least not do the same thing over and over again expecting a new result!

There’s an old saying: “A change is as good as a rest”.  Well, we don’t seem to allow ourselves much variety in our thoughts or activities these days. Every day we hear the latest statistics about COVID, what must be done in order to save the Earth from Climate Change, and what social injustices have yet to be put right. So day after day, we hear about the problems that show no sign of going away anytime soon, and to which no apparent solutions can be found. No wonder so many of us feel never-endingly “frayed at the edges”.

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