How do you manage stress?

Jan 21, 2024
Source: Getty Images.

Stress is a killer. It affects all of us but some of us are better equipped to handle it.

Over the years, I’ve gotten a bit better at managing stress, but I am still prone to worry. It used to be worse when I was working. I often felt like I was drowning in a high-powered blender.

As a sales manager, a flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco would fill me with dread. Sometimes the taxi ran late or didn’t show up at all. I was a mess. Eventually, I started driving to the airport instead of taking a taxi. But half the time I would miss my flight because it took too long to find a parking spot.

After I retired I realised that I was still not great at managing stress. Unlike some people, I couldn’t prioritise my projects. I should’ve pursued a career in copywriting instead of sales. Oh well, I’m glad that part of my life is over.

But different things stress me out now. Like what’s going to happen in the future regarding my health? Will I predecease my partner, and end up alone as a widow? How long before another sibling passes away?

These are things over which I have no control, but they still plague me from time to time. My partner was always great at managing her stressful career. She was very systematic with the way she handled her business and I always admired her for that. Perhaps she’s wired differently than I am. Unless something affects her directly, she is not too concerned.

Often I will ask her why a friend went to the emergency room. She looks at me and shrugs her shoulders. How could you not ask? Aren’t you concerned with other people? Maybe that’s why she can separate herself better than I can from people’s problems.

But she is good for me because she helps me put these issues into perspective. I like to say that she helps me “stay in the lane”. Recently, my brother was admitted to the hospital for a knee replacement. He’s now been there for close to three weeks because of problems related to anesthesia. Every day I wonder if I’m going to get bad news.

Thankfully, his wife has been attending to his needs. She also has kids, and grandkids who are there for support. But I still worry about him, and I feel guilty because I’m so far away. I’m sure many of you think about these things as well. Perhaps you also stress out about your health. Maybe you worry whether your children are happy. Many of us are concerned about running out of money or ending up in a nursing home. Perhaps your stress is related to work if you are still working, or whether climate change is going to kill all of us.

I know I am prone to worry but I am working on it. But I still find it perplexing that some people are more caring than others and don’t give a shit at all. Perhaps I’m just more sensitive than most people I know.
And now that you are older, are you able to deal with stress and anxiety better than when you were younger? Or has your ability to deal with stress made you more susceptible to health challenges?

Feel free to share your problems and how you manage to deal with them.

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