In my capacity as a non-scientist, I have observed that when it comes to stress, there are two kinds of people.
One is the kind of person who feels the effects of stress first in their body; the other feels it first in their mind.
Piggy and I both fall into the first category. We’re skilled jugglers, and we tend to think “Sure, I can add one more ball into the mix.” We don’t really register how stressed we are until we get migraines (her) or muscle spasms (me). Other people in this category might experience digestive problems, insomnia, frequent colds, loss of energy, chest pains, racing heartbeats, panic attacks, and other such unfair bullshit.
Folks who fall into the second category don’t get off lightly either. Stress can make them feel overwhelmed in a way that manifests very strongly in their moods. They might feel agitated, frustrated, moody, avoidant, lonely, or depressed. These kinds of emotions can tarnish their self-image, strain their relationships with loved ones, and make them feel socially isolated when they most need support.
Everyone feels both kinds of stress; it’s just a question of which way it manifests first.
The unfortunate thing about both the physical and emotional symptoms of stress response is that both tend to exacerbate existing stressors. If you’re super busy at work and you start getting stress headaches, congratulations: you’re now both busy and in pain! If you’re super busy at work and you start crying at your desk, congratulations: you’re now both busy and humiliated!
Piggy and I spent a bit too much time in our twenties ignoring the signs our bodies were sending us, and had to learn our limits by suffering the consequences of overextending ourselves.
We are older and wiser now. We know that it’s better to take breaks before you “need” them. And we want to model that behavior for all of you, which is why we took a vacation and publicized it!
Hint hint: we think you should take a vacation too. Here’s why.