Beware the stress monster, he is striking with a vengeance around here lately. Within forty eight hours, three people I know had rides to the hospital in ambulances. One is extremely lucky to be alive after he had literally had his heart stop. The other two are still sorting through the aftermath and trying to figure out what went wrong. All three have had tremendous amounts of stress placed on them.
Most of us are no strangers to stress. My day job provides a venti size cup of it even on the slow days. I’ve struggled hard to create good coping mechanisms. The events of the last few weeks are a stronger reminder to myself to stop, take a breath and find ways to help elevate the stress before it forces you to stop.
My best and hardest coping mechanism is to leave work at work. The drive home is my buffer, not my place to think about all the wrongs or problems of the day. I make myself leave each piece of stress behind as the mile markers pass. By the time I’m halfway home, I should be thinking about what to fix for dinner or what scene I’m going to write tonight, not work. Most days this process is a success. The rare days it fails are because of a phone call from work as I’m driving home.
My job is not my life. My job is not my life only the means that supports it. In the information technology field, forty hour work weeks are rare. System crashes don’t respect a timeline. So for all the other geeks out there, remember, our job is not our life. We can walk away from the email and the system monitors. Remember to enjoy our families and our lives.