Saturday, 27 October 2012

Handling Stress

I have to admit, that for the last week I've been walking a knife-edge.

Work recently has been stressful (what, really? I didn't mention that? I'm sorry - bare with the whining - it should all be over some time soon. I hope), and it's finally started to bubble over into affecting my eating and sleep. And exercise. Basically everything else in my life.

I'm used to stress at work, we usually have a couple of very high intensity weeks every couple of months, and I'm well versed in hauling myself through it. We prepare and organise first, there's a sustained effort for around 2-3 weeks and we emerge from the other side and take some time off. I'm an accountant by profession, for a large and company, and it comes with the territory.

These days I know my responses to stress and I can usually spot them early on and deal with them, and anyway, like anything that's routine, you know where the end is and you focus on it, and pull through to til you get there. I normally wind my social life down during the busy periods, soak up the weekend working and make sure I get plenty of sleep, and I try and make sure that I still get some exercise even when the shit is hitting the fan all around me.

Usually. However, usually the stress doesn't go on this long. Things are different this session, and we're currently at week 6 of super-high stress, high pressure working and still counting.

And I'm finally starting to crack a bit under the strain.

My eating this week has been a bit off. Not anything you can identify as a single episode of BAD but little bits of silly decisions here and there. The last couple of weeks my gym attendance has slowly slid down too, as I gave up fighting to carve out the time to go .... after all, an hour lost at lunch is an hour I have to work later in the evening. My sleep patterns have been noticeably disrupted this week - I go to bed at normal times, but he tiniest things wake me up and my brain is churning unable to go back to sleep.

The only high spot is that our big boss has now put his foot down on what we're being asked to do, and flat-out said we won't be working weekends for the moment as we're all exhausted. Yay for weekends (even if a tiny part of me is whining that it just means I'll be working longer hours next week to catch up ....).

I've realised that until this is all done, which looks like it could still be another month or so, I'm going to have knock my efforts to look after myself up a notch, otherwise I could crawl out the other side not recognising myself.

Food: my highest temptation when faced with stress and crotchety tiredness is to eat "nice things". By which I mean bad things. I had a dinner out and brunch last weekend that I planned for. Then I had dinner out two more times, which I didn't. And the chocolate drawer keeps calling to me at work. I freely admit I struggled this week, and I need to check that.

Tonight I have another meal out, at a Michelin started restaurant, no less. I didn't know this until 10pm yesterday evening due to not knowing I had this weekend off until yesterday lunchtime. As I didn't know this I had a takeaway last night as my treat for the weekend. I badly need a plan to minimise damage this weekend and I think it goes like this: fruit for breakfast, light lunch (although I'm meeting friends and need to be careful with my choices) and then stay off the booze tonight. I've already made my menu choices and I'm assuming that being a posh restaurant the portions won't be massive but wine at big dinners like this is a killer. And also very expensive. So I'm going to use the fact I "need" to drive home as an excuse to stay clear of the alcohol. I also need to cook up the batch of bolognaise I've got ingredients for so I've got healthy meals to come home to after busy days at work.

Exercise: finding time has been difficult and I've got lazy as I've got more fed up. Last weekend I managed an epic surf though which cheered me up no end. Spectacular conditions, a glorious autumn sunny afternoon and a huge dose of fresh air were exactly what I needed to revitalise myself. As a result I then made it back to Balance on Monday. And then spin on Thursday. And finally circuits yesterday. Much better.

Sleep: the final pillar that keeps me going. The problem with working late is that you get home late and have little time to unwind. TV and Internet time eat into your evening and you end up going to bed wired. Since I mostly gave up caffeine I noticed an improvement, but last week my sleep was pretty awful. That leaves you absolutely hanging during the day and susceptible to the siren calls of chocolate, caffeine, eating out, wine and laziness. Not a good combo. I need to focus more this week on winding down before bedtime and making my bed an inviting place to be. Less tv and Internet, more relax and let it go.

Surprisingly, after all my struggle (and eating out) this week, I actually only put on a 0.25lb - still sitting pretty at 13st 3.25lb. Did I not say that cracking through that 3lv barrier was a bitch?

Ah well - onwards!!

- Posted from my iPhone

1 comment:

  1. Bloody hell, love. It sounds like you're having a right time of it. It's so hard to keep on the straight and narrow when you don't have time to plan and organise.

    Hang in there missy. x