Many things have an impact on our health – diet, exercise, sleep, social patterns, environmental exposure, work, and stress, all play a crucial role in our health. Over the last two weeks I have seen several patients in my clinic who are physically ill from stress. Stress can cause, headaches, stomachaches, memory loss, and obesity, just to name a few common symptoms associated with stress.
What is stress? Stress is something we cannot put our finger on, we cannot measure it, and often we dismiss stress as not being real. But, in reality our bodies are driven by the nervous system which tries to maintain a perfect balance. The body is a miraculous creation, we have many built-in options to try to keep us healthy and safe. But, just like an automobile if we do not take care of our bodies, the options wear out, switches get broken, and safety features fail.
One of my action steps to become organized included reviewing my daily schedule to identify tasks or obligations I can omit to lessen my stress and gain organization in my busy life.
As I spoke with a patient on Thursday night, during free clinic, I realized that I should take my own advice and cut my work hours. Starting a new family practice has required me to put in 10-12 hours days. Followed by 2-3 hours a night online with students. My stress level has been overwhelming – causing me to quit running, gain weight, and develop some gastrointestinal issues.
Change is hard for me – I love teaching, I love knowing I am shaping the future of nursing.
I also believe that God’s message is only heard when we actively listen. As I set in front of a patient, at the free clinic, discussing how working 7 days a week 10 – 12 hours a day was worsening his vascular status. It suddenly became very clear to me that one of my jobs need to go.
So, at the end of the current eight week session, I will be resigning my position as adjunct professor of nursing.
Do you need to lessen our stress? Do you need to listen to our own advice?