Stress can make you sick. Cancer sick, I don’t know. But I suspect lingering stress can cause disease. Which is exactly why I don’t want it bottling up in my body. It has been, though, and I must find a way to release it. Because I want absolutely no part of sick.
Way back during my chemo days, I saw a counselor in the Psych Clinic in Shands Hospital. ‘Psych Clinic’ sounds so, um, mental, doesn’t it? Not sure I like that. But stress is mental. It weighs on the mind and travels through the body and if you’re like me, makes you a little bit crazy and a whole lot frazzled. It happens to me when my plate is too full. Like now. There are kid demands. And work demands. And guys who have been working in my house for nearly a week, installing granite countertops, jack hammering tile off my floors, replacing it with pretty hard wood and stirring it up all sorts of dust. There’s anxiety about how often and how much I exercise, pressure to volunteer at the school carnival, a pending trip to see snow and I think you get my point. Stress.
I’m trying to calm down, breathe deeply and employ the strategies my counselor Lindsay taught me all those years ago. One of my favorites, which I’ve been forgetting lately, is asking myself this question: What’s the worst thing that can happen? What’s the worst thing that can happen because dust covers my furniture? Well, it needs cleaning, that’s all. The worst thing that can happen if I don’t exercise today? I guess I burn a few less calories. I don’t volunteer for the carnival? The committee must find someone else. The point is, if it’s not a life or death scenario, well, then, it’s really not worth the stress. I need to remember that. And if I can’t, I can at least remember 8-year-old Joey’s words of wisdom: It could always be worse. Because, you know, it could be.