Stress is your body’s natural way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. Stress has evolved to deal with big scary cats and snakes that our ancestors use to have to deal with. It helps the body prepare for danger and take action. The fight or flight reflex.
Stress in your modern everyday work life is a feeling that you often get when you feel overwhelmed and struggle to cope with the demands of your boss or job. We are often tasked with challenging work with a deadline to meet.
Stress isn’t bad
It’s often said that stress isn’t always bad. And this is true. In certain situations, it can help you perform under pressure. And it can motivate you to do your best. And if you can properly manage your stress levels you can actually use it to your advantages.
If the stress is constant or prolonged over time, stress can be very bad. In fact, long-term stress has been linked to various health conditions.
Ongoing poverty, family issues, unhappy relationships, unhappy working environments. They can all lead to long-term stress. And it is especially bad if you can’t see an escape of the bad situation you are in.
Prolonged stress like this is called chronic stress. People suffering from chronic stress often snap. A point where they can not deal with the stress anymore and have a breakdown. Bad things can happen when people break, violence, heart attacks, strokes, and sadly suicide.
Stress isn’t universal
We are all different. You like some things, I like other things. There are many people who like mushrooms, I don’t know why anyone would like them. It’s the same with stress.
What may be stressful for you, might not be stressful for me. And this can be why some people don’t ask for help if they are stressed out, especially with work. They see others in the same role coping, so why should you not be able to cope?
When someone says they are stressed, an incorrect response is to say they need to harden up and take a cement pill.
What has stress got to do with Financial Independence?
Stress levels are on the rise. A survey from 2017 found that stress was up by 22% for the second consecutive time. The five top reasons for stress were;
- General workload
- Relationship issues
- The pressure to meet targets
- Management style and working relationships
- Long work hours
Wouldn’t it be great to reduce the amount of stress we are exposed by our job? Financial independence can do that.
When you are financially independent and still employed, I think the stress associated with work would be lower. You don’t need this job for money, you are there because you like the work.
Another top cause of stress outside work is your own health issues and those of their family. And not having enough money to live on, but one of the biggest stresses in modern life is living with crippling debt.
Again, striving for financial independence can help with these too.
Our experience with stress
I am fortunate that my job is not overly stressful. I get to leave all my worries at work once I leave for the day. Admittedly, when I am at work it can be stressful when your actions can directly affect the quality and outcome of a person’s cancer treatment. But overall, I am not under any chronic stress.
However, recently my partner has been under a great deal of stress at work. She has been given a new role on top of her current position. So there is both the added time pressure, as well as this new role having to deal with angry people who do not respect her authority in this position.
She hasn’t been sleeping, constantly thinking about her other projects. On top of having to deal with responding to angry emails. And last Friday she snapped and got a migraine.
I didn’t really understand what migraine was until she had them. I thought it was just a bad headache. She has difficulty speaking and walking, generally feels nauseous and vomiting. The whole episode lasted 3 days.
I believe this was triggered by the amount of stress she has been under. She is on a six-month rotation in this role so there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Strive to do better
The fact that my partner’s work was so stressful that it has resulted in her having a 3-day migraine has renewed my push to become financially independent. Not even so that I can retire early, but rather, we both can choose to work or not to work. And not have to work in a role where the stress is unbearable.
Becoming, or working towards financial independence will remove many stressful aspects of your work life.
Stress is a chronic disease!
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