It's easy to believe that stress is a normal part of life. In some ways it is, but all too often in our modern world our stress far exceeds what can be considered healthy. In a backdrop of a mental health epidemic, what can be done to avoid the trap of stressful living?
There have been many points in the two years since I started my degree where I have contemplated whether the stress was worth it. Whilst deadlines and exams are an expected, if frustrating, part of the university experience, sometimes the rest of life explodes in ways we don't expect and leaves us feeling like it's just too much. One thing, then another, an endless chain of things we have to deal with. Of course the university want to believe that my only priority is the deadlines, or the exams. Work wants to believe that my focus is on doing my job. My doctor want me to be focused on being healthy. My family want me to just be happy. Which one wins?
At the moment the answer is none of them. The added stress of feeling like I have to choose one thing to solve has left me simply avoiding dealing with anything at all. I feel burned out and discouraged and there's still a mountain of coursework to be done.
It's so easy to become wrapped up in life stuff that you reach a point of physical, mental, and spiritual exhaustion. Sometimes the place that should be our sanctuary, church, no longer feels that peaceful. After all, it's hard to have a restful moment with all the things rushing around our heads. But that's exactly what we need to do.
Let God take on our stress... And then, when we've recharged, we can take small steps to overcome the mountain life has placed in front of us. We can do a single assignment, or revise one exam topic. We can tackle the one appointment we've avoided. We can do 20 minutes at the gym. And we can enjoy that one day off. Every step taking some of the mountain away until the path ahead is clear again.
Written by Kerry-Mae Doogan, an SCM member.