Hi, so today I thought I’d share a couple of thoughts on stress in case it’s helpful to you.
I just released a beta version of my latest game and in order to do that I worked some pretty crazy hours (past midnight every day and also two full weekends), culminating in a stint where I stayed up until 4am and could barely type. Although I was under pressure, I didn’t feel much stress and I certainly didn’t start snapping at people around me. I just got on with the work and kept prioritising what I needed to do. In fact it’s actually quite interesting having to focus and work intensely in order to meet a tight deadline. Also I found it important to actually enjoy the work that I was doing and to live more in the moment than worry about deadlines etc. Listening to music and working in an empty office at night helped me with this. Anyway, the beta test went well with very positive feedback and my boss was pleased with it, which is good!
Then two days later, just as I was chilling out, I got some interesting news…
We have a house in England that we spent lots of money making nice ($20000 or so) so that we can rent it out whilst we are in Vancouver and we just heard yesterday that two radiator pipes have burst and leaked water through the light fittings onto the brand new living room carpet in two places which has also blown the electrics. So the pipes need to be repaired by going through newly decorated floors and ceilings (because one of leaks is under a tiled bathroom) then the damage needs to be repaired all round. Naturally this will be costly and just the day before we had used some money I earned to pay off our debts, which we felt good about. Furthermore our first tenants are due to move in in one week’s time and start paying rent! To top it off we found out that our insurance policy probably won’t cover it. So we are having to remotely manage tradesmen to repair the damage as quickly as possible whilst getting another loan.
How would you feel if that happened to you? I could feel really bad at this hassle, expense and the fact that our nice house is ruined, but I have chosen not to – I’m completely detached from it, it’s just a problem to be solved like so many others. This decision to not feel stressed about it enabled me to have a great night in watching Battlestar with my fiancée. Also I have a cold right now and that actually seems much more of a pain in the ass than the house issues because it’s literally in my face.
I think several things helped me to let go of this stress. One was that I’ve just been through a really busy period and so this issue just feels like one more thing to deal with (also we moved continent about two months ago, which involves a *lot* of things to deal with). Another is that I went to a local Ki Aikido class the night before I heard the house news and was feeling pretty chilled out. It also really helped that Helen, my fiancé, did not get stressed about it either; so we didn’t fuel each other’s potential feelings of stress – maybe it helped that she told me via email instead of face to face. We then communicated via email discussing the damage and remedies and various issues related to situation. For me it definitely helps to get all this stuff down on paper (or virtual paper) so that I can see clearly and that this stuff is not still trapped in my head making me worried or stressed etc.
Right now my main intentions are to have a really nice relaxing weekend with my family, play some games and get rid of my cold. The house problem will resolve itself eventually with a little input from us and is really not worth getting stressed over
I encourage you to look at situations that might be stressing you out now and see if writing down all the factors helps you to de-stress (maybe it’ll make it worse, lol). Then if you need to take some action towards the stressful thing, go and do it. But if it’s the kind of stress where you have to wait a while before the next action can be taken, just let it go! Breathe deeply and feel the stress seeping away – feel yourself relaxing. Then go and enjoy your day because you can’t do anything about the situation right now.