Straight out of college I learned a valuable lesson about stress and anxiety. Early in the morning I headed to work at a private school. Many would consider the children I worked with there to be privileged. After school at 3pm I would drive to my next job at a mental health rehabilitation center for adolescents. I worked about 60 hours a week but I was eager to learn from the “real world” instead of the classroom.
The lesson came to me one day while working at the private school. The night before I had witnessed family visits at the rehabilitation center and it was devastating. Many of these kids who were trying to beat their addiction to drugs were being visited by drug attics themselves- their parents. I thought, “How will these kids make it if their parents don’t get clean” and “were they ever even given a fair chance?” I went to work the next morning and a young girl was throwing a tantrum. I had never seen her be so hostile and I immediately remembered my experience the night before. I became enraged; “How dare she act like this, she doesn’t even know how good she has it!” Later in the day, another teacher explained that the little girl’s parents had just filed for divorced. I explained to the teacher about my experience from the night before but she looked at me and simply stated “it’s all relative.” It was such an epiphany for me. But she was right, it is all relative.
Sometimes I feel guilty for stressing out over the small things when I have a home, my health, and my family. Yet, the bottom line is stress is relative and the worst thing you can do is ignore it. Whether your stressor is big or small; please read this week’s article for tips on coping with stress and anxiety.
And a BIG “thank you” to our MINES & Associates’ HealthPsychology Team for writing all of our May articles!