Srini looked at his watch. Then he checked his mobile. Few messages had already flooded his wats app. He was juggling with the thought of reading them to save time and concentrating on the road.
He gave a sigh of impatience as the traffic chugged ahead slowly. He needed to reach his workplace in another 30 minutes to get that meeting with his team going. The targets were challenging. Someone honking behind him shook his train of thoughts. He frowned. A wave of irritation washed over him.
He wondered how the day would go. It was a total one hour commute to his office one way.
Srini did this drill back while returning in the evening too. He felt worn out and found it difficult to relax while commuting. Always thoughts about work or traffic challenges or the chores to be completed once he reached back home assailed his mind.
He was accumulating the daily stress of commuting.
A few hours back precisely at 5.00 am Meenal woke up with a start. The alarm sounded its shrill wake up and reminded her of the burdens she had to bear for yet another day. An endless race against that clock to beat deadlines. She had to cook breakfast, get her kids ready for school, pack lunchboxes for her husband and children. Her mind groaned at the weight of this pressure. Sometimes she used to feel exhausted just on waking up.
Meenal was accumulating the daily stress of morning deadlines.
These are just two instances where people accumulate the dreaded S word, not because of any significant challenges or stressful situations. But because of simple daily circumstances which have the potential to be significant factors that could lead to stress, anxiety, and following health issues. As human beings, we try to stretch our capabilities to the maximum limits. We feel that we will look weak if we even say, ” Oh I find it difficult to wake up so early in the morning.” We want to project ourselves as that superhuman who can do a lot, and a bit more.
But let us pause for a moment and remember that superhumans are made for movies while humans exist for real life. Human beings can absorb stress but only up to a point. Plants need regular watering, trimming. Similarly, human beings need to slow down and take stock of their situations.
This is not to imply that Srini should go to the office when he doesn’t feel like or Meenal ignores the alarm clock and sleeps on.
Few simple steps will help the two and many more to bring some small changes which will reduce the accumulating stress.
Srini can find office colleagues who stay nearby or in and around his area. He can do carpooling with them on a weekly basis.
He and his friends can rotate the driving activity. The company of friends can be therapeutic. He can listen to some soothing, meditative music while driving with mindfulness on the breath. This helps to reduce the tiny bits of stress which collect and later turns into potential anxiety and depression.
It will also benefit him if he can spare at least a few minutes of his early morning time just after waking up to sit in a quiet corner of his home or a garden to meditate. Daily practice helps and then he will find himself responding to situations with more cheerfulness.
Meenal is the quintessential homemaker. She is vulnerable and prone to anxiety issues as she handles many responsibilities and does multitasking too. She also lives with the hidden guilt that she sits at home. A homemaker’s contribution is yet to be acknowledged in the same way as we would of a company’s manager or any corporate job or business.
Meenal needs to realize that she has to slow down. She should plan easy and straightforward menus for the most part of the week.
She needs to streamline her chores and prioritize them. She should not hesitate to ask her family to help her. A few minutes of breathing exercises and meditation will give her the much-needed boost of energy as well as a calmness to go about the day.
Being mindful of the daily situations that we go through however small or big they may be is necessary. Are we reacting to stress or responding to stress?
Are the responses positive or negative? Did we groan, frown, curse, grunt, sweat, smile, laugh or sigh? Do we take time out to assess the day?
So let us pause and think. It will always be worthwhile in the long run.