Why I care about your stress
You might wonder why I care about your stress so much. The truth is, stress and I go way back. Understanding and combating other peoples’ stress has been a common thread through most of my adult life.
It began in the classroom whilst I was studying for A-Level Psychology. I was shocked to learn how much stress can impact on our physical health and life experience. I went on to study for a BSc in Psychology, which was when my understanding of stress truly deepened. We covered it in depth in the syllabus, but the real lesson came from experience.
I was putting myself under enormous pressure to graduate with a good grade. Having struggled somewhat in my second year of study, I had lost all confidence in my ability by year three. I lost sleep, hair and weight worrying that if I didn’t pass, I’d let down my parents who made sacrifices to pay my tuition fees.
To my relief (and surprise at the time), I ended up finishing with a 2:1 (Hons). I did it! But boy did I experience the physical effects of stress like never before. I felt totally burnt out and lacking in energy for some time afterwards.
It was this experience that led me on a path to discover more about the relationship between our minds and bodies. I knew that the release of stress hormones has a direct and physical effect on our bodies. However, I wanted to understand this from the opposite angle too. Having studied the mind, I felt my education was incomplete until I learned more about the body.
A dual career
Alongside my day job (in a marketing position at the time), I spent my evenings studying for a Level 3 diploma in body massage. To this day, I have maintained my professional development in this area and am a Member of the Federation of Holistic Therapists (MFHT). My knowledge of anatomy and physiology has grown, and is always developing. Most importantly, I have gained an enhanced appreciation of the direct impact our minds have over our bodies.
Ironically, what followed was a divorce between my own mind and body.
The daytime is the territory of my mind. The work I do in my day job ties me to a computer. My body has no option but to sit in a chair and follow my mind’s orders. Occasionally it will send my brain a signal that it is hungry, thirsty or cold. The rest of the time, it quietly cooperates and serves to enable my mind to get on and do its job.
In the evenings it is my body’s turn to work. When delivering a massage treatment, I can hibernate my conscious mind and allow my hands to do the thinking. The art of ‘palpation’ detects muscular tension through the fingertips. Muscle memory guides the rest of the treatment. The experience of providing a massage treatment is almost as relaxing for me as it is for my clients. Thus, massage has continued as the ‘B-side’ to my career.
Putting it all together
The thing I love most about massage therapy is when clients report that they are feeling less stressed. But unless they are able to make adaptations to their lives, the impact is short-lived. Rather than allowing stress to happen and treating its effects, I wanted to delve deeper into peoples’ lives. I wanted to help to create ways of living and working that prevent stress from occurring in the first place.
This is what motivated me to start My-Go-To. The ability to provide clients with actual, practical support that removes burdens from their daily lives is my prime motivator. I want to help people to find better ways of managing and enjoying their lives. As a Virtual Assistant, I can spend my days supporting more clients and delivering a longer lasting impact.
Being able to bring the array of professional skills I have picked up and honed through my ‘A-side’ career, and apply them to solving other peoples’ problems, is like a dream for me.
There's no getting away from stress
You may know that our bodies’ Stress Response System has not evolved as quickly as our environments have. This means we will produce the response required to run away from a hungry bear, even when we only need to confront an envelope from the DVLA. We are wired to experience the stress response and there’s not a lot we can do to stop it when unexpected things happen.
But what we can do is create infrastructures in our lives that help us to better manage the expected stresses. By default, those infrastructures tend to prove valuable in dealing with unexpected stresses when they crop up.
By having a Virtual Assistant (VA) in your life, you will no longer be battling your to-do list alone. Even just a few hours a month of VA support can bring you a hugely positive feeling that someone has got your back. Proactively ensuring you have a VA in your life can be a huge help when unexpected things happen and you need to rely on somebody. Just knowing that you have this support in your life can ease the pressure you feel and bring a wave of relief.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by life's pressures
You are not alone. A 2018 study found that three quarters of adults felt stressed and unable to cope at some point in the past year. One third of the adults surveyed said that, in the past year, they had experienced suicidal feelings as a result of stress.
A Virtual Assistant will be able to help to relieve the burden on you. You can pass on the jobs you don’t like, or which cause you anxiety to do. Things can get better, and engaging the support of a VA is a quick and easy way to make a positive impact. Book a call with me if you’d like to find out more about how I can support you to lead a happier and less stressful life. My home page has more information on the kinds of services I offer.
I will continue to write blog posts about different ways of dealing with stress, so do check back here often or sign up to my newsletter. You can also check out the Mind website for further support on coping with feelings of stress.
Whatever you choose to do, please remember that you do not have to carry the full weight of your load alone. Help is out here.