Everyone experiences stress differently, and everyone is sensitive to different stressors. In this post, I'll recount what I hope will be this year's only extreme stress situation for me.
Preconditions for stress
You're prone to end up in a much too stressful situation if some of these are true:
- You feel obligations toward someone, want to help out
- You're kind
- Nobody is in it together with you, i.e. you have to solve most of it on your own
- You care about others
- You're in a situation which can affect you very negatively
- Issues are open-ended, not showing an obvious path to a solution
- There's a deadline
I wouldn't be surprised if there are whole categories of preconditions that I didn't think of. Perhaps you have other suggestions?
Leading up to last week, there were several things converging, which together made part of the week particularly unbearable.
Volunteering. Since the start of the year, I've been involved with the Effective altruism movement in Sweden. This is something I care strongly about, so wanting to help out, I had taken on too many responsibilities in areas where I don't have any experience. Instead of early on explaining to the group that I need help, I waited until it was almost too late, before letting anyone know of the situation. Somehow, I thought I'd be able to manage the lion's share of the tasks on my own.
After telling them that I needed help, several people stepped up, and what was an insurmountable project, became manageable. I still had the main responsibilities, but delegating many of the tasks made it easier to have an overview. Volunteering was the main cause of stress.
New colleague. I have a new colleague at work, and introducing him to all the projects and discussing his work projects has meant that I get too little time for my own. Feeling that I should make progress on the projects I'm working on also created stress.
Old customers. I have a couple of old customers, apart from my main one. I don't feel like I can put much time into problems in their projects, also creating some stress.
I don't believe that my writing on this blog contributes to stress, but it certainly is one more thing to make time for daily.