Do You Want to Get Stress Relief? Then You Need to Give Stress Relief

Last week on Stress Relief Tuesday, I told you:

Stress relief isn’t science, it’s art and what works for one man doesn’t necessarily work for another.

I’ve been working remotely now for six months. As a part of my little project to create a course in how to make remote work effective for you, I take pretty much any interaction, social or business, as a chance to do a little research.

Sociable but Not Social

One of the things I have found is that a great people have difficulty with being cooped up at home, with their main source of social interaction confined to their immediate family. Shorter Aristotle:

Man is a social animal.

Generally, I am not. I’m sociable, but not social. This may seem like a distinction without a difference, but follow along.

When I’m in the company of others, I can do small talk with the best of them. That’s being sociable, but the thing is, I don’t generally seek out the company of others, which is the main property of being social.

This property of not being particularly social has driven a great deal of the choices of my life, with the exception of getting into RMC. How in the hell was I expecting to be an anti-social Navy officer? What was I thinking? Fortunately, that particular avenue closed off and I was able to pursue my mostly solitary lifestyle. But I digress.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, not being a particularly social being.

Stress Relief in the Pangolin Panic Pandemic

Fast forward to today, wherein the Pangolin Pandemic Panic has played perfectly into my lifestyle. How perfectly? For the first time in my adult life, in my 50s, I have normal blood pressure. In February, my doctor was worried that it was time to start me on BP meds. Six months without having to suffer the office and suddenly, “Your BP is perfect, you have nothing to worry about.”

That was six months where I spent almost my entire life in the company of my wife, kids and, on cottage weekends, my parents. For most people, family is a source of stress. For me, it’s one of my great release valves.

…what works for one man doesn’t necessarily work for another.

But this all doesn’t address the key point that I’m trying to make. If you want to get, you need to give. This holds in so many areas of life, but here we’re talking about stress relief.

  • My wife was stressed from work, the kids, the pandemic, etc. To help her out, I took over a pile of the household chores. Do I like cooking, feeding the boys, doing the dishes, cleaning, vacuuming, etc.? No. But I put in my ear buds, turned up the tunes, and did it, for her. Her stress relieved, my stress relieved.
  • My parents were, naturally, suffering a lot of stress from the cottage sale. I went up as many weekends as I could, and helped clean, organize and sort. When the final week hove into view, I blew an entire Saturday, and my lower back, getting the heirlooms and antiques taken care of for them. Their stress relieved, my stress relieved.
  • My little guy was having a terrible time adjusting to the incredibly stupid new school arrangements. It was getting so bad I was on the verge of pulling him out and home schooling. Fortunately, he loves running and playing on the jungle gym in our local park, so during the adjustment period, every day after dinner, “Daddy, can I go to the park?” was immediately answered with “Let’s go.” I hate watching them in the park. The little monsters running around suffer a severe lack of parenting, and keeping the little turds under control, when their own parents wont, is a serious source of stress for me. But my little guy needed it, and seeing him de-stress and make the adjustments he needed made the stress of other people’s children bearable.

Do you want to relieve your stress? Help someone else relieve theirs. I doesn’t have to be some grand gesture. Do the dishes. Clean the toilet. Take the kids for an evening so she can hang out with her girlfriends.

Do you have healthy stress coping methods? Then get in the way of someone else’s stress. Take it on yourself, and deal with the stress when you can. You might even find that simple the act of giving (through taking on their stress) relieves the very stress you’re taking on.

You want to get?

You have to give.