Everything in Balance

I used to be that person. Rushing around putting out fires, letting a little bit more of myself catch on fire every time until everyone else was safely doused but I was there, burning in silence. That was a violent analogy, but I hope it gets the message across.

At one point a friend recommended that every single time I got stressed I should just pull out some earphones, plug them into my music player and listen to the entirety of Arvo Pärt’s ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’, and that would make me feel better. It worked for a little while, until I became dependent on it and I pulled it out one time during a client meeting when I’d had enough, and I ended up ignoring everyone in the room for ten full minutes.

After that, it really was time for a stress management course. Melbourne was really cracking down on workplace stress at the time, so my work organised the whole thing, partially because they’d seen me at my desk tearing out pieces of my hair and I guess also because everyone else was under the pump as well. It’s possible that I infected quite a few others. But it wasn’t ALL me! It was at the course where I learned that there’s no silver bullet for dealing with stress, and that while my one technique of listening to classical music from a dead Estonian composer was quite helpful, it could not be allowed to become a crutch upon which my entire mental state rests. You need to practice more well-rounded forms of mindfulness, be aware of where the stress is coming from and… you know, other stuff. Hey, I’m sure the people running stress management lessons have techniques exclusive to them; I can’t just be giving them away for free.

But you know, there’s a lot of basic stuff you just don’t think about when there’s too much to do. Like keeping hydrated, and eating lunch and breakfast so that you have enough energy to get through the day. All of that alongside music. That’s the recipe for a good time.