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Avoid "The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back"

You’ve heard the saying about the straw that broke the camel's back?

 It's not the straw that breaks the camel's back. It's the load that was on the camel’s back before that last straw came around!

We’ve all had days that have felt overwhelming. Maybe we don't get to the point of feeling like we just got that one straw that broke our back. But we get annoyed by little things all the time.

It could be noises that interfere with our ability to concentrate. It could be traffic. It could be an annoying co-worker.

Lots of little things occur all the time. They're too small for us to feel like we have the right to complain about it.

Little by little, these things that are too small for us to feel justified in doing anything about it start to build up.

 We've heard the story about the boss who yells at the worker and the worker goes home and kicks the dog.

 We don't want that happening in our lives. We don't want to take our frustrations out on the people we care the most about. It's not fair to them. They were not the cause of the buildup of frustration that we were experiencing that day. So why should they experience the result of all of those frustrations?

Today's stress management tip is a reminder to check your stress level throughout the day.

 Check your stress level in the morning. How am I feeling? Am I already dealing with six annoyances. Or is today one of those better days where I am dealing with just one annoyance.

Check it again in the afternoon.  How many annoying things have you had to put up with so far? How many phone calls, voicemail messages, and emails? How many deadlines am I facing?

Check again in the evening, especially before you're going to go see your loved ones. What am I carrying home that I don't even realize could make it so one last straw may make me blow up?

By checking your stress level throughout the day, you can release some of your stress rather than letting it build. I've talked about stress management techniques in articles. You can breathe, you can body scan, you can get better sleep. There are a lot of ways to release these little stressors so that you can still have room to enjoy your life.

This is what stress management really is about. We can't eliminate stressors. We can't eliminate annoyances. But what we can do is leave space open for joy.

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