How I escaped stress

An exit sign being used to show how I escaped stress.

When I spotted that it was National Stress Awareness Day today, I felt compelled to write about how I escaped stress. For no other reason than the fact that I hope my experience might help others.

Around 18 months ago, I was coming to the end of a miserable year in an incredibly stressful job. I had quickly realised that I didn’t belong there but had been unemployed for five months beforehand so kept my head down, got on with it and tried to convince myself it would get better. It never did.

I dreaded getting out of bed every morning, standing on a crowded train and trudging to the office. Lunch breaks were a rare luxury and there were more meetings than time to do actual work. The demand to do said work, of course, was high. There was also a large amount of red tape and micromanaging.

I was getting headaches every day despite rarely suffering them before. I was also getting a tight feeling in my chest and my asthma got worse. Sometimes I sat at my desk just staring into my screen in despair and unable to think about anything other than walking out and never returning. There was a real danger of me becoming ill.

Even thinking about it now, I tense up. Something had to give and I was determined it wasn’t going to be my health. This is where this post begins to get easier to read!

Despite the misery I was enduring, I had obviously done enough to impress my employers. My contract was coming to an end and there was another year on the table if I wanted it.

With one month to go, I handed in my notice. There wasn’t a grand plan in place; I just had to get out of there and on my own terms. As the family’s only earner, it was a massive gamble but one that I simply had to take.

I needed to be with my family more; particularly with our third child on the way. I also needed time to recover from the gruelling experience of the previous year.

I decided to try going freelance and supplement my earnings with this blog. Within a few months, I was making more out of blogging than freelancing. This has remained the case and now the freelance is the little extra.

I’m with my family much more and it’s time I’m never going to regret. Also, more by accident than design, I escaped my nightmare and ended up in my dream job. Pro blogger and proud.

Life is just far too short to be in a miserable job. My advice to anyone who finds themselves in the same situation might seem flippant and ill-advised to some, but I feel I can share it as I’m living proof.

Put yourself first and get out of there. Spend more time with the people you love. Do things you enjoy. If you can earn a living out of it, go for it.

To qualify this further and put to bed any illusions that my life is now perfect, it isn’t! There are, of course other stresses but they are manageable. I don’t earn nearly as much as I did, but have learned that we don’t need nearly as much as I thought. We get by and that will do me.

So that’s how I escaped stress. I was dangerously close to allowing it to win and things could have been very different. I took control just in time and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Life is for living, so live it.

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