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As my daughter prepared for a softball game the next day, her concern was that all the girls planned to dress up for game day, and she didn’t really have any dressy clothes. She and Michelle had to search through closets and try to scrounge up something that wasn’t her typical t-shirt and jeans.

The next day, I overheard Jayna and her friend Grace talking about wardrobes. Grace commented that what to wear each day was the most stressful part of her life.

Oh, to be young again! If only my clothing choice each day was the main thing causing me stress – I’m sure many of you are thinking the same!

According to Susan Knowlton and the Health Guidance website, stress can have many negative aspects including lowering the immune system, negatively affecting decision making, and sometimes leading to anxiety and depression.

We all have stress, and how we deal with it is really crucial to our well-being. Nurse Kate here at school helped set up 10-minute massages for us on our last workshop day. Laura Possin of First Impressions came in and helped work out some of the knots we had. Teaching is a stressful occupation, and it showed by the number of people who signed up for this experience!

That 10 minutes got me thinking about stress. There are so many people who have work-invoked stress. Teaching might be stressful, but I can’t imagine how much that ratchets up if you’re a doctor, police officer, fire fighter, military personnel, etc. Those people-in-service industries have stress to get the product or service done on time; my wife talks about the stress with this all the time as she creates signs for businesses.

Brooke Wobschall keeps my classes up to date on the holiday of the day on my board, and April 16 was Stress Awareness Day, appropriate for the day after taxes were due. Here is an example of a way stress could be avoided: don’t wait until the last minute to complete something! Those who wait until the last day to file their taxes probably have a ton more stress than those who work on them in January and February.

Students face this all the time (when they’re not worried about their clothing). It wouldn’t matter when I give a deadline for a project, there is always a contingent of them who will wait until right before it’s due to even begin. Case in point would be my book projects. They have the entire quarter to finish a novel, answer some questions, and present a project. Two weeks into the new quarter, I had a number of kids decide maybe they should pick out a book. Why not start right away and finish early? A lot less stress then, compared to not being even half done with the book less than a week before everything is due.

Some stress is self-induced. Michelle tells me often that if I didn’t get involved in so many different groups, I would have a lot less stress. That’s true, I know, but I’d still worry about things like how the school calendar is put together and how contract negotiations are progressing if I weren’t directly involved with them.

I’ve found a lot of stress in those two areas this year. The simple fact, as with so many things which committees decide, is that you will never have 100% of the people who are affected be happy. Not everyone likes the calendar that’s been decided on for the 2015-2016 school year (a topic that you’ll probably see here soon), but it’s the best from an educational standpoint. Our union has a tentative contract with the district, and there we also see that not everyone will be happy, even if it’s a great contract overall.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I strive in these roles to find something that’s best for everyone. I listen to all sides, and it’s always difficult to explain to people who don’t get their ideas fulfilled why that didn’t happen. This creates stress. It’s nice to get along with people at work, but differing opinions on topics can sometimes cause strain. I always try to remain professional and mend fences, but the stress is difficult in that area. I’d rather be part of the solution though, than on the outside; I don’t always get everything I desire either, but having a role in reaching the end result is preferential, even if it brings some anxiety.

Knowlton also talked about the positive effects of stress, which include motivation, cognitive improvement, and even physical enhancements. I’ll have to take those as offsets to some of the negative. Jerome K. Jerome is quoted as saying, “It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.” I suppose that means I appreciate my relaxing times more because of some of the stress inducers. And as Al Batt said in his column last week, there are many people who would give anything for our bad days. How true.

Word of the Week: This week’s word is expurgate, which means to remove parts that are objectionable, as in, “She was able to expurgate the stressful situations of her life simply by sitting down and reading a good book.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies.

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