I used to thrive on stress – I was proud of how busy my life was, how much responsibility I had, and how much I achieved at work. I took on more and more, never saying no, and worked long hours throughout the week and weekends. Running down the corridor to the toilet was evidence of how little time I had for personal things.
The fight or flight response gives us a burst of adrenalin to cope with difficult situations, and can be positive in the short term. But long term exposure to stress can act to undermine our physical and psychological wellbeing.
I thought that difficulties sleeping, constant feeling of hyperactivity and irritability, were normal. They weren’t. They were a sign of stress. And eventually I had to take stock, listen to my body, and make major changes in my life.