Stress mismanagement

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz
I should have known right then that too much job-related stress was finally getting to me. While passing through airport security a couple weeks ago, I removed my belt and discovered I was wearing a second one underneath. I have no idea how this happened, or why, but the TSA agent found it highly amusing.

Stress is bad, and here's what else I've recently discovered. Getting so weakened by it that you pass out in an urgent care clinic bathroom and have to be taken by ambulance to the hospital isn't a great recipe for relief. I have no idea how this happened or why, but my paramedic friend who answered the emergency call found it highly amusing.

Everything's O.K. now — turns out it was just a little touch of pneumonia that since has been walloped into submission by a wacky new treatment called antibiotics. I'm sobered, of course, by the specter of my mortality, and being hauled on a crash cart through two crowded waiting rooms does take a toll on one's dignity. But in the process, I learned a couple truths about myself. First, I don't handle stress well, and second, I handle stress very poorly.

So what am I doing about it? I've started yoga, for one thing, and have already progressed to sweaty and inflexible beginner status. I highly recommend this ancient discipline for long-term care settings, and not just because “Yoga in the Breakroom” has long been one of my favorite Mötley Crüe songs.

Anxious MDS coordinators will find the Downward Facing RUG pose highly restorative, especially when followed by several hours of either Reclining Hero or Corpse.

I've also embraced deep breathing and meditation, and encourage stress-addled administrators to spend each survey visit in the full lotus position. But my habit of walking around the house shouting “Serenity now!” like Frank Costanza on “Seinfeld” should probably not be emulated in your building. Or even in the parking lot.

Gary Tetz writes from his secret lair somewhere near Walla Walla, WA. Since his debut with at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.

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