Balancing Stress triggers and High BP

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ghostrider
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Balancing Stress triggers and High BP

Postby ghostrider » Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:29 am

Background - I am nearly 40 and have starting having more frequent headaches. My BP has bounced around over the years, but today it is 139/91 and 140/89 - that's without a headache. I workout regularly - both cardio and weights, averaging 3+ days most weeks,though life can get in the way. I gained a few lbs over the winter, but I'm not overweight, and visually it seems my muscle mass % is probably as high as it has ever been. For diet, I try to stick to a lowISH carb diet, certainly not low, but a dinner of meat and salad is common.

Looking at my lifestyle, that is probably the biggest stress trigger, so my question is how can I address it? It seems like a trade-off between work stress and financial stress from not working even harder. I have the single income in our family and am decently well paid, but with all our other medical issues, braces, eyeglasses, etc, my income is just barely enough to get by. We had a couple issues last year that burned thru our emergency fund and we haven't been able to replenish it. We try to be frugal where we can, but will also eat out once/twice a week for date nights or to just relax and reduce stress. My job is very stressful - I've had 3 bosses in the past year, the current big boss is an insensitive jerk, and lets everyone around him feel his own stresses. And we just when thru a large round of layoffs and other cost cuts. So I am applying for other jobs (very limited market right now) and I am extremely well qualified but the problem is that I seem to be at the high end of the pay scale for what I do already. Our industry's economy is also hurting - so I won't be getting a bonus or raise this year (usually paid in the spring). So my options are:
1-look for a less stressful job that probably pays less - but if this doesn't adequately support my family then it only adds more financial stress
2-look for additional ways to cut expenses - but we have already cut out all the low hanging fruit. Its to the point where just looking for additional cuts is stressful and probably involves a lot of time, which we don't have
3-take on a second job teaching college classes at night. I've done this in the past and it solves a lot of the financial issues, but leaves my wife feeling abandoned and is another stress by itself.
4-Find a better paying job that I like more and is a perfect match???
5-something else?

Any ideas or advice? I really don't want to go on BP meds, as those often have side effects and don't address the root cause of the stresses anyway. Option #4 could be great, but its partially out of my control.

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jokerman
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Re: Balancing Stress triggers and High BP

Postby jokerman » Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:39 am

Can you do #3, but mitigate the feelings of abandonment by getting her buy-in to the plan, emphasize the temporary nature of teaching (semesters are only 17 weeks long), and be intentional about spending time together on weekends?

doug-h
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Re: Balancing Stress triggers and High BP

Postby doug-h » Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:54 am

Can you set some boundaries at work?

I often have several crews at a time, sometimes working 24 hour schedules. I used to do everything needed to keep things running, but I have gotten better at just saying "NO".

Work Sunday-NO
Just got called about a breakdown at 2AM, can you go out and check-No
Need you to be at every shift change(12 hr shifts with 2 hr commute)-NO
Can you cover for ? So he can take time off-NO(unless it is a family emergency)
Can you drive down Sunday(Valentines Day) to start Monday-No

Pretty much, I have eliminated all work beyond reasonable hours that isn't a bona fide emergency, and the schedule falling behind for reasons beyond my control doesn't qualify.

It hasn't been easy, and I have had to refuse and re-state my reasons several times, but I have made it clear. So far, those boundaries have been accepted without objection. I have made it clear that I will do what is needed, as long as the need is genuine, and not a trumped up attempt to augment the bottom line with time that should be spent with my family
Last edited by doug-h on Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

ghostrider
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Re: Balancing Stress triggers and High BP

Postby ghostrider » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:41 am

jokerman wrote:Can you do #3, but mitigate the feelings of abandonment by getting her buy-in to the plan, emphasize the temporary nature of teaching (semesters are only 17 weeks long), and be intentional about spending time together on weekends?


It's worth talking about. At best it's a partial solution (financial) and I can't start up again until August at the soonest. My university was starting to have some quota issues on their non-PhD instructors before I quit, but they seem to like me and surely would give me another shot at some point. I just might have to wait my turn to get back on the schedule.

Can you set some boundaries at work?


Maybe - but that's a delicate situation. The new big boss (he's new to the company and our company culture) has said in nearly every meeting how "things need to change around here", or talked about accountability, or about how hard he works and/or everyone else needs to work. It gets to me after a while. For a few weeks we were working crazy hours, but that has tapered off since. Still, I take the pressure with me. Plus the nature of the work has changed. When I'm working on a growth project and success is easily defined and measurable, I find the work self-energizing. But when I'm tasked with cutting costs, and working on a team to cut heads, well anyone who isn't a psychopath should find that depressing.

Anyway, my former director already resigned because he doesn't want to work with the new big boss. I might end up following him to his new company, and my first interview was yesterday. But the pay hasn't been discussed much yet, the commute can be pretty bad, and then there are all the unknowns of a new job. Also, the job title might be a step down. It's not really ideal, but I am fairly certain the personal environment will be less toxic.


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