Stress was not a term we heard about in my day. We all had things we had to deal with but stress was not something people talked about or even acknowledged. We didn’t have the kinds of tests we have today to find out if there was anything physically wrong with a person, and very little was known about emotions being connected to illness.
When people got sick and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong, they called it psychosomatic and the patient was called a hypochondriac, if not by the doctor, then by the patient’s family and friends. Very few people wanted to be called a hypochondriac so they said nothing about their pain until it became unmanageable, rather than have their symptoms labeled as psychosomatic.
Fast forward a lot of years. Stress became a byword for everything and people started looking for ways to relieve their stress. Most of the things they did, were not for me. In fact, they were appalling.
I remember women telling me that ironing helped them relieve their stress. Ironing clothes?? For me, it was just the opposite because every time I ironed something and turned the garment to the next section, the piece that I had ironed, got all wrinkled and looked as if an iron never touched it.
Then, there were women who spoke about doing housework to relieve their stress. Housework as a panacea for relieving stress? Again, not for me. I did it because it had to be done but it only added to my stress, not relieved it. To this day, I tell people that in all the years I’ve dusted my furniture, not once, did any piece of furniture thank me or leave me a note telling me how grateful they were for taking such good care of them.
Some people relieve their stress by building things. That’s more my style. I’d rather take a hammer to something and see something useful or beautiful come from my labors, especially if I didn’t have to keep doing the same thing over and over. A piece of clothing doesn’t stay ironed and a piece of furniture doesn’t stay dust-free.
Yep, I’d rather build a house or build a city than iron a piece of clothing or clean a house. That’s what I call a stress-free lifestyle.