I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of The Fudge Factor, but if you haven’t (or have never heard it defined) The Fudge Factor is any number which when added to, subtracted from multiplied by, or divided into the number you got gives you the number you should have gotten.
The Stress Factor is something that I just made up. It is any event (or series of events) which when added to or multiplied by the stress you already have gives you more stress than you can deal with.
In that case, of course, the first instinct is to retreat.
We’ve had a lot of that in the last month and a half or so, and I — a lot of us — have been retreating.
And then we’ve found other ways to deal and get ourselves back on track.
And then something else happens.
Anyone remember those big bowling pin shaped punching bags that you knocked down and they bounced back up? That’s pretty much how I’m feeling lately.
And that’s not a bad thing: knock me down and I bounce back up. And if you’re not careful I’ll bop you on the head.
But sometimes, before you bounce back up, you need to retreat, to find something to do to lessen the effects of The Stress Factor until you can find your feet (and your balance) again.
A long time ago (before personal computers were common) I used to paint D&D figurines to retreat from work stress. I showed one to a co-worker once and she asked how I could do that after a stressful day at work. I replied that it helped with the stress because all of my attention was focused on the end of a very fine (sometimes only a couple bristles) paintbrush and everything else was just pushed away. I don’t think she got it.
Now, though, I do jigsaw puzzles.
I am a jigsaw puzzle addict. I always have been. I’ve been known to ignore chocolate cake with peanut butter icing while working on a jigsaw puzzle. I don’t really have any place here to set up a table for a one, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on JigZone lately.
Jigsaw puzzles (physical or computerized) don’t require much thought, just a focus on color and shape. Focusing on a puzzle (I like the harder cuts) lets me get my conscious mind off of the day’s Stress Factor so that my subconscious can deal with it.
(And, okay, JigZone provides an unhealthy dose of procrastination, too.)
So, what does everyone else do to procras regroup from stress?