Burnout + Kids = Insanity

Emotional and Physical burnout is real with anxiety or not. We try to do so many things in our life and pack as much into our daily lives as we can.

  • Work 40+ hours a day
  • Take some graduate classes
  • Raise children
  • Tend to your relationship
  • Keep the house clean
  • Never ending laundry
  • Walk the dog
  • Blog
  • Agree to attend your mother’s third cousins party
  • Call your parents
  • Have dinner at the in-laws
  • Go to the gym

The list never seems to really end. Packed into all of this we’re supposed to have some self-care. For some people, the gym is their happy place and they can knock off two bird with one stone. For me it’s rest, I need to rest my brain because it never truly shuts off. Extra sleep, maybe a massage, these things make me feel better but trying to schedule something else in is daunting. There isn’t a lot of “me time” in my life. I’ve been searching for jobs that may not be more work life balance but allows for more time to myself even if it’s on a plane, just like running away but the adult kind.

I am happily married, two cats, work 40 hours a week in a cube, going to graduate school, and currently in therapy. I do my best around the house but sometimes it’s overwhelming for me and I need to not think about it. My husband helps out a lot sometimes more than his fair share with everything I have going on. I’m jealous of him most days. He works from home when his work is done he gets free time. If my work is done at the office I still have to sit there and twiddle my thumbs. (There are very few days my work is ever done, but the option would be nice) Oher days he’s getting work calls during dinner and at night, those are the days I’m less jealous.

I seem to be on the edge of a breakdown recently. For sure physically, I’ve had a cold for almost three weeks now. I’ve put my relationship on autopilot which is the worst thing I can ever do, I’m just trying to get through the day and the next day. When I first started grad school my husband looked me in the face and asked if I was taking on too much. Although I didn’t and still don’t want to admit it he’s right. My bigger issue is I want the white picket fence with the 2.5 kids and we are at the very low end of the middle class. We don’t own a home my car is almost ten years old and I’m going to cry when it needs replacing, not because I’m attached to it, but because of the payments.

Both our parents keep talking about grandkids and I want to scream “Will you pay for them?”. And then the anxiety kicks in again. What if I wait too long? What if grad school doesn’t lead to a better job? What if we never own a house? There’s this series of events that every generation before me has had and I have no idea how they were able to afford any of it. I emptied our HSA for Invisalign because it’s too hard to floss and dental upkeep appointments were draining me. I’m too young to think about losing teeth. <- That’s what’s on my mind right now not children. But my husband is ready so it feels like I’m just standing there surrounded by disappointed faces because I want our lives to be better. If we had a child and ACA went away, even though I have pretty good company insurance, and something went wrong… it would crush us.

These are the thoughts I have. Not the happy I want to be pregnant thoughts that all of my friends have. I’m already stretched to my limits, and I don’t want to pick a fight with anyone. If I bring up my concerns I’m told I’m crazy and it won’t be like that. But what if it is…

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AWS

The release of the Technostress post couldn’t have been timed better if I had tried. (I swear I didn’t take downAmazon)

If you don’t know what’s going on check out TechCrunch first: https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/28/amazon-aws-s3-outage-is-breaking-things-for-a-lot-of-websites-and-apps/

Although the exact cause has not been released the error is clearly coming out of one of Amazon’s server farms taking down the East Coast. I tell my customers Hardware before Software. Crazy idea, I know, in the era of apps and everything you could ever know at your fingertips, the software will not fix a hardware issue. The software can assist in load balances to a point, but servers are strained every day depending on what you are running.

For years the technology industry has gone crazy over “cloud”. The cloud isn’t a cloud and a horrible term but highly marketable. Your information is just hosted somewhere else and the host gets to bill you per license. Hooray for overcharging! Honestly, it isn’t that bad of a system for small companies getting off the ground but these have been marketed as a long-term solution. If you depend on your own server(s) you could still go down, but Amazon currently has most of the East Coast down; overpromising and under delivering. Most server farms have a failover plan. If a server goes down it will disconnect and go to the backup server. This brings me back to my point. This is the reason why server farms exist. Load balancing and backup failover precautions cost money upfront. Take whatever technology quote you have and immediately multiply it by two. $$$$$

Amazon is one of the biggest customers for cloud as a service. When something like this happens to the largest supplier it will most likely disrupt the market. I’ll be watching this intently to see what the cause was and what marketing spin comes out of this.

As for any of you using AWS, take some vitamin D, mediate, and hope your cortisol levels don’t get too bad. (See the previous post)

Technostress

What really happens to your body during technostress? I’m going to briefly tell you about a study done in 2012 in Australia and then pull some conclusions.

  • 20 male students participated
  • 10 in the experimental group
  • 10 in the control group
  • each participant chewed a cotton ball before and after the study to measure the cortisol levels in the body

Each participant was told to put items in a shopping cart online. (Simple enough task) Nothing happened to the control group after two minutes they were told they were done and could be on their way. The experimental group was given an error message preventing them from their task two minutes in. Researchers told the group there was an error and apologized.

The experimental group showed an increased level cortisol. Even after such a mundane task with no real urgency.

The stress hormone, cortisol, is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease… The list goes on and on.

How many times have you been at the office or in a hotel and your internet goes out? Dropped call? (I really can’t hear you right now) Tried to send an email but the file size was too large? The list can go on.

Every time this happens cortisol goes to work, trying to balance out your stress level. Maybe you were talking to a client or had to get your homework emailed in by a certain time/date. Take for instance you are using old equipment at school or work and these types of occurrences happen on a regular basis. Cortisol levels will stay elevated, you may become sicker after being exposed to a cold, your memory may not be as good, and of course the stress on your heart and body in general.

Technostress is real and can be measured, more companies should take these studies into consideration when putting off a system upgrade or software roll-out without proper training. We are only doing ourselves a disservice continuing the way we are.

What is the biggest technostress you deal with? How could it be addressed and by whom?

References:

Riedl, R., Kindermann, H., Auinger, A., & Javor, A. (2012). Technostress from a Neurobiological Perspective. Business & Information Systems Engineering, 4(2), 61-69.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1