Phone a Friend

Prevention (USA) - - EDITOR’S NOTE -

ONE DAY NOT LONG AGO, I sat at my desk star­ing at pages and pages of data: the re­sults of a huge sur­vey on stress we’d con­ducted with the non­profit HealthyWom­en and the com­mu­ni­ca­tions firm GCI Health. The num­bers were fas­ci­nat­ing but over­whelm­ing, and I was, well, stressed by them. So I emailed the (many) spread­sheets to one of the smartest writ­ers I know, Sandy Fernán­dez, and we set up a time to talk.

Sandy and I mostly work to­gether over email be­cause we’re both so busy (and stressed!), but talk­ing to her was worth ev­ery minute. To­gether, she and I were able to think in a deeper way about how to turn the data into a help­ful story. We caught up on per­sonal stuff too—how our sons were, what mu­tual ac­quain­tances were up to— and I hung up feel­ing lighter about work and life.

When you’re on edge, do you keep it to your­self, think­ing that you should be able to han­dle it or maybe that you don’t want to bur­den any­one? You’re not alone, but when you read Sandy’s ar­ti­cle on page 34, I hope you’ll see things dif­fer­ently. We can’t usu­ally make our stress go away—our con­cerns of­ten re­late to things we re­ally care about, af­ter all. But when we talk about our stres­sors in a real way, we can start to con­trol how we re­act to them.

Our sur­vey found that gift-giv­ing cre­ates a lot of hol­i­day anx­i­ety, so find some time this sea­son to con­nect with some­one: Ask what’s both­er­ing her and share what’s hard for you. It’s a sur­pris­ingly per­fect present to give each other.

WHO’S STRESSED? Well, writer Sandy Fernán­dez and I of­ten are, but not when we’re to­gether!

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