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Why is stress so tiring?

I am in the middle of a house move.

Not just house but family, belongings, utilities, one small cat, one small cat’s belongings and the stubborn clutter from years of family life that I haven’t yet whittled down to one suitcase.

Oh, and my business. Because I work from home, as many do, Head Office also has to move.

I’m quite organised so I think it’s all going to plan despite the monumental task list. Time will tell whether that claim is correct.

We’ve had the usual curve-balls around forms, contracts, dates and more forms (over 160 to date). I could feel the stress rising recently but look, I’m a coach who is a former nurse with a special interest in the physiology of stress and resilience. I know how to counteract that. I’ve been doing all the things I teach.

But what surprised me, and it’s no harm to be reminded, is just how tiring stress is. Energy levels dipping low when they normally don’t is our body’s way of telling us something is amiss. I’m not unwell, so that leaves stress as the main suspect.

Why is stress so draining, even when we think we are managing it well?

Stress makes our body generate more of the “fight-or-flight” chemicals that are designed to prepare us for an emergency.

In situations where we can’t run away or fight (don’t think I’m not tempted to book the booth beside my cat in the cattery, snooze on a blankie for 10 days and just be collected by a responsible adult when it’s all over!), the chemicals that our body has produced to protect us can’t be used up and, over time, can damage our health. Cortisol has a lot of functions in the body, but its levels are supposed to tail off during the day. Every cell in our body picks it up so if it’s constantly high, it’s constantly entering all our cells. And it burns them out. Poor little cells.

I’m going to take a back seat from work to settle everyone in. As next week is a bank holiday in Ireland and school mid-term break in most countries I’ll take a ‘mid-term break’ from blog posts - for a short while.

I hope you also take a break as it’s the last one before the end of the year.

See you after my little retreat at the cattery

Until then, take care,



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