What is at stake, when stress strikes? Or threatens our relationships, both individually; family needs or even collaboration in the workplace?

Speaking of relationships and family roles in this context, parenting holds a dual aspect to it. Both a privilege and shared responsibility, which another may call an obligation. Pushing our human envelope to what I call the 'mental structural limits' happens on a daily basis, which at times results in what we casually call 'busy, stressed and tired'. Navigating and maneuvering through the demands of today and meeting either individual or family needs, but also everyday expectations; such as a job or school project requires more than superman powers. No wonder the ripple effects, given the job workload amidst juggling family needs such as a kid's soccer game or your daughter's dance lesson and I haven't mentioned of hockey training routines and traffic delays.

“When two elephants fight, the grass suffers indeed.” Your valuable relationships and finding balance as well as juggling multiple aspects of life in terms of 'needs' are pulling in two opposing directions. In this case, family members or relationship stakeholders become the grass underneath the fighting elephants. As a resulting factor, one may feel overwhelmed as miscommunication and the difficulty to expressing the internal pressure for not dropping the ball keep increasing. At such a crucial moment, opportunities may pose a threat to either the relationships nurtured for years or the miscommunication getting in the way; instead of reaching out and leaning-in toward each other's vulnerability - where both partners slowdown and look in each other's eyes but mostly, be reminded that they've gotten each other's love (back). Be reminded of the gift of life and joy amidst the morning rush to drop the kids to school and hit the office as expected before the evening schedule.

Speaking of workplace stress and collaboration, reaching out for support or help from either a colleague, supervisor and management don’t mean a sign of performance and productivity weakness but rather strength and care in what you do. This is what I call being truly human and vulnerable enough; when one stretches a hand seeking support and connection rather than isolation and self-destructions as a coping strategy.

A sense of comm-unity and belonging on mental health
Research has links between social connection and health outcomes. As we look at ways in mitigating stress impacts on the self, families and communities; we must rethink the basics of whom we are meant as human beings. A Sense of connection and community belonging embodies the social attachment of individuals and reflects both social engagement and participation within communities (Statistics Canada by Ross Nancy, 2002). It’s a no brainer, for we are social beings. From our infancy to the adult attachment needs we all continue to have. Thank goodness, what a vibrant and multicultural city that we live in - Toronto! Every year in Toronto and I must add, in the Beaches and east end of Toronto; we celebrate life and community but more so; a great sense of belonging. Be it at Woodbine beach or in the small neighborhoods such as my Orchard Park Blvd annual street party.

Everyday, you and me should be looking for the 'shooting star moments' in our lives, in order to stay rejuvenated. This is when one slows down and pays attention but above all; listens and feels. Kissing goodbye to either your loved one at the airport or your son before the school bell rings goes beyond 'rushing'. I truly mean, looking in the eyes of your child before, instead of the "drop-off and rush"; chasing your own tail - the never-ending mystery. Never enough as we strive to make it or provide as we call it; yet the everlasting 'shooting star moments' are irreplaceable. Because, these are times we really connect, feel and express our deep emotions beyond vulnerability or fear; which is craved the most by any human being - love. Holding the hand or extending a touch of comfort to another, reassures them of your presence amidst your anticipated absence.

Words of encouragement: Be it at home, at school, on the bus or with a workmate; look for those 'shooting star moments' - for we are created for connection and a sense of Ubuntu. Remember to eat, sleep, connect and laugh; for it's important to working from rest than taking rest from being stressed or tired.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any question, for any move starts with that first step!

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Author Noah Mugenyi

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