One of the ways I explain stress on my training courses is to ask the participants after the tea break to tell me how heavy their cup of tea was.

People think about it for a few seconds and generally give varying answers from 20 grams to 300 grams.  So I’ll carry out an experiment.  I’ll get a few glasses of water and ask a few people to hold them.  No problem.  Then I ask them to hold them at arms length.  I continue talking for a few minutes, with them continuing to hold them at arms length.  Then I ask them are they any heavier.  Some say yes and others say no.  Then I ask, if they were to hold them like that for an hour or longer, would they be heavier.  The answer is a definite yes.

So I explain that “the absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it."

"If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

People are now beginning to see where I’m coming from.

I continue, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."

"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a while if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested.

Life is short. Enjoy it!"