Butterflies and Barbed Wire 19 up this anecdotal evidence. In my own experience, I have found I am healthier when I manage my stress effectively. My body simply works better when I invest time in the things that work for me, things such as yoga, meditation, running, reading, and woodworking. insoMnia Raise your hand if you have trouble sleeping. When I ask groups of parents and caregivers to do this, 75 percent of them raise their hands. As we discuss the topic, they explain that their days are so full they do not have time for all the sleep they need, and when they do finally settle into bed, their minds are cluttered with thoughts and worries about yesterday and tomorrow. The mental chatter makes sleep difficult and uneasy. absenTeeisM or PerforMance decline When the stress starts getting to us, we tend to stop showing up for the things that cause the stress, or when we do show up, we “phone it in,” just go through the motions. (This may ex- plain why I skipped so many days during my senior year of high school!) Center directors can predict when staff members are going to quit by tracking how often they call in sick on Fridays and Mondays. Why would you want to show up at a place that is making you physically ill and affecting your sleep? Why would you want to pour any more of yourself into work that is causing you so much stress? irriTabiliTy and increased anxieTy When you are not sleeping, when your body is aching, and when you are feeling ill, there is a good chance you might be a tad irritable or anxious. You begin to snip and snap at the people around you, your pet becomes afraid of you, your chest tightens, and you end up feeling fed up and scared of the world. boredoM, aPaTHy, and dePression As burnout builds, you may find yourself apathetic and bored with life. The day-to-day sameness of your home life and job leave you feeling bored and unfulfilled. You struggle to keep up