Photo Credit (w/edits): Sodanie Chea
“Type A individuals [are] ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status-conscious, sensitive, impatient, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, anxious, proactive, and concerned with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics”, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.” (Wikipedia)
The only things in that paragraph that don’t describe me are: ambitious, highly status-conscious, and workaholic. Sometimes, I get disorganized but, then I’ll go on a rampage (that gracious Mr. B calls my stress cleaning week) and reorganize the apartment top to bottom.
If you’re type A you know (and if you read that description you should be able to tell) that being type A is rather stressful. And just for the record, telling me (or any type A person) to take a chill-pill or something stupid like that is more likely to make us want to tear your head off then relax.
However, I do recognize that I need to relax and reign in my Type A personalities otherwise people, including myself at some points, will probably hate me.
Here is how I deal:
- I have up to 3 things I’m allowed to care about. That is, for any large activity (like a wedding or a birthday party I’m planning), I have to choose 3 things that I will make absolutely perfect and the other things I can only passively plan for. For example, at our wedding I choose three things I wanted and I didn’t have to compromise on them and I could perfect them to my choosing. These were the three things I chose: My husband will wear a seer sucker suit, I will get a sunflower bouquet, and there will be no tomatoes at my wedding. Sometimes, I choose only one or two things if they are large. When we moved to this new apartment I chose to make a chart for our kitchen. I had everything planned out for what went in each cupboard, on each shelf, on each side. I had a diagram of the entire kitchen. I also made a floor plan of where all the furniture would go. After that I forced myself to stop. I needed to be flexible on some things, so I didn’t overburden myself.
- I can’t get upset unless I have directly asked someone to do something. As I typed that I realized how bratty it sounds but, its more for everyone else’s benefit than mine. It’s better explained in an example. Mr. B usually empties the dishwasher and I load. If I’m ready to load and he hasn’t emptied the dishwasher, I’m not allowed to be upset with him unless I have already asked him (and given him a day) to unload the dishwasher. To me it is obvious the dishwasher needs to be emptied every day. To my type B husband, well, he just doesn’t think that way.
- I shut doors. and drawers, and cabinets, and curtains. Some days my tub needs to be cleaned and it stresses me that it isn’t but, I just don’t have the time or energy to clean it or I just want to be lazy. So, I shut the curtain. Out of sight out of mind. The other time I use this is with my husband’s stuff. I just don’t look in the electronics drawer. I just shut it. His bedside table? I put it all in the drawer and shut it. He doesn’t let me go through that stuff (probably because I’ll throw something out that he doesn’t want thrown out).
- I make lists. Type A people have to feel productive but, sometimes I have those days where I feel like I accomplished nothing. So, I make lists. I make lists of what I have done that day (ex. I answered all my emails, I did the dishes, I planned the budget, etc.) Sometimes, I make a list at the beginning of the week and I’ll check things off. Sometimes, I add things to my list just so I can check them off! Usually a list makes me comprehend that even if didn’t get everything done, at least I got some things done.
- I take a shower. or go to sleep. Sometimes, I just get so anxious or stress myself out so much that the only solution is to stop. Stop doing everything and find a place to relax. If I’m tired I force myself to sleep. If not I take a shower, like a half-hour to an hour long shower. The $5 it raises my water bill a month is worth it for the amount it destresses me.
This is how I deal with being type A. Being type A is a burden and a blessing (which I’ll talk about why I’m grateful for my Type A personality in another post). How do you deal with the stress of being type A?