Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 30, 2012

How to cope with stress

— — A slight chill hangs in the air, rustling through trees. The branches are full of red, gold and orange. Change has come to the two Virginias. Instead of summer vacations, there is talk about Football Friday and West Virginia’s new home in the Big 12 conference. Reporters and editors are counting down until Election Day. It is officially fall. A season with an identity crisis. Cool mornings, hot afternoons and chilly evenings. Mother Nature can’t make up her mind no more than a 5-year-old child at the candy store. I can identify sometimes.

Throughout this transition, I have been quiet in the newsroom. It is that time of year, where all the large projects at work shift and overlap. Prerogative magazine, the annual BDT edition of Pride and the regular responsibilities of the newspaper eventually collide into a larger-than-normal workload. I anticipate this busy season and fortify with extra coffee, chocolate and yes, candy corn — those little triangles are so cute. Every job has its busy season. This is mine. In almost five years, I have learned a lot about myself during the fall months. Here is how I cope. I hope you can identify, if not sympathize a bit.

Sleep is golden. When things get busy at work, I crave more ZZZ’s. I started going to bed at 10 p.m., sometimes even earlier. I am ashamed to admit I fell asleep one night at 9:15 p.m. My college-self was mortified in embarrassment. Friends know not to call after 9:30 p.m. The TV goes off around the same time too. I am missing a lot of new TV shows and football games. Beauty sleep? Not really. More like editor sleep. Journalists need their rest. Half-sleepy eyes don’t work well in a newsroom. We haven’t found a way to prop our eyelids open yet.

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