Bigger Fish to Fry

By: Peggy Willms

(4 min read)

Yup, it is still Stress Awareness Month. And, yup, I still find it bothersome that whoever gets to name our special holidays or months feels we need to be “more aware” of “stress.” I think 100% of the human population is or probably has been pretty “stress aware.”

Even the word “stress” stresses me out. I genuinely watch my vocabulary and believe that thoughts become things. Heck, I have convinced myself I ride Unicorns and slide down rainbows.

The thing with stress is that we need a bit of it for survival. We need acute stress. The fight or flight stress that kicks in gives itsy-bitsy moms the ability to lift cars off their children or when you are hauling down Terminal B as they scream last boarding call to Flight #87 – your flight.

The long-term, chronic stress kicks our A double S – and puts and keeps weight on our A double S.

I have a hyper-determination to become stress-free (er). Ooh, that is good – so let’s call April: Stress-Free Month! FREE-ER. Hmmm. Wait, my A.D.D. just pinged me back – who gets to name our focus-theme months and days. I mean, who determined April is Stress Awareness Month, or for that matter, why April? I want a Donut Day. Oh, wait, I think there is a Donut Day. I suspect this team of secret naming spies is also the same team who has so creatively yet ridiculously named our streets…I mean, these are for real:

  • Roast Meat Hill Road in Killingsworth, Connecticut-a tribute to burning livestock?
  • Bad Route Road in Montana-where do you get the confidence to take that detour?
  • Duh Drive in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-they say living there’s a no-brainer. I love this one!
  • Pillow Talk Court; only would you find a street name like this in Las Vegas. ‘Tis True!

Oh, Boy Did I Get Off Track…anyway back to my original thought…take April more lightly. Be Stress-Free (er).

When pondering what to share in this week’s Blog and what I would share about stress or how to reduce it, I thought I would think about how we refer to stress – any slang out there. I also wanted to take a lighter approach because I have a few episodes coming up on my Coach, Couch, and Coffee Radio Show with guest Dr. Markus Wettstein, Endocrinologist (Part 1 aired 4/15/2019 and Part 2 4/29/2019), where we take a more serious dive into the definition of stress, the different levels of stress and enlightening new data.

Back to stress or “I am overwhelmed” slang. When peeps over the generations have tried to express their frustrations with busyness or high-level of stress, they sure have used a few exciting idioms; many phrases of which the young’uns of today may be like – what???

Let’s check out a few conversations and learn a bit of history:

“Mom, can you take us to the game tonight?”
“So sorry, girls, I have a full plate.”

The WTH translation: too many things to deal with, worry about, and cope with. She’s obviously stressed out! MOMMA HAS A FULL PLATE.
“Poor Joe has “too many irons in the fryer.

The WTH translation/origin: dates back to the mid-16th century, referring to a skilled blacksmith who maintains control of the bellows and placement of the irons he uses for branding; thus he can turn to get his anvil and hammer at the same time. “Too many irons in the fire” marks an inefficient smith or one with unskilled multi-tasking skills. JOE IS THE INEFFICIENT MAN OF THE DAY.

“Honey, we bit off more than we could chew renovating this house.”

The WTH translation/origin: dates back to the 1800s when people who chewed tobacco put too much in their mouths to fit. SORRY, GUYS, BUT YA’LL KIND OF DO THIS WITH MOST PROJECTS. NO SHOCK HERE.

My journey to becoming FREE(er) and embedding holistic-type thinking and movement into my life wasn’t and still isn’t easily welcomed. “I am free(er)” is still brutal and sometimes forced. Success often feels like my inner spirit has bludgeoned my physical self over the head and drug me kicking and screaming with bloody knees and knuckles out to the lanai to begin my holistic practice, which somedays only entails sitting and staring or perhaps counting all the different bird sounds for three minutes and then going back into my office to work. BUT I AM TRYING. My attempt? Learn about and participate in Stress Awareness Month. Great start, right?!

Yet, I am starting by not focusing on the Stress Awareness Month bull for this moment because it is stressing me out. As I have Bigger Fish to Fry, which, BTW, this “overwhelmed/stressed” out slang translation/origin can be documented back 400 years in Irish and British culture. It means, “I have more important things to do.” Guess what that is…bet you can’t – I am going to meditate and do yoga. That’s my BIGGER FISH TO FRY. Good job, Coach. See, I told you I would learn about and participate in Stress Awareness Month.

In closing, I must end by marrying up my excellent idiom, Bigger Fish to Fry, with a creative street name. You won’t believe this, there is a Frying Pan Road in the D.C. suburb of Herndon, Virginia. BAHAHA. Go fry your Big Fish today.

Peggy Willms
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

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