In case you didn’t know, April is Stress Awareness Month and according to our good buddies at WalletHub, Tennessee is the seventh most stressed state in the country.
What do we have to be stressed about? Well, we didn’t rank first in any category (yay us!), but we did rank fourth in not getting enough sleep. As somebody who doesn’t get enough sleep nowadays, I can attest it can make you not your usual self.
A proper amount of sleep is tied to a lot of health issues, including weight gain, but I’m not feeling any more stressed out because of it. Tired and lethargic, sure, but not stressed.
We came in at number five for worrying about our credit scores. Looking around, if I may be snarky for a minute, I wouldn’t think most people in Tennessee even knew what a credit rating was or why it is important. But it apparently keeps us up at night.
And it is very important if you buy stuff on credit. And I mean the big items, like houses and cars. A low credit score, anything under 650, can add a lot of money to your monthly payment. A high score, anything 750 or above, can make you wonder if the bank is going to make any real profit off of you.
We also ranked fifth in worrying about the crime rate. I’ve never worried much about crime, but I’ve been 6’2 and over 200 pounds since I was 12, so feeling threatened isn’t something I have much experience with.
I do have the adult worries of somebody breaking into the house or a drunk driver hitting me head on, but even those are rare around here. I guess I might feel different in a big city.
Worrying about money came in at seven. I’m surprised this isn’t number one. Don’t we all worry about money? Even people who have money worry about losing it.
It took many years, but we finally saved up enough money to cover six months of living expenses, as Dave Ramsey advises (but Ramsey is turning out to be something of a nut job, so take his advice with a grain of salt), but all I do is worry that unexpected emergencies will eat it up.
Our only other top 10 finishes were worrying about the number of people living in poverty and family stress. I see how some people live and it is a crying shame. To borrow something I heard somebody else say, “I wouldn’t let a dog live there and it’s their home.”
Some people say raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would eradicate a lot of the poverty we have and that’s undoubtedly true. You have two working adults in a house, each making $15 an hour, and you have a household income of $58,800 a year. People who are living “OK” on $35,000-$40,000 a year would consider that a huge leap in their standard of living.
But a lot of poverty is due to people with mental illnesses simply not able to get anything other than public assistance, and no matter how stark your conservative views are, public assistance never amounts to much.
As for family stress, you can probably figure that one out.
Some other categories we ranked in: Divorce worries us enough to come in at 13. Nationally, I think, 50% of marriages end in divorce and that probably holds steady for us. But people keep getting married.
We rank 23rd in worrying about job security and I would think this would rank higher, because we’re a work at will state, but most people don’t seem to know what that means. It doesn’t mean nobody can tell us we can’t work, it means we work at the will of the employer and they can fire us at anytime without giving any reason. So, in addition to working for low wages, you have to worry about ticking off your boss.
And work related stress came in at 24, so maybe some people do know what work at will means. Or they just hate their jobs.
There’s probably other things you could add to the list as stress can be a very personal thing, but these seem to be things we all share. But the days are getting long, the air is warming up and the end of COVID seems to be somewhere in sight. All we can do is keep moving forward.