We have so many competing pressures, be it work, home, friends, paying the bills, or family commitments. It can be a real struggle when juggling all these plates; it can seem things keep piling on top of each other, solutions need to be found to a myriad of challenges causing us… STRESS!
Stress is very sneaky, it creeps upon us, and we are often not aware that we are stressed. First, we need to recognise “good stress” from “bad stress”. Good stress allows us, for example, to act decisively, spur us on for an exam or kick us into action when it’s needed, and it’s temporary. Bad stress is different as it builds up, it sticks, and because we often don’t recognise it and let’s be honest, we misuse “stress” all the time; “feeling stressy“, “such a stress head“, we might even think, stress is just part of life, and we need just get on and ignore it.
We are wise NOT to ignore it; stress is linked to many ill-health conditions, both physically and mentally. Ultimately stress is our mind giving us a big whopping alarm bell, ‘think’ emergency blue lights, that we are not looking after ourselves well enough. Stress is real and unhealthy; it also can strip us of enjoying life or living it to our max.
Indicators that we are stressed are many and varied; we might:
- suffer from sleepless nights,
- feel (randomly) panicky and not know why
- get headaches,
- feel icky,
- loss of sex drive or other difficulties with sex,
- have chest pains,
- feel exhausted, hopeless or overwhelmed or if very unlucky all 3.
- struggling to breathe.
So what can we do about it to drain some of this stress away?
- Heed these blue lights of the mind, acknowledge them.
- Talk about it. Particularly with stress talking helps as it allows you to start identifying why you are feeling this way, what the cause(s) might be, what triggers it and then you can start tackling it.
- Cut yourself some slack; we are at times our worst enemies by giving ourselves even more pressure because we can’t figure something out or thinking we are weak – you are not, neither are you alone!
- Start not overextending yourself; you are allowed to say “No” to unreasonable demands. Boundaries are essential.
- It keeps coming back but, yet again, exercise, a healthy diet, hydration, and good sleep are the mental health heroes we all need and need to start taking seriously.
- Never feel that if you are overwhelmed, you need to face it alone; you don’t. Strenght is not being quiet; strength is actually saying, “Hold on a mo, I could use a hand here!”.