For some, stressful situations bring about thoughts of the worst-case scenario whereas, in others, stressful situations boost motivation, improve focus, and help complete tasks. However, stress can become chronic in some circumstances, leading to being mentally and physically exhausted and not dealing with day-to-day occurrences. The worse it gets, the closer you can feel to shutting it all out with negative thoughts. The physical impacts of stress can start as common side effects that many people are familiar with, such as; headaches, tension in the muscles, heartburn, increase in blood pressure, rapid breathing and insomnia. Though these are all issues we do not want to deal with, the chronic effects of stress can be much direr. Leading to heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, fertility issues and a weaker immune system. Chronic stress may also lead to behaviours of consumption, i.e. in alcohol, overeating or drug abuse.
Signs you are experiencing stress
Stress is not something people always recognise as we can see it as just daily challenges or something we don’t want to admit to. However, you may notice things such as exhaustion, muscle tension etc, without being able to pinpoint why. Coming to grips with the new symptoms affecting you is your time to take action and become aware. This may not be easy as change is a common stressor; this is when you have to ask yourself where the changes are happening. Wherever this is a family problem, at work or relations etc. Take a step back and reflect, opening your mind to figuring out the root issues to become aware.
During this pandemic, we have been faced with a huge change causing stress and disruptions to our daily routines. It is okay to admit defeat and to recognise you are not alone in this.
Processing and addressing stress
It can be difficult to want to address your stress, as it makes it more real. Your mind can be telling you you’re fine and to deal with it alone. However, that is never the answer. No matter how small or large your issue may be, it is always relevant and to be made aware of. A helpful starting point can be simply talking about what is bothering you and how you feel, whether this is with a close friend, family member, professional counsellor or even a complete stranger. The purpose of this will help process your own thoughts and give you an opportunity to hear others’ viewpoints. Talking helps and opens your mind rather than it all being locked up inside.
If that isn’t the way for you, then that’s is okay. It’s important to take note of your mindfulness and be aware of the little things that can help, giving you some guidance on yourself.
- Meeting friends/Phone calls
- Setting boundaries / saying NO
- Finding new hobbies
- Set routines