Today is 1st of April which signifies the first day of Stress Awareness Month. I feel like stress is something that is often ignored as we all just assume that it’s ‘normal’ to be stressed. However, stress is not something that should be ignored because it can lead to people feeling depressed and anxious. That’s why it’s so important to start talking about stress right now.
During our lives, we encounter a lot of times that we face moments of stress. Maybe we don’t even recognise the stress or maybe the stress simply overwhelms us. No matter what kind of stress you are feeling, it is valid and needs to be spoken about.
What is stress?
Stress is a normal part of life and can be experienced from your environment, your body, and your thoughts. It’s not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing though. Without stress, humankind would never have made it as far as it has done.
Stress, in everyday terms, is a feeling that people have when they are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands. These demands can be related to finances, work, relationships, and other situations, but anything that poses a real or perceived challenge or threat to a person’s well-being can cause stress.
Some people use stress as a motivator and stress can even help us prepare for danger. The problem occurs when people are overwhelmed with stress when there is no danger.
Does stress affect us mentally and/or physically?
Stress has a weird way of getting to us. It targets the weakest parts of our health and character. For example, if you are prone to headaches then this will flare up when you’re stressed. If you struggle to manage your anger, you will struggle more when you’re stressed.
Staying stressed for a long period of time can make people extremely ill. It is even known to contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, ulcers, alopecia and joint pain. It can cause problems with fertility too.
How can you manage stress?
Everyone reacts to stress differently which makes it hard to say how stress can be managed. There’s a range of strategies you can try out to help you stay on top of your day-to-day stress. By trying different coping strategies, you will find some that work for you.
♡ Daily routine. Our minds like predictability. Having a daily routine is great because it will maintain order in your life and make you feel more in control. It doesn’t have to be a strict routine or even a busy one. It can be as simple as going for a walk every morning or reading a chapter of a book when you wake up.
♡ List your priorities. Lists are great because you can see everything that needs to be done in one single place. You also get the added bonus of ticking completed things off which is satisfying. You can list all kind of things from work stuff to family life.
♡ Learn to say no. Remember that no is a full sentence. You don’t have to push yourself to do everything and you don’t have to explain to people why you’re saying no. Putting yourself before other’s can be hard but you have to say no sometimes just for your own health.
♡ Talk about things. Expressing your feelings can be hard but you will feel so much better once it’s out. A problem shared is a problem halved. Telling people how you’re feeling is great because they can help you or guide you. They may also be able to give you a way of dealing with your problem that you didn’t think of.
♡ Get enough rest. Waking up feeling well rested is so much nicer than feeling all grouchy. I’m pretty sure everyone can vouch for that. Sleep is just as important as eating healthy and exercising for your overall wellbeing as sleep is nature’s healer.
How can you help someone who is stressed?
When you see someone who is overwhelmed with stress, you should try to help them. Depending on how close you are to the person, there’s a few ways that you can help.
♡ Help them recognise that there’s a problem. Sometimes people won’t admit to themselves that they are struggling with stress. This means that people will keep on plodding on through life when they need to slow down and take a break. If you notice someone is acting strange or not like their self, reach out to them.
♡ Listen. Talking through something with someone can help them find a new solution to their issue. Even just knowing that somebody is there to listen can make a huge difference. Giving someone who is feeling stressed your time and undivided attention is one of the best things you can do to support them.
Stress doesn’t have to be dangerous but it’s still nice to check up on your friends and family every now and then. Look after your own health too!