Struggling with Stress
Stress is the pressure of demands that we experience as a natural part of our daily life. Those demands may be many and varied coming from work, money, housing, health, relationships, exams etc.
Too few demands on us over a protracted period may result in us being under challenged therefore may lead to a lack of drive and motivation.
When there are too many demands over a prolonged period of time then this over stresses the individual so that physically and emotionally they are overwhelmed. When this occurs then the individuals capacity to cope is diminished.
Often when under stress the initial reaction is to go faster, to continue longer and to do it alone. The view may be you have to do this at all cost, then the next thing and the next and so on until it becomes an unassailable mountain. That you must do this alone because no one else can or will do this. Other people appear to be going to slowly, dragging their feet and not taking it seriously. Anger at others unfold because they won’t or can’t understand. They don’t appreciate you. It simmers just under the surface sometimes bubbling over leading to conflict and confrontation.
You may carry on like this for years. But sooner or later it takes a toll on relationships and health. Your partner and if you have them children, experience you as distant and short tempered. Maybe you experience them with resentment, they don’t care, they just take. You get more colds, feel tired and generally run down. You keep going and going feeling trapped
Then one day you suddenly know you can’t go on any more. The anxiety builds and keeps going, it doesn’t abate. Instead it reaches a screaming pitch. The panic creeps over you, you can’t breathe, pains in the chest, heart beating fast and an over whelming need to get away floods over you. You feel like you are going to die.
The first step is to recognise you are over stressed, that you can’t go on as you are. Something has to give and change.
Go and see your GP, he will carry out a medical check and advise if you need medication. You may be signed off work. Many times it’s difficult to move away from the situation, however you have to get support from friends, family and where appropriate work colleagues.
Where possible take an extended break allowing you some time to start to slow down. Don’t make life changing decisions at this time. Nor can you fix things by planning how to go back stronger and in more control.
Learn to recognise when you are becoming stressed, what you are responding to and why. This is something that is particularly important to identify and to vocalise. Bring it into the open. Stop struggling with the stress. When you have a better understanding of why you stress yourself and the causes you are better placed to do something about it.
Accept you can’t do everything on your own, let others help you. Being active coupled with exercise coupled with rest and good food is important. Don’t stay inside, get out and walk, Go where there are open spaces and greenery. It allows you senses to start opening up again.
When they come don’t fight them. Observe and accept they are happening. Some people also find it helps to face the panic and say to it ‘come on then do your worst’. This takes a lot of the power and fear away. You can and will cope with these attacks when they happens. Use your support network, talk about it, keep a balance of being active and resting. The duration and intensity of panic attacks will diminish when you are able to view them dispassionately as a reaction to the situation.
Breathe slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth. Consider putting on music, walk run, do something with your hands such as bouncing a ball.
Put in boundaries to protect and nurture yourself. This may be the amount of hours you spend on something. It may be when you feel tired you stop. When you can’t do it on your own, you don’t.
You learn to say no to stress. Identify your needs and boundaries. Find your voice and ask for help, demand it. It’s OK to change, to say no more, to stop dong and start living again.