A small amount of stress does not harm anyone and it actually helps to keep you alert and alive. But when the stress builds up and is more than one can cope with, stress triggers a range of changes on the body and emotions that will accumulate resulting in the depletion of energy reserves and bring on a state of exhaustion.
These changes can include:
- Absent mindedness, errors in judgment and feeling out of control
- Loss of appetite
- Low self esteem and depression
- Lowered immune system
- Short tempered
- Unable to switch off and unwind
When the stress becomes consistent, the body will no longer be able to cope and ‘burnout’ will occur.
- This can result in stress related illnesses such as:
- Migraine and tension headaches
- Repetitive strain injuries and muscle pain
- Abdominal and digestive problems
- Anxiety, hypertension, asthma
- Worsening of existing medical conditions
Mistakes are made when under stress. The mind is preoccupied with the stressor and the sufferer’s symptoms. Everyday tasks become difficult to complete.
Because stress has become part of our daily lives it is often difficult to notice when we are approaching ‘burnout’, this is due to the gradual decline of energy reserves. We need to recognise the minor symptoms before they lead to the major ones.
The body will survive the stress for as long as energy reserves last or until the stressor goes away, whichever is sooner.
You are in control of your own life and the way you deal with every situation you are in.
Regular exercise – exercise releases endorphins, these give you a ‘feel good factor’
Socialise – or just talking to others, a problem shared is a problem halved. You are never alone.
Eat well – Help your body to help it’s self, a good balanced diet, everything in moderation.
The four A’s of stress
- Avoid the stressor – if you know what stresses you, try and avoid that situation or limit your exposure to it, whether your stressor is a person or work environment. Try and learn to say no, but, bear in mind you can’t hide from everything and sometimes you will need to face some things head on.
- Alter the stressor – how can you change your situation so it will be less stressful for you. Try and take control so you benefit as well as others. Be assertive. Tell others if their behaviour is not appropriate.
- Adapt to the stressor –at times when you can’t alter the stressor, try to adapt/change yourself or your way of thinking to better suit the situation. Are your expectations realistic? Does it really, really matter? Look for the positives –every cloud has a silver lining, you just need to find it. When you feel the frustration building stop yourself from saying negative words like… can’t, won’t, never, should’ve, must; try saying ‘I can do this’
- Accept the stressor – At times when you are unable to avoid, alter or adapt you may just need to accept the stressor for what it is. You may need to change your standards and expectations. I know that accepting something for what it is can be very difficult, however don’t try and fight against something you can’t control, look at the positives and you can control your reaction and approach to your stressor thus making the problem easier to deal with and learn from this experience ready for the next time.
Make time for yourself, relax and have some fun, set aside ‘me time’ every day.
Massage can work wonders enabling the system to unwind, in relieving the tension that builds up in the spinal areas, shoulders, neck and scalp you will feel more relaxed, invigorated, circulation will improve and this will encourage total body wellness.