Let’s talk about stress!
According to dictionary.com, stress is defined as: A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
Stress is something we all experience in life at some point. Everyone reacts to stress differently and we all handle it differently. Everyone has different stressors or things that bother them; we are all unique when it comes to stress with how it affects us and how we deal with it. Stress comes in many different forms, it can be from an emotional, mental, or physical issue. The contributors to stress are endless!
I know for me personally, this last year has definitely come with a lot of added stress with the unknown and uncertainty of the future. The fear of what is going to happen to our lives, having to put trust and belief that someone else knows what is best for me and my family; basically giving up all control of my life has been scary and it’s been a non-stop struggle! Although I know I am not alone with how I feel, sometimes I feel isolated because of it, and that is partly because of my upbringing as a child. I never had safe people to talk to, and talking about feelings and stresses was definitely not something we did in our home. So reaching out and talking about it is something I don’t just go around talking about easily.
I love lifting others up and trying to be everyone else’s beacon of hope and ray of sunshine. I try to stay positive and people usually come to me for advice. However, I always feel like someone is dealing with something bigger and more stressful than I am; which makes me feel selfish for wanting to throw my problems at them. I know it will give me some form of relief and comfort to just lay it all out for them. Even if they don’t want to hear it, maybe they can give one piece of advice or offer some glimmer of hope. What holds me back from talking about how I feel is the fear of judgment and rejection. What causes me stress might not be what causes you stress, so you either can’t relate or you don’t understand from my perspective why I feel the way I do!
Effects of Stress
Sadly, this is the reality a lot of us face that suffer with any kind of hardships/stress/mental anguish or depression. We feel afraid to speak up and talk about it. We need to do it though. The only way to get through it is by opening up and talking to someone about the heavy stuff and the scary stuff. When we avoid talking about things that cause us stress, we continue to let it pile up for so long and two things generally will happen.
1.) We let it continue to build up inside us so it all comes out at once; when that happens it’s generally in a negative manner and we end up regretting how we handled that.
2.) We allow that stress to manifest inside of us to become an even bigger problem. It impairs us more than just emotionally and mentally; we allow that stress to take over our bodies and we physically feel the state of stress within us if we don’t address it.
Stress can be debilitating, it wreaks havoc on your body, it causes chronic pain and tension if left untreated. It weakens your immune system and you will have a harder time fighting off infections and viruses. Some other contributors that happen with untreated stress and the response it has to your body are:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
And these are just to name a few!
Now that we are in a New Year it’s more important than ever to really delve into taking care of your mind, body, and soul. At this point I think all of us have been impacted and have faced some challenges with Covid-19. We have all experienced stress to some level or another. Whether it comes from the loss of a loved one, you personally have been sick, lost relationships due to personal opinions, lost homes or jobs, are facing financial hardships, or you found yourself struggling with depression because you’re just so exhausted from it all! Whatever the situation you find yourself going through, it’s more important now than ever to face this New Chapter of your life empowered, strong and fighting!
Caring for yourself is not selfish and it never should be seen that way! If we don’t care for ourselves, we can’t take care of others. Our first priority must always be ourselves! Some ways to do that are:
- Understand the signs and symptoms
- Speak to friends and family
- Exercise regularly
- Improve sleep quality
- Go hiking
- Find a activity you enjoy alone
- Listen to music
- Drink wine
- Go on a road trip
- Have a weekend to yourself
- Unplug from social media
- Go to your favorite restaurant
- Do Yoga
- Read a book
- Go shopping
- Get a massage
- Get your hair done!
- Change your diet
- Find a therapist
****Most importantly never allow yourself to feel guilty for reaching out for help, it is a sign of strength – not weakness***
As a person who suffers from PTSD and chronic stress, I hope you find these tools to be useful and helpful! I hope you find safe people that you can open up to and vent to. If not, I am here to be your safe person. I hope all of your struggles you have encountered melt away. But most importantly, I hope and pray that this New Year brings you nothing but Peace, Love, Happiness, Comfort and Joy within your whole being!