It’s National Stress Awareness Day today. So let’s talk about Stress. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually freaking out about something or other. I must have STRESS written all over my face; in the tired, sunken eyes, the dry, pale skin and the disengaged, tense expression. I absolutely must smack of it, because today a relatively newly-acquainted friend kindly messaged me, out of the blue, with some helpful hints on how to manage stress better. I didn’t know whether to hug her for her insightful genius, or to slap her for insinuating that I look like shit and then weep into a bucket.
Instead, I took to Google. And it quickly became clear that I am not alone.
If you have ever felt five or more of the following “symptoms” in any given stretch of time, then the likelihood is that you were experiencing a prolonged period of stress:
Inability to make simple decisions, easily distracted, worrying, negative thoughts. Mood swings, tearful, lack of self esteem, irritable, defensive, lacking in motivation. Aches and pains, IBS, physical tiredness, palpitations, weight loss or gain, indigestion, decreased libido. Unable to relax, forgetful, reliant on cigarettes, caffeine or alcohol, socially withdrawn, self neglectful, insomnia, nervous.
The list is endless. Yet, what seems so insignificant (waking up knackered, snapping at the Terror Tots, skipping breakfast, road raging your way to school, forgetting the shopping list, losing the ability to decide what’s for dinner, crying at the Bake Off Final and drinking five espressos – all before lunch), the combined results of which can be catastrophic.
Stress defined in a nutshell is what people experience when the demands made on them are greater than their ability to cope. Stress can come from external sources, such as traumas, life experiences or mundane daily tasks. And it can also come from within, the silent killer, namely the thoughts and feelings that pop into our heads and then terrorise us from morning until night. All of which can have a negative and most serious impact on our health, self-esteem and metal wellbeing.
If there is a lesson to be learnt from today, then apparently it is to practise some simple #mindful steps in your every day routine, in order to be better armed to combat stress:
Say “No” more.
Think more positively.
It all sounds far too easy. I’m not convinced. However, to the friend who gave me a kick up the arse this morning without realising it, thank you indeed. I shall ditch the dishes, put my feet up and finally start to breathe again. Let’s kick the shit out of Stress.