April is stress awareness month.
I’ve decided to start a new series each month where I talk about a topic that’s on my mind. I’ve had this idea for a couple of months but have been too busy to even think about writing it. However, there is no perfect time which is why I’m starting at 10 pm the night before I’m meant to be uploading a post.
I wanted to write a blog post on stress. I like to write blog posts where I have solutions for mental health/the environment. When it came to stress, I was stumped. Ever since I saw a couple of months ago that April is stress awareness month, I couldn’t think of what to write about. I’m always feeling anxious and stress seems to go hand in hand with it. And I don’t blog about anxiety or depression very much because I don’t know what works. Even though I don’t think I have depression as such anymore, I don’t know what exactly to write about. I think that I’ll always have anxiety so I don’t know how to talk about that either. Stress seems somewhat similar so I just don’t really have an ‘x ways to cope with stress’ or ‘how I cope with stress’ post ready to upload.
I think it’s better if I have an open discussion.
What is stress
Cambridge dictionary define it as ‘great worry caused by a difficult situation‘.
The above is a meaning defined by people who aren’t mental health professionals.
Mental Health Foundation defines it as ‘Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure‘.
I think the two definitions work together well. Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed in a difficult situation.
You may be thinking, why are you writing about definitions?
Well, you have to start somewhere. Stress means different things for different people. As you can see, the two definitions above were created by different groups of people in different professions. I think it’s really important to remember that we all experience stress, but we get through it in different ways. What works for me might not work for others and what works for others might not work for me. And that’s ok.
We all have different triggers. It can be hard to even know what they are. We are in such a stressful time at the moment and have been for the past year. None of us has ever been through a global pandemic that is completely out of our control! It’s been a massive change and the amount of uncertainty has caused stress.
It is important to remember that, it might not be just one thing. Often for me, there are lots of little things that stress me out. It can build up over time and then the tiniest thing could happen, and I would just breakdown.
Did you know that when we experience stress, our body chooses flight or fight? It creates a hormone and chooses so that we can act quickly in tricky situations. But, what if your body chooses neither? For me, my body completely freezes. Maybe this is why for me, stress and anxiety go hand in hand. I freeze and therefore spiral.
Stress often brings physical symptons as well as emotional and mental effects. Physical symptoms make it really hard to know whether it is a physical or mental problem…or both. I’ve been experiencing this for many years…but that’s a different story.
What are some physical symptoms of stress?
- Stomach/digestive problems
- Faster heartbeat
- Muscle tension
Info from the NHS
What are some mental symptoms of stress?
You might think that mental symptoms are going to be easier to spot, but a lot of them are felt for a whole range of different mental health issues. You know your body best.
- Concentration issues
- Overwhelming feelings
Info from the NHS
Stress has many more symptoms than the ones mentioned above. If you are feeling stressed, burned out, that you need some help then please reach out!
I’m learning now that I don’t always have to post solutions on here. Spreading awareness can be just talking, it can be learning what it really is, how to help others, how to help yourself etc.
Join in on the conversation!
Best wishes, Cx