I’m not going to lie modern life can be stressful. Stress has a sneaky way of creeping up on you and you don’t know you’re overwhelmed until you actually are!There are periods in my life when I have no idea which way to turn because I’ve been completely overwhelmed. I now know what my triggers are so can work on ways to avoid it. For instance I’m really good at absorbing and taking on other people’s problems and so end up worrying about things I have no control over! I also take on too much in my personal and work life – this stems from me always needing to be busy. But let’s look at other potential causes of stress.
What causes stress?
In short all sorts of things cause varying degrees of stress;
- The death of a loved one
- Personal appearance – fitting in, weight, acne etc.
- Your job – both your actual work and your boss
- Getting married
- Family matters
These are just the tip of the iceberg.
Types of stress
Stress is mainly divided into three types
Acute – short term events which don’t last long but have an impact on us
Episodic – again short term but which we find ourselves in regularly: say a reoccurring issue at work left unaddressed
Ongoing – as the title suggests long term stress such as an illness or a personal relationship
Whilst this post is simplifying a very complex issue that really does need to addressed – potentially by a professional in the field – there are things that you can do to help yourself to recognise the signs and take time to step off the Stress-bound express!
Be active – whilst exercising won’t make the stress go away, the endorphins released when we exercise will alter our feelings. Exercise also takes your mind off of your stresses
Make time for you – a lot of stress is caused by not having enough ‘you time’. We live a fast-paced lifestyle lurching from one activity to another; but it’s really important to practice self-care. Have a bath with some essential oils, candles and calming music. Shut the door and let that time be for you!
Practice Mindfulness – increasingly more studies show that the practice of Mindfulness is a brilliant weapon in the arsenal for kicking stresses butt! I first came across it about ten years ago when a contact of mine was teaching it to the Sony workforce is Sweden! If you want to find out more there’s lots of info online, but you could do worse than reading The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle which as the name suggests teaches you about being in the present moment- not the past or the future – from a non-religious spiritual place.
Taking control – this does sound like a bit of an oxymoron because the reason you’re stressed is because you’re overwhelmed otherwise you would bee in control. However, what I mean by this is take control of what you can control! Don’t try and control everything because that’s a recipe of yet more stress. But take control of what you can and leave what you can’t. If it’s work situation speak to a colleague or your boss and explain that you’re overwhelmed. If it’s home life speak to your partner or another family member. DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE! And for the record it does show weakness; quite the contrary it shows you are aware and want to make the situation better.
Write it out – if you don’t already get a journal and write down how you are feeling. It doesn’t have to make any sense; in actual fact ‘automatic writing’ in a situation like this can be really beneficial. Make sure you keep your journal safe and away from prying eyes. And if you want to take things a step further, once you gave written out how you’re feeling consider a fire cleansing ritual. Take the piece of paper you have written on outside somewhere safe and fireproof, douse it in sage or a few drops of sage oil and light it on fire. As the smoke rises upwards watch you stresses evaporate with it.
Stress busting apps
We live in the 21st century where nothing is more than a click or two away on your smartphone, and the same is true for stress busting! Check out these apps designed to support you through your periods of stress.
Cove – Create music to capture your mood and express how you feel with the Cove app. Cost:99p
Chill Panda – Learn to relax, manage your worries and improve your wellbeing with Chill Panda. Cost: FREE
My favourite Catch It – Learn how to manage feelings like anxiety and depression with Catch It. Cost: FREE
Calm Harm – Calm Harm is an app designed to help people resist or manage the urge to self-harm. Cost: FREE
As always if you need to talk to someone urgently about your problems or you’re worried about someone here’s who to speak to (UK only);
Samaritans 116 123
Papyrus 0800 58 58 58
Childline (under 19s) 0800 1111
The Silverline (for older people) 0800 4 70 80 90
Emergency services 999
“You can do anything, But you can’t do EVERYTHING!”