Let’s face it…
The beginning of the year is one of the most stressful times of the year!
With the crazy rush of:
- Christmas and New Year’s (often spending more time with people you hardly ever see and don’t always get along with)
- having to catch up on work (or worse having less income because there is less work around)
- school holidays – e.g. siblings fighting, bored kids and outside school care costs
- getting kids back to school – anxiety over going back for both parents and children plus the costs of uniforms/stationery
- more credit card expenses – Christmas, school, lower income…
- never-ending expenses of running a household like mortgage repayments and rates
- relationship pressures because of all the above…
- excess weight gain from comfort eating
- (and the list goes on!)
It’s no wonder we all start feeling the pressure and seeing signs of burnout so early in the year. But the thing most people don’t even think about is how this affects our wellbeing and (more importantly) how to protect ourselves from the negative effects of these stressors.
Which is why today we are going to share with you a Super Effective Stress Management Technique
But first, let’s have a look at:
Signs of Stress to Keep an Eye Out For
You see, sometimes we don’t even realise how stressed we are until the pressure comes off and we start to feel “normal” again. So, what we are going to do is break this down into physical signs, mental signs and emotional signs of stress so you can increase your self-awareness.
NOTE: If you identify with the following signs of stress and are concerned about your wellbeing, please schedule an appointment with your doctor within the next 3 days to get a full check-up.
Physical Signs of Stress
Mostly, you know if a symptom you are experiencing is a result of stress, but often our kids don’t (and sometimes we don’t put 2 +2 together either – because we are so busy all the time). So, here are just a few physical symptoms that could result from stress:
- Frequent headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation and/or diarrhea
- Getting sick often – low immunity
- Low libido
- Heart palpitations (this could be serious – please consult a doctor immediately)
- Difficulty getting to sleep or frequent waking
- Constantly feeling fatigued
Mental Signs of Stress
There are some common psychological symptoms that people are becoming more aware of such as depression and anxiety, and what we are going to share are some signs you might not normally think of. Here they are:
- Persistent low mood
- Repetitive negative self-talk – what you are saying to yourself in your head can be so much more hurtful than what others are saying
- Self-doubt, self-loathing, self-sabotage, self-medicating, self-pity
- Constantly racing thoughts
- Worrying excessively
- Thoughts of self-harm – If you are experiencing this symptom PLEASE CALL LIFELINE on 131114, KIDS HELPLINE on 1800551800 or eHEADSPACE (for 12-15 year olds) at https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/connect-with-a-clinician/ immediately so you can access professional support
- Suicidal Ideation – PLEASE CALL 000 (Australia) NOW to get EXPERT SUPPORT
Emotional Signs of Stress
Unfortunately, emotional symptoms can often look more like bad behaviour. This might look like a problematic co-worker, a disrespectful partner or a naughty child. And although negative behaviour is never okay just because we’re stressed, sometimes being able to step aside from the label of “BAD” can allow you to see the root cause and start to manage difficult behaviour better. Here are some emotional triggers to watch for:
- Angry outbursts and irritability
- Feeling overwhelmed, overworked and underappreciated
- Having no motivation and avoiding situations
- Being moody, snappy or snarky
- Becoming easily upset and overly “emotional”
Now that you know what to look for, let’s talk about:
The Super-Effective Stress Management Technique Everybody Needs to Know (but few practise)
Protecting your wellbeing is such an important life skill, but so few people know how to do it effectively. And over some 20 years practising as a psychologist, Brad has seen this all too often. But you know, there’s still so much stigma in Australia around seeing a psychologist because people think there must be something wrong with them. But the fact is, most of the people who come to see us are just:
- exhausted due to work commitments
- overwhelmed by so many things going “wrong” at once
- experiencing grief and loss of someone they cared about
- struggling with relationship issues because they need better communication skills, or
- wanting clarity around their work/relationship/family direction
Nothing extreme in those are they. And what those who do use it know is… the best thing about seeing an expert psychologist is you get a non-judgemental, unbiased and impartial outsider who can help you make better decisions about your situation. But that’s another story…
Let’s get back to the strategy we want you to know about today…
Sounds too simple, BUT… the great thing about self-care is by taking care of yourself on a regular basis, you give yourself the best chances to:
- Think clearer – making it quicker and easier to problem-solve
- Feel calmer (especially during times of stress)
- Respond rather than react
- Have more energy more of the time
- Appreciate those around you more (resentment breeds conflict)
- Avoid overwhelm and burnout
- Feel better about yourself and your decisions
- And so much more…
The benefits of practising self-care are very clear, right?
So, the next thing to know is:
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is not selfish. And you need to really believe that.
In actual fact, it is essential to being able to effectively care for others. Think about the emergency procedure they share on the plane:
“In the case of an emergency, please be sure to fit your own oxygen mask before helping those around you.”
That’s because if you lose consciousness, not only does it mean you can’t help others, but you then become someone who needs more help than if you fitted your own oxygen mask in the first place.
Self-care is something that must be very personal to you. It must include things that make YOU feel good. Maybe you like to sit down on your own to read a book in peace, go out for a coffee with a friend, get to the gym at least 3 times a week, read a positive quote each day… whatever it is, it has to be things that make you feel happier and more energised. That’s the key.
There is no point just thinking about self-care. If you really want to improve your wellbeing, then going out and doing those things you know make you feel good is absolutely critical.
If you want to improve your quality of life...
If you want to enjoy going to work and get along with those around you better...
If you want to look and feel stronger...
If you want to have happier and more loving relationships...
Then it's a no-brainer - you need to give it a go.
Now, we know it can be easy to read this and do nothing. But we want to encourage you to take action. And if you are still not sure where to start to take that action, then contact us today by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (0458360666) or through the Contact Us page because there is nothing we would love more than to help you create and implement your very own, fully personalised self-care plan.
We hope to collaborate with you soon and in the meantime – may you have a wonderful day.
Brad Everton and Monique Everton
Psychologist Registered Nurse
Synergy Mind Solutions