What is Stress?
Stress is a normal reaction a person experiences due to a demand or threatening situation. Stress can be a motivator to meet life’s challenges, but too much stress can sometimes lead to mental or physical problems, negative relationships, and poor productivity.
What are some symptoms or “warning” signs of stress?
Stress signals can vary from person to person. It is important to recognize individual reactions to stress in order to better manage it. Symptoms can be physical such as fatigue, headaches/migraines, muscle tension, restlessness, stomachaches, acne, breathlessness, back pain, allergies/a cold, high blood pressure, or chest pain. They can also be emotional or behavioral such as anxiety, anger, loneliness, worrying, arguing/snapping at people, neglecting one’s needs, difficulty concentrating, over/under eating, or withdrawing from family and friends.
What are some causes of stress?
Stressors can be as varied as the symptoms they induce. Sometimes they are financial, environmental, health, family, or work related. They can also be imbedded in our daily routines such as chores, car trouble, forgetting/misplacing something, oversleeping, waiting in line, etc.
How do we manage stress?
Accepting what cannot be changed and proactively working to remove the stressors that can be changed is one way to decrease stress. Some methods of controlling stress are moderating physical and emotional reactions, developing coping skills, practicing stress-relieving techniques, and finding humor as a release.
What are some techniques for reducing stress?
· Exercising, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular check ups
· Getting plenty of sleep
· Writing in a journal
· Talking it out – expressing feelings or venting
· Reframing negative thoughts to positive ones and using humor when possible
· Using time management – getting up on time, planning ahead, making a “to-do-list”, breaking larger jobs down into smaller tasks, prioritizing, and delegating when possible
· Getting organized and setting limits
· Taking breaks to re-energize and avoid fatigue
· Setting realistic and reasonable goals and expectations
· Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, listening to music, or getting a massage
· Spending time with friends or family doing things that are fun
· Taking time for you – schedule free time and treat yourself (you deserve it!)
If stress is not able to be managed with the above techniques, seeking professional medical or mental health treatment can help. Contacting the Employee Assistance Program is one way to attain this assistance.