Control Your Stress

 

Photo Credit by Tim Gouw Pexels

Stress involves psychological, emotional and physical components in your lives. It is important to control your stress and learn ways to have the power over these demands in order to continue moving down a successful path. Burnout is stress at its pivotal point or at the point you just cannot take anymore. Typically, some sort of emotional or physical breakdown happens. Depression or anxiety indicators can be the result if burnout and stressors are typically to blame. It is time to control your stress.

When Burnout Shows Up as Anxiety or Depression

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable but only about one third of those suffering with anxiety actually get treatment. Anxiety disorders develop from various risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events. Those suffering with anxiety can also suffer from depression or vice versa. Almost half of those suffering from depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

When the ADAA talks about treatment, it is important to understand that first an individual has to determine whether he or she is suffering from anxiety or depression then ask for help. You cannot handle depression or anxiety alone. It is important to: 1) identify what depression or anxiety looks like physically, emotionally, and behaviorally, 2) tell someone about it (i.e., a parent, teacher, friend or other professional and 3) ensure you get the right help from a medical or clinical professional (i.e., a doctor, psychiatrist, mental health counselor or social worker). There can be the option of getting medication management and learning healthy coping skills to deal with symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. Unfortunately, when one suffers with anxiety or depression, it can have a significant impact on his or her self-esteem. Handling stress effectively is one way to enhance your self-esteem.

Stress for Survival

Stress is essential for survival. Being in adverse situations and feeling stress actually helps us grow. A healthy amount of stress is something that is workable but at times your emotions can get the best of you. Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain based on adverse or demanding circumstances. At this point, it would be great if life is enjoyable to you but at times stress is a real part of life. It is so real, that it happens practically daily, in one form or another, and not learning how to cope with stress throughout life can be detrimental. The younger you can learn how to manage stress, the better.

When feeling stressed, you might tend to push it away, cry or avoid stress but honestly, it is better if you meet it head-on. Preferentially, you want to get back to homeostasis or that idea of “I want to feel good.” You might sense that a situation presenting stress is out of your control still you might figure out a solution. If the stressor shows you that a situation is out of your control, there is empowerment in knowing that you have to just ride the ride. If the stressor involves you being able to figure out a solution (which is usually the case), there is peace in finding a resolution as well as growth.

Feeling the Stress

When learning how to navigate stress, identifying the sensations in your body and using healthy coping skills are key methods to battling burnout. What specific physical, psychological or emotional signs show that you are experiencing unhealthy stress? What do various parts of your body feel like when under stress? Do you get a stomach ache or headache? Do your thoughts get cluttered or does it feel overwhelming? What emotional cues tell you that you are under stress?

Signs You are Stressed Out to the Max. Hello Burnout

Read the signs below for burnout:

1. Health issues or illness, sickness

2. Not taking care of yourself regular self-care (i.e., poor sleep, poor diet, not enough exercise or focus on hobbies/talents, use of alcohol or drugs)

3. Not satisfied with life, overall

4. Being forgetful, having emotional outbursts, lacking of focus, feeling overwhelmed

5. Frustration, irritability, cynicism and experiencing other negative emotions

6. Being preoccupied with work or school (when you’re not at work or school)

7. Lacking motivation

8. Interpersonal problems at home and at work (arguments, withdrawing/isolating)

9. Slipping performance (at work or at school, not meeting deadlines, being late)

10. Feeling tired or exhausted often

First Step in Combating Stress

Identifying which circumstances give you stress is important. This comes with time. Honing in on what your physical and bodily sensations are that are giving you anxiety or increasing your nerves is part of how you combat stress. You have to understand what is leading to your stress.

There are various circumstances that help you identify your stress. It might be a job that feels overwhelming, unnatural or not your match. You might not understand how to make new social situations manageable right away. Or you might not know that it is healthy to say “no” when people ask you for favors. Perhaps you have recently figured out that being in large crowds is not for you. Possibly you learned that a job where you are having serious trouble with your manager or coworkers is just not worth the stress levels.

Second Step in Combating Stress

Ultimately it is important to add tools to your toolbox when dealing with stress. Get good at learning what your coping skills are. Some people need to talk about their stress. Others need to distract themselves with television, exercise, socializing or keeping busy. Still, others, go to meditation class, yoga or church. It is a personal journey but the way you manage stress is probably similar to the ways others also manage stress, so it’s okay to talk about it. With the mindset of: there are no problems, only opportunities in life, you can stay positive about overcoming any stressor.

Third Step to Combating Stress

Psychology describes stress as a feeling of strain or pressure on a person. How you look at stress or how you approach stress matters. This determines whether you are a happy person or an unhappy person. Learning how to relax when you are having stress is a big part of managing your emotions. Learning how to manage stress the right ways versus the wrong ways is what matters. Taking time to tune into self is the key and doing what works for you. This might take time. Perspective does not come easily and experience can aid in learning what works for you. I highly encourage you to get good at identifying what your stressors are, take action to work with stress in a healthy way, and finally review the red flags that are characteristic of burnout.

Coping Skills Review:

Put simply here are some examples of unhealthy versus healthy coping skills. If you are doing the unhealthy skills, it is time to ask for help and make some changes.

Unhealthy coping skills include: abusing illegal drugs, prescription and over-the-counter medications and alcohol, overeating, under-eating or purging, self-harm (i.e., cutting, burning, etc.), risk-taking behaviors (i.e., breaking and entering, vandalizing, stealing, etc.), promiscuous or unprotected sex, gossiping, poor communication (i.e., yelling, demanding, blaming, etc.) and so on.

Healthy coping skills include: journaling, talking to others, playing with a pet, showering, taking a bath, going for a walk, exercise, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, reading, watching a movie, art work, napping, acting, dancing, weightlifting, gaming, saying nice things to yourself, taking a vacation, etc.