Stress. Stress is that feeling we get when we have to meet almost impossible deadlines at work. It’s the feeling we get when we have an overwhelming workload either at work or at home. It is the feeling we get when we are living in an unhappy lifestyle of life situations. Whatever the reason may be, it’s there to greet us and rears its ugly head even if we don’t want it to. It becomes our friend even though we can’t stand it. So, what else causes stress? And, better yet, how can we avoid or manage it?
Stress can be related to several things we go through in our lives. We can get stressed when it comes to our jobs, our personal lives and we can even cause ourselves to stress- called internal stress. Let’s take a closer look.
What is Stress
Stress is a feeling we get when we are struggling with change or trying to cope with new challenges. These challenges can range from finances, work, relationships, family matters and more. Stress is a feeling that we perceive. Whether it is reality or not, only we can decide that. It is the body’s natural defense against the real or perceived dangers in our environment.
When we feel threatened, our body is flushed with chemicals that help prepare us for a flight or fight response called cortisol and adrenaline. Our bodies can’t tell the difference of what is real or life threatening, but it releases these chemicals either way.
Each type of stress needs to be dealt with in a specific manner due to the fact that each type of stress and its symptoms are different. Stress also needs to be dealt differently when personality, environment, lifestyle, coping resources and developmental history of each individual is different.
There are 3 main types of stress. You can read more about it HERE.
Causes of Stress
Stressors are situations and pressures that cause stress. Usually, we think of stressors as being negative, but in some cases, that may not be true. New events are the main causes of stress, and not all new events are negative. New events we can encounter in life is the first day at a new job, getting married, expecting a new family member, buying a house, going to college and receiving a promotion that has more demands.
Everyone has different stress triggers. On the top of that list, however, is work related stress. I’m sure we can all agree that at some point or another, our jobs have caused us a great deal of stress. If not the job itself, it’s the people that we work with. Our co-workers can give us a hard time. Our boss can be rude and very demanding. The workload can be too heavy. Or we are simply unhappy with our job, but hey, the bills need to be paid.
Ways to Avoid Work Stress
There are different ways you can avoid and manage stress when at work. Most of them can be done right at your workplace and others include doing a few things while you’re not at work. Here is a list.
- Track your stressors- keep track of what people and activities trigger your stress for a few weeks.
- Practice Relaxation Techniques- Deep breathing, mindfulness and meditation can be highly effective when trying to manage work stress.
- Establish Boundaries- keep your work and personal life separate or set ground rules of things you are and aren’t allowed do for work while at home
- Take Time Off- if you feel you need a day to mentally and physically recharge, use a vacation or sick day to take time for yourself
- Develop Healthy Habits- eating healthy and getting enough rest can help when managing work stress
- Avoid Stress- try avoiding people, activities and spaces that trigger your stress levels
- Stay Organized- efficiently organize your work area, write to-do lists and use sticky notes and notebooks to help you stay on track and on top of important documents
Personal stress is stress that is caused by either your personal life, your perception on certain situations or you, yourself causing your own stress and chaos. Personal stress can be caused by several different things we may be facing in our lives. Most of the time, they are unpredictable, pop up out of nowhere and cause a great deal of well… stress.
Ways to Manage Personal Stress
- Take care of yourself- eat healthy, exercise on a regular basis, do things you enjoy doing
- Have a strong support network- being isolated exacerbates stress; Being around loved ones can help life’s pressures more manageable
- Have a sense of control- have confidence in yourself to persevere through life’s challenges. Talk positively to yourself
- Your outlook and attitude- stress is perceived. Look at stressful events in a positive and optimistic manner
- Learn to Deal with your emotions- learn how to stay calm and soothe yourself in stressful situations. Learn how to identify and deal appropriately to your emotions
Job Loss and Unemployment
Losing a job is one of life’s most stressful events. Most of the times, we don’t even see it coming and when it slaps you in the face, we can feel angry, hurt and even fall into depression. We can feel grief and anxious for the future, and if it was a job you weren’t too fond of, you can even feel relieved to some extent.
When losing a job, it involves a lot of changes all at once. You have lost your income, but the bills won’t stop just because of that. This event can be overwhelming, but you can’t get caught up on what has happened. Look towards the future to be able to come out of this time stronger, more resilient and with a renewed sense of purpose.
Tips to Avoid Stress from Unemployment
- Allow yourself to grieve- take a minute to let your feelings out and give yourself time to adjust and mourn the loss of your job.
- Accept the Reality- don’t dwell on your job loss, try to accept the situation. The sooner you can accept, the sooner you can move on
- Don’t beat yourself up- it’s easy to criticize and reanalyze the situation and yourself, but you will need the confidence to find a new job.
- Open up to loved ones- the support of loved ones can help you survive through this trying time.
- Rediscover yourself- find and do activities you enjoy doing and that make you happy. Do something creative and get in tune with nature.
- Keep a daily routine- following a schedule will help you be more productive and efficient
- Create a job search plan- think of your overall goal, and break this large goal into smaller ones to avoid being overwhelmed
Financial stress and uncertainty is something most of us have had to deal with in our lives or are now dealing with. Stress triggers can stem from losing a job, unexpected costs, school and regular debt or a combination of some sort. Financial worry is one of the most common worries we deal with in the modern world today.
Financial stress, as you may already know can take a huge toll on your mental and physical health, relationships and even the quality of your overall health. The constant worrying and fear can lead to sleepless nights, weight loss or gain, low self-esteem and loss of energy levels. You may feel ashamed, angry, full of tension and fearful.
When it comes to coping, some of them may not be too healthy such as drinking smoking, abusing drugs and even gambling. These can be a few of many ways we deal with trying to escape the feelings and the moods we may be feeling. But there are a few things you can do to help regain control of your finances.
Tips to Avoid Stress from Unemployment
Grief and Loss
Unfortunately, at one point or another in our lives, we have to deal with the stress of the loss of a loved one. This can cause great stress on our mental and physical health. Many times, this loss can be unexpected but that does not change the pain, the anger, the overwhelming feeling, the disbelief and the hurt we feel from the loss itself.
There aren’t any right or wrong ways to grieve and everyone’s grieving process is different but there are healthy ways to cope with the pain and healthy ways ease the sadness that can help you come to terms with the loss. There are ways to help find new meanings and to help move on with our lives.
Grief doesn’t always have to deal with the death of someone close to us. It can also be from the loss of a relationship (divorce or breakup), loss of health, loss of financial stability, loss of losing something very dear to us and the list goes on. No matter how grand or how subtle the loss may be, there are ways to help ease the sadness.
Dealing with the Grieving Process
- Face your feelings- Acknowledge your pain and that you are upset about your loss, trying to ignore the pain will only prolong the grieving process
- Turn to loved ones- it is ok to lean on the people who care about you; spend time with loved ones face to face if you can
- Talk to a professional- if your grief is too much to bear, find a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling.
- Do something you love- there’s comfort in doing things you enjoy doing and keeping a routine
- Plan ahead for grief triggers- there are going to be times such as anniversaries and holidays that can awaken memories and feelings; be prepared for those emotions to flow through
- Stay healthy- exercise, get enough rest and eat healthy to help cope with grieving. Avoid alcohol and drugs to lift your spirit artificially or to numb the pain
Summing It Up
There are many different things that can cause stress in our lives, but not everything that causes stress is bad. There are many factors to the way we react to stress such as the way we perceive stress and the ways we react to this so-called stress. Some of us may even experience more that one cause of stress at a time which can be very demanding on our bodies and our minds. There are many ways we can manage and relieve stress, but it is important to seek professional help when the stress levels are out of our hands.
Remember, you are not alone, and we are here to help you get through your journey! Until next time, PEACE!
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