Stress…The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
I recently left a stable full-time job to embark in private practice. The amount of decisions and tasks required to get started felt enormous. There were times my mind was spinning in different directions just thinking about the things I needed to do, how best to keep up, and get ahead. Painting, getting paneled with insurance companies, moving, learning new systems, working full time, attending trainings…all happened at the same time. Then, I got a sinus infection. The consequence of being overworked and run down. I did it to myself and I knew better!
Stress is a feeling people experience when struggling with life challenges. From feeling rushed or pressured at work, to financial worries, disorganization, or having too many demands. It can be a real or imagined, or a threat affecting one’s well-being. It can be brief, or long-lasting.
Stress can be impacted by reactive thinking and negative thoughts about situations or events. It is commonly found in those having Type A personalities and those who are chronic worriers. Under stress, workplace environments can become burdensome. Burnout is common. Relationships among co-workers and family members often deteriorate. Illness, cold/flu, are more frequent.
Signs of stress can include:
- Anger, irritability
- Anxiety and depression
- Muscle tension- headaches, back, neck, or jaw pain
- Stomach, gut, and bowel problems
- Hyperarousal symptoms- increased blood pressure, heart rate, sweaty palms, dizziness, cold hands or feet, shortness of breath, sleep problems, and chest pain
Stress left untreated, that becomes chronic, can significantly damage physical and mental health. Other factors include aversive experiences in childhood (i.e. poverty, abuse, family dysfunction, unemployment, substance abuse, etc) or traumatic experiences later in life. Chronic stress can also lead to feelings of hopelessness.
Reducing stress takes lifestyle changes, attitude adjustments, healthy boundaries, attention to self-care, and accountability for our choices. Ready to manage your stress more productively? Contact me at SHCS.