Carer Stress? How to SNAP the Stress Cycle

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Article by 

Rita Merienne

We hear the word stress thrown around a lot however What is stress… do we really know what it is. Stress is when you feel the pressure of a difficult situation. It’s a state of mental or emotional strain which often leads to physical symptoms. Being overwhelmed by the situation. Just like John Farnham’s song…. We need to take the pressure down. I’m going to share some ways you take the pressure down or reduce the stress in your life.

Reducing the stress in your life and knowing what triggers the stress will bring back the feeling of control. It has the added bonus of eliminating some of the physical symptoms which will bring back enjoyment and happiness. Freeing the mind body and soul will help you to live a happy and joyful life. The aim is not to be dragged down by the constant pressure of stress.

Too much of a good thing?

A little stress is a good thing. We’ve heard this many times before and well, to be honest with you it can be. You know how it feels – your heart is racing you are in fight or flight mode and it feels ok. However, too much of a good thing is never great, and this is exactly the case when there is too much stress. What started out as heart racing becomes a thumping so hard that it takes over your whole life. You can’t function normally.

It is just like a rubber band… a bit of stretching is good, feels comfortable. Easy to move around. Yes stretched, but feeling good. It is only when we stretch too much that it becomes uncomfortable. There is even a school of thought that too little stress and we become bored. That isn’t good for us either.
I want you to think about a rubber band – it stretches and stretches until it breaks and then snaps either you or those around you. You don’t know when it will snap. You know it’s coming you can see the strain, feel the strain and the pressure. And then SNAP!

However, I’d like you to think about it a bit differently. You don’t need to eliminate all stress, but what you need to do is keep it in control. Some stress is good. Some university studies recommend that we have some stress in our lives, or it becomes monotonous. And whilst I think this is a bit extreme, I do believe we need to be challenged so we grow.

I heard an interesting report recently PTSG – Post Traumatic Stress Growth that can also occur. We’ve heard of PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, however, there is another school of thought that talks about the growth that comes from traumatic stress. Could this be the same for chronic or acute stress too?

When we work our way through things, we grow. No, it’s not getting over it. It is working through it to learn and grow.

Symptoms of Stress

According to the government website, healthdirect.gov.au, the following are common feelings of stress:

  • feeling overwhelmed/unable to cope
  • feeling on edge or unable to stop worrying
  • feeling exhausted
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • changes in appetite
  • headaches
  • aching muscles
  • upset stomach
  • difficulty concentrating
  • changes in mood including irritability or anger
  • withdrawal from friends and family
  • reliance on alcohol or other substances to cope
  • throughs of self-harm or suicide

However, it affects people in different ways, some physical and some mental. How does stress affect you? Nothing is right, and nothing is wrong. Each person’s “limit” is different, and we don’t know what has happened to make them snap.

What are you going to do today to reduce the stress in your life?

Some Ways to Ease Stress

Steps towards easing stress can be divided into immediate actions and planned actions.
Some immediate actions you can take when something stressful happens include:

  • Breathe – take several deep breaths
  • Don’t react straight away
  • Take a sip of water
  • Plan your response

Here are some planned actions you can take when you know a situation is or could be stressful. You can then plan around it. Planned actions you can take include:

  • Plan your response
  • Exercise
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Yoga

Don’t put yourself in the situation if you can help it. Speak to your GP or a Mental Health professional if the stress persists. We all have situations that we don’t like. If we can plan them and do them our way then they will be less stressful.

Stress is a part of our everyday lives however stress doesn’t have to control our lives.

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Comments
  1. what is the solution to stress and burnout after years/decades of caring?? stress through the roof depression through the floor , ???

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