Stress. It’s a word bandied around, but what does it mean to you?

•Your head is full of I should have done that, I must do that, damn I forgot that!
•You have just had enough! You ping-pong between screaming and shouting – and sobbing.
•If one more person speaks to you, demanding your attention, asking one more stupid question you will just explode!
•If only you could get a good night’s sleep! You are so tired but when it comes to bedtime your brain just won’t stop. Intrusive thoughts go round and round.
•You are so hacked off with your partner, you are sick of him constantly pawing you, prodding and poking you. I need sleep – Get off!
•The kids are driving you mad, constantly demanding your attention, they won’t pick up their things and treat you like a skivvy,
•If someone tells you to calm down one more time you won’t be responsible for your actions!

STOP FOR ONE MINUTE – grab paper and pen and list all the things happening in your life that takes your time and energy.

Here are some suggestions to get you thinking –

•Job (as well as being a mum, homemaker, cleaner, chauffeur, listener, problem solver)
•Responsibilities for extended family members
•Long-term illness
•Death of someone close
•House move
•Financial worries

Now look at the list – Ask yourself if it’s any wonder you feel overstretched and stressed, exhausted and wired.

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Effects of stress

Stress is so damaging in so many ways, worry, anxiety, and irritability all damage you physically and emotionally. You may turn to alcohol or binge eating, but you know that isn’t really helping, it’s just sticking a plaster over the problem. In the long term, it can contribute to serious illnesses, such as heart disease, asthma, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer.
So what can you do? Check that list you made before, and prioritise, get others to help out, delegate! Some self-care is badly needed and if that means you are being selfish in other’s eyes, that’s just tough luck. Remind them that if you get sick they will have to do it all, so lending a helping hand isn’t that bad.

Other things you can do when you are feeling stressed are:

•Download some Apps to your phone on meditation, breathing exercises and relaxation, find a quiet place and listen to them for a few minutes.
•Take a bath with music, candles and essential oils.
•Write down all the stuff in your head before going to sleep, it really helps clear your mind.
•Switch off all electronics at least an hour before going to bed to prepare your brain for sleep.


Wendy Capewell is the author of:
From Surviving to Thriving in a Romantic Relationship

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