Stress and Your Life

November 2nd is National Stress Awareness Day. Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.


Stress is how we react when we feel under pressure or threatened. It usually happens when we are in a situation that we don't feel we can manage or control.

When we experience stress, it can be as:

  • An individual, for example when you have lots of responsibilities that you are struggling to manage

  • Part of a group, for example if your family is going through a difficult time, such as bereavement or financial problems

  • Part of your community, for example if you belong to a community/reserve that is experiencing discrimination

  • A member of society, for example during natural disasters or events like the coronavirus pandemic

If you feel stress as part of a bigger group, you may all experience it differently. This can happen even if the cause of your stress is the same.


In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it can harm your health.


When you have chronic stress, your body stays alert, even though there is no danger. Over time, this puts you at risk for health problems, including:


• High blood pressure

• Heart disease

• Diabetes

• Obesity

• Depression or anxiety

• Skin problems, such as acne or eczema

• Menstrual problems

If you already have a health condition, chronic stress can make it worse.


SIGNS OF TOO MUCH STRESS


Stress can cause many types of physical and emotional symptoms. Sometimes, you may not realize these symptoms are caused by stress. Here are some signs that stress may be affecting you:

• Diarrhea or constipation

• Forgetfulness

• Frequent aches and pains

• Headaches

• Lack of energy or focus

• Sexual problems

• Stiff jaw or neck

• Tiredness

• Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

• Upset stomach

• Use of alcohol or drugs to relax

• Weight loss or gain


If you noticing the signs of chronic stress in your body, here are 12 ways to cope, prevent or reduce stress:


1. Re-balance Work and Home

2. Build in Regular Exercise

3. Eat Well and Limit Alcohol and Stimulants

4. Connect with Supportive People

5. Carve out Hobby Time

6. Practice Meditation, Stress Reduction or Yoga.

7. Participate in Ceremony (drumming, dancing, sweat lodges, smudges)

8. Get Enough Sleep

9. Bond with Your Pet

10. Take a Vacation

11. See a Counsellor or Therapist

12. Go out on the Land and Connect with Nature (hunt, fish, walk)


"It’s key to recognize stressful situations as they occur because it allows you to focus on managing how you react," Dr. Stoll says. "We all need to know when to close our eyes and take a deep breath when we feel tension rising."


For more information about stress and stress management and how you can use stress reducing techniques to help manage the everyday demands of being a teacher and/or in the classroom for your students, contact Kwayaciiwin's Mental Health team at apatterson@kerc.ca or (807) 737-7373 x. 15


Source Material:


https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003211.html

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/stress/what-is-stress/#:~:text=Stress%20is%20how%20we%20react,you%20are%20struggling%20to%20manage

https://www.sutterhealth.org/health/mind-body/10-simple-ways-to-cope-with-stress


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