What is stress? Hundreds of millions of people around the world experience it on a regular basis.
Yet not many of us truly understand what it is, or how it impacts our health and well-being. As a caregiver for a family member, friend, or even as part of your job, you may be feeling the direct impact of stress throughout most areas of your life.
It could be affecting your health, relationships, career or work life, and, of course, your mental well-being. March is Stress Awareness Month and the more you know about it, the more steps you could take to combat it.
What is stress?
Essentially, it is rooted in a primal survival mechanism. Most of us have heard about the ‘fight or flight’ survival instinct. In brief, if your life is threatened, your mind prepares your body to either stand and fight or run away. This generally means having adrenaline and other hormones coursing through your veins that will provide a boost of strength and stamina to your muscles in order to allow you the highest chance of survival.
While most of us aren’t threatened by wild predatory animals or either imminent life or death situations, the brain doesn’t differentiate between a genuine physical threat and a perceived one.
When you’re worried about a family member, your job, paying the bills, or something else, the brain still treats that as a threat to your being. As such, when you are constantly under stress, your body is constantly in that fight or flight mode.
How does this affect your body?
It can increase hypertension, blood pressure, risk of heart attack and stroke, create anxiety which could lead to panic disorders, cause a person to eat more, eat less, and the list goes on and on.
As a caregiver, you need to be acutely aware of the stress in your life. While you may not feel its impact directly, there are numerous ways it can manifest in other areas of your life.
Difficulty sleeping, unfocused, undisciplined, short-tempered, and so on.
When you are more aware of stress and how it’s impacting you, it’s time to take control and reduce stress. Rely on a home care agency to help care for this family member. It doesn’t have to be full-time, but a supplement, something that gives you time to focus on yourself, your health, and your well-being.
You don’t have to go it alone as a family caregiver. Home care -and possibly stress relief- is just a phone call away.