Stress Management

Stress is a normal response to external stimuli. It can be anything from being worried about giving a public address to a bunch of people to being in a dangerous situation where you're confronted by an angry bear in the woods to being worried about a test. It could be anything that causes you to be worried or anxious. Stress is a normal physiologic response to these stimuli. It can cause tachycardia which is a faster heart rate or sweaty palms, but it could also be something more serious like difficulty sleeping, affecting your mood, making you more depressed or having anxiety that interferes with your ability to do your normal day-to-day routines such interacting with people at work or at home or in other personal situations.

There are some very simple things that you could do to deal with stress. It could be journaling, exercising, meditating, praying, talking to family or friends. It could be a variety of different things. it's basically what we've referred to as self-care or doing the things that you need to do to try to take care of yourself so that you can manage your stress on your own. If you don't take care of your stress and keep it bottled up inside of you, it tends to come out in ways that tends to be unfavorable. At some point it might be a chronic anxiety issue or depression. It could manifest itself as a substance use disorder. It could interfere with your ability to interact with the people you know and love and create stresses in relationships with them. If you are constantly avoiding issues, it just tends to build and build and build until it becomes unmanageable and it really interferes with your life and your ability to cope with things.

Women as caregivers tend to carry more stress than men do. Certainly men can have stress in their lives too, but women tend to be mothers and wives they can be working outside the home. They carry a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. Trying to manage many different things at one time can sometimes be very difficult and because of that we often aren't taking the care and time for ourselves and then it just becomes harder to manage. If you notice that you're having difficulty sleeping at night or if you feel so much anxiety and depression that you can't think of leaving the house or you don't want to do the things that normally would make you happy or if you can't get out of bed in the morning, you should consider seeing your health care provider to discuss this further. There are medications that can be used and counseling can be very helpful. There are multiple different ways that you can seek help.

As a parent we want to take care of our children and it's very hard when we see our kids are stressed and trying to navigate difficult situations. Things to watch for as signs that your child might be having difficulty would be more isolation, such as your child spending more time in their rooms, not wanting to interact with family or friends or if they don't seem to get excited about things that would normally make them happy, like playing with certain toys or certain playmates. Given the current circumstances right now with the COVID-19 pandemic, this is adding a lot more stress for folks and kids in particular with navigating a new school situation or schooling from home. If you notice that your child is having issues that you're concerned about, you certainly should contact your health care provider. Keep communications open with your child, making sure they know that if there's anything that's bothering them or worrying them that they can come and talk to mom and dad. Getting them outside to play or doing anything that distracts them a bit is always a good thing too. But just being persistent if there's something that really worries you that is going on with your child, trying to always let your child know that you care about them, you want the best for them and you are a listening ear, open to hearing what they have to say is also very important.