It's Not Just You, It's Stress and Anxiety!
Once upon a time, stress and anxiety moved in and out of our lives, ebbing and flowing much like the ocean tides or the moon's waxing and waning. However, today, many months into a pandemic, a new school year, a flood of news updates and a constantly shifting "new normal"... stress and anxiety seem to have taken up permanent residence in our lives.
Such constant companions negatively affect our health and well-being. We become more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Unrelieved stress and anxiety can lead to depression as well as panic and anxiety disorders. Yet often, we find ourselves well down the road of being stressed out and overanxious before we even realize it.
So, what are some of the common signs that we can use as a signal to help recognize what's going on with us before stress and anxiety stake their claim in our lives?
Common physical symptoms of stress and anxiety include:
- Muscle tension
- Rapid breathing and/or heartbeat
- Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
- Gastrointestinal problems
Emotionally and psychologically, we may notice:
- Feelings of panic or nervousness.
- Fault finding and/or worst-case scenario spinning.
- Difficulty concentrating.
Unfortunately, we cannot completely avoid or evict these unwanted tenants (AKA stress and anxiety), but we can limit how they impact us. We can manage how we respond to them by how we choose to care for ourselves.
Some simple self-care tools include:
- Cutting out/limiting junk food and making healthier mealtime choices.
- Limiting caffeine and alcohol intake.
- Getting enough sleep.
- Exercising regularly.
- Exploring meditation and mindfulness practices.
- Journaling your thoughts and feelings.
- Making time for things that make you smile.
- Recognizing things that cause trigger stress and anxiety for you.
- Talking to a trusted friend or a trained professional.
With a little time and attention, we can begin to negotiate a more agreeable living arrangement with our new constant companions.
If you would like to speak with a health care provider for help managing stress and anxiety, many behavioral health providers are now offering virtual care options.
>> Learn more about virtual care options available during COVID-19.
>> Learn about behavioral health services available at Cone Health for you and your family.