It’s Stress Awareness month! If you haven’t seen my post here about Stress Awareness month and the stress awareness takeover, then go and check it out so that you can see what is going on!
Hello. My name is Alice and I blog at Living with a Jude (www.livingwithajude.co.uk) I’m 37 years old (yikes), married with three children all of whom you may be familiar with because of my blog…if you even know my blog. Wow, that sounded arrogant but I didn’t mean it! I just meant that they feature heavily. I write largely about life with our son (Jude) because of the experiences of life he has had so far. I’m a vegan, bit of a health freak but with a massively sweet tooth! I love cats and have two rescue moggies at home. My party trick is balancing spoons on my nose. I learnt this skill as a young child and have honed it over the years.
1) Do you suﬀer with stress frequently or occasionally?
Very frequently unfortunately. My son has severe learning disabilities and autism and for nearly two years I had to battle with our council to get him the support and care he needs. Prior to this battle, life was a bit traumatic with him and I think the stress levels for everyone at home went through the roof. Thankfully, he is now receiving fantastic care but I still have the day to day stresses of life with a disabled child. I can’t explain how it feels sometimes. Just doing the most simple of tasks that you’d do with your children isn’t always even possible with my son because of his anxiety and occasional inability to cope with busy, social situations.
2) What sort of things cause you stress?
Ahhhh so many things! I stress about money a lot. An awful lot actually. Family life. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship before I met my husband and this has really damaged me and my self-confidence. As a consequence, I never think I’m good enough and constantly feel I have to prove myself to everyone. It sucks. I try my best not to worry so much but I think it will be a long time before I see myself as worthy of having a break every now and then. My children, in particular my son, cause me stress on a day to day basis, even just going out to the shops en masse can heighten my anxieties. I think this is because of experiences we’ve had in the past where he’s had a melt down and I’ve had to try and cope. The worst being when I was out with all three children and Emmeline was only one. Jude lost it in the park, a bunch of teenagers stared and a few laughed and I had to somehow lift up and half carry/drag him towards the exit whilst chasing and then consoling a now distraught newly walking baby and of course my (then seven year old.) WHAT a situation! The laughing teenagers should thank themselves lucky my youngest ran in the opposite direction and I had to chase her down first or else I would have had a few words to say. We’ve had wonderful experiences out in society but the bad one’s always scar the most, don’t they?
I also stress about my two daughters not having a normal enough life so perhaps over compensate in some ways with them. I don’t know, I just feel like my life is one big juggling act that I cannot sustain in the long term.
3) Does anything in particular make stress worse for you?
I think I make my stress worse myself. I’m lucky in that my family are very supportive, my mum helps with the children an awful lot and my husband doesn’t put any pressures or expectations on me as he realises how stress affects me. Work-wise, I am now self-employed which means I work from home. In reality, this probably just feeds my lack of confidence and allows it to carry on festering away. I had an employment position for a while but (and this may sound ridiculous) I just can’t cope with it. It was a managerial role and sadly, I don’t have the self-belief that I am worth the position, why would anyone listen to me? In reality, it didn’t make financial sense so I am building up my work from home which is much better for the family. I’d love to be one of those confident people in an office environment but sadly, that just isn’t me.
4) Does stress have an impact on your physical health?
Very much so. In fact, only last week I went for blood tests as I’ve been feeling so awful recently. I went to my doctor as I was feeling faint, lethargic, light headed, my heart has been racing and I have that constant anxiety/fight or flight feeling in my chest for a large part of the day. Wow, I sound like a right bundle of healthy, don’t I?! You know I must be feeling bad when even I say it’s time to go to the doctor.
5) What do you do to alleviate stress?
I read when I can. I went to the gym last week and that made a big difference so I really need to try and fit that in my day. Ridiculously though, I always think of all the other things I should be doing instead of going to the gym. I feel a bit selfish doing anything like that for myself even though the rational side of my brain tells me it’s essential for my own well-being.
6) Do you think more needs to be done to raise awareness of what causes stress and the impact it has on us and those around us? If yes, what would you do or like to see done?
Massively so. Maybe companies could sett time out each week for stress management sessions? Have different people in to talk to your staff, etc. I know this doesn’t help those that are self-employed but there could be an equivalent offered to people like me working from home. I’m not sure how viable this is and in reality, would people go?
7) Do you have any tips for anyone dealing with stress?
Write a diary of what you have to do during the week and find the gaps where you can do something for yourself. Even a tiny thing like read for half an hour. I love reading. When I do eventually managed to sit down with a cup of tea and my book, I feel a million times better. Yoga, go for a walk/swim or just listen to music. As my doctor told me, it’s vital to have a bit of YOU time a few times a week.
Thanks lovely 🙂
If you want to see more about stress awareness then please search ‘stress awareness’ to read all the posts throughout April.