Hi! I’m Jo. I’m a wife, and mother to three independently minded, free spirited boys. Cup of Toast is my family and lifestyle blog where I write about life in general, things to do with children and send virtual picture postcards. Please drop by and say hi!
1.) Do you suﬀer with stress frequently or occasionally?
I occasionally suffer with stress, although I have been diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder in the past and the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that I received has helped me to manage my stress levels effectively. I suspect that they would be much higher if I had not had that.
2.) What sort of things cause you stress?
For me it is being overloaded. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Chronic Pain so I need to balance my daily activities against my physical capabilities. I find that hard to do as I’m a ‘yes’ person, regularly taking things on, and I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, always wanting to do a good job with whatever it is that I’m handling. Having been quite unwell last year with both of these things I am learning to balance my to-do list better, but if it starts to pile up with responsibilities as a parent, a daughter, a wife and so on then I do stress about getting it all done.
3.) Does anything in particular make stress worse for you?
Although I have a blog and a voluntary job, I’m often seen as a stay at home mum. I think that there’s a common misconception that because I’m at home I can fit everything in, which isn’t the case if there’s too much to do. For me that makes the pressure and stress worse because I can list what I have on and it all sounds simple and straight forward, but put it all together and actually try to achieve it in a short timeframe and it becomes difficult. I also find it hard to accurately articulate that to some people and feel that there is a sense that I should just be able to do it all.
4.) Does stress have an impact on your physical health?
Not any more, but I did use to have stress induced headaches and I would lose my appetite. That was before I had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy though which had a really positive impact for me.
5.) What do you do to alleviate stress?
I try to find a quiet spot and listen to the world around me. Wherever I am I can always hear something and focusing on whatever that might be slows my breathing and helps me to take a moment to relax.
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?
Yes. I think often it’s seen as a short-term thing which everyone can suffer from. That doesn’t make it ok though. I’m not sure that much emphasis is put on long term stress either, or ways of managing this. It can be very debilitating. I feel that if it was taken more seriously both by some members of the medical profession but also in work places and by central government agencies then it might be easier to have access to appropriate support.
7.) Do you have any tips for anyone dealing with stress?
Trust your instincts. Don’t take no for an answer and always accept help. I have medication for my Chronic Pain and I couldn’t cope without it. It shouldn’t be any different for someone suffering from a hidden mental illness. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy changed my life. It’s not necessarily the answer for everyone as we’re all different, but find what works for you and don’t give up hope that there will be something or someone somewhere who can help.
If you want to see more about stress awareness then please search ‘stress awareness’ to read all the posts throughout April.