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!
Hi, I’m Kate and I blog at Counting To Ten www.countingtoten.co.uk. I have two daughters and would very much love a third child, but nature seems to have other plans. My eldest daughter is from my previous marriage and I have to share parenting with my ex which can be a struggle. I blog about family life, including all the messy bits. I love a chat on Twitter https://twitter.com/EssexKate, Instagram https://www.instagram.com/essexkate/ and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CountingToTenBlog/.
1) Do you suﬀer with stress frequently or occasionally?
Since I stopped going out to work I rarely feel too stressed, but I used to experience it regularly. Of course there is the regular ‘get out the house and to school on time’ stress, but that’s normally manageable and short lived. I’m also one of those shouty mums who seem to shout at their kids multiple times a day, but the shouting in itself is stress relief so I feel fine afterwards.
2) What sort of things cause you stress?
Work used to be a huge source of stress for me. For years I worked in senior management and I couldn’t have cleared my to do list even if I worked 24/7. When I had my eldest daughter I had to stop working such long hours so the pressure built up and I felt like I was drowning. This spilled over into my home life so I couldn’t keep on top of anything there either. I nearly had a mental breakdown during the first year back after maternity leave until I said “enough is enough” and refocused my time.
3) Does anything in particular make stress worse for you?
I’m a big planner. I love to have plans and I feel secure when I have them, I only realised recently that I have low level anxiety and that I use plans and controlling my environment to manage my anxiety. When something happens which stops me being able to plan, or my plans are threatened, I get stressed. I basically get stressed when I feel out of control.
4) Does stress have an impact on your physical health?
I’m an eater: when I’m sad or stressed I eat a lot. As I am normally binging on high fat and sugary foods my body feels more sluggish and run down. I’ve tried eating lots of carrots but it just isn’t as satisfying. When I’m stressed I get mouth ulcers, more colds and my migraines can be worse.
5) What do you do to alleviate stress?
When I am stressed about work levels the only thing that really helps is to get my head down and get as much work as possible done. At work I would try and speak to my manager to agree priorities, but at times there was just a lot to be done and I had to deal with it. I used to find going for a run when I got home would clear my head and help me relax enough to go to bed, but with young children I find it hard to get out now. My partner is brilliant though and it normally helps to talk to him.
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?
The main cause of stress I have experienced has been work levels. My manager and peers acknowledged it, but it was something you had to accept with the job, particularly when I worked in the NHS. I’ve had good managers who have always taken the time to listen to me and bad ones who have added to my stress. I’m not sure the bad managers need more awareness; no amount of training would have made them a good manager.
7) Do you have any tips for anyone dealing with stress?
If you can tackle the stressor do so asap, putting it off only makes you feel worse for longer. If you can’t change what is making you stressed then you need to find a way to help you switch off and relax. Obviously exercise or a chat are a better option than chocolate or wine, but as long as you don’t become dependent on a drink you will be ok.
If you want to see more about stress awareness then please search ‘stress awareness’ to read all the posts throughout April.