Stress: awareness and how to tackle it

02 - Jul - 2021

During the last year or so, most of us have been left feeling worried or agitated as a result of the pandemic. We have been forced to change our routines, work remotely, and communicate with those closest to us on a screen. We may have found ourselves isolated from our usual support network or under pressure to do large quantities of additional work in order to demonstrate that we are productive. This could have exacerbated stress in certain individuals. 

While you may be able to manage your own stress effectively, dealing with someone else's is a different story. Knowing how to identify spiralling stress levels in others, on the other hand, might help prevent things from getting worse. And that might be beneficial not just to your own well-being, but also to the other person's. 

Stress is necessary for survival, but too much of it can be harmful. Emotional stress can impair the immune system and lead to high blood pressure, tiredness, depression, anxiety, and even heart disease if it lasts for weeks or months. Too much epinephrine, in particular, can be detrimental to your heart.

Here are some of the most important things to look out for, as well as some practical solutions to the problem:

Behavioural messages 

Stress can have a big impact on how people feel and act, so keep an eye out for changes in other people's emotions and actions. 

  • You become stressed when you are around them. 
  • They become unreliable.
  • They appear to be more agitated or worried.
  • They moan about things out of their control.
  • They avoid doing obvious tasks.
  • They avoid contact with others.
  • They lose their cool more rapidly than they used to.
  • They feel annoyed or overwhelmed more frequently.
  • They have lost their sense of humour.
  • They are experiencing unusually low self-esteem.
  • They may have difficulty concentrating or making judgments.
  • They may always try to avoid uncomfortable circumstances.

Physical messages 

Stress causes the human body to react in a variety of physical ways, some of which are difficult to see in others. However, some may be simple to see, such as:

  • Sweating more than usual.
  • Smoking and/or drinking excessively.
  • Eating badly or having no appetite. 
  • Lack of energy or more energy.
  • The person might suffer from headaches, nausea or dizziness. 

Emotional messages 

It’s important to learn language used by those that might be stressed. Some examples of this include:

  • “I’m okay”
  • “I’m just feeling a bit tired”

So how can you help?

Assist them in recognising that there is an issue.

Reach out to someone if you observe changes in their behaviour that indicate they're stressed. Inform them that you've observed they don't appear their usual self. Ask them if they are okay and be prepared to ask them more than once. 

Listen to them 

One of the finest things you can do to help someone who is overwhelmed is to give them your time and full attention.

When someone doesn’t want to talk 

Tell them that you have understood they don’t want to speak but ask them the question “what would be wrong talking to me about this?”.

Provide reassurance

Reminding and assuring someone that this won't endure forever and that things will get better would assist them in keeping things in perspective.

Assist them in identifying their triggers

You could also be able to assist someone in identifying situations and activities that make them feel less anxious and more in command. For instance, going for a walk outside, taking a relaxing bath, or reading a book.

Provide practical support 

If someone is concerned about anything particular, such as money worries, health,  job loss, or relationship issues, you might be able to assist them discover practical answers that will help them feel better.

Encourage them to seek expert assistance.

If their stress and worry are interfering with their daily lives, it may be time to seek professional assistance. Encourage them to call their primary care physician or CABA to learn more about our services. 

Be prepared to be there for them when they need you 

Tell them that you’re there for them whenever they are ready for help