Oh yeah, it’s that time of the year that we all look forward to. The holiday, the merry, the hustle and bustle almost twice our normal daily routine, Gifts flying around, traffic everywhere, bank accounts depleting steadily, all in the bid to ensure all things are in place for a very merry celebration. Meeting up with the societal expectations, not disappointing the children or our spouses. The worry about how to share resources appropriately… the lists can go on and on. Stress just seems inevitable on all strata.

Now, let us talk about stress. Stress is a normal response to situational pressures or demands, especially if they are perceived as threatening or dangerous. Stress is the result of brain chemicals, called hormones, surging through the body. These hormones make people sweat, breathe quicker, tense their muscles and prepare to take action. When this happens, there is an alarm system within us which prompts something commonly called the fight-flight-freeze response, this becomes activated to protect us. In daily life, we often use the term “stress” to describe negative situations. This leads many people to believe that all stresses are bad for you, which is not true. A little bit of stress is inevitable in our day to day lives. Stress can be positive or negative i.e. eustress or distress. Examples of positive stress are those that motivates, starting energy, perceived as within our coping abilities, feels exciting just like the hustle and bustle in preparation for the festivities and also improves performance as we want to hit that target at work before the close of the year and also earn that juicy bonus. In contrast, Negative stress i.e. Distress has the following characteristics; causes anxiety or concern; can be draining on short- or long-term; Is perceived as beyond our coping abilities; often unpleasant; decreases performance; leads to mental and physical difficulties.

Stress often relates to events and pressures of the present and the near future – missing deadlines at work or forgetting an important appointment. A little of this type of stress can be helpful, motivating to getting things done.  Over time, these little stresses can all add up, leading to Chronic stress, which is a prolonged and constant feeling of stress that can negatively affect your health if it goes untreated. It can be caused by the everyday pressures of family and work or by traumatic situations. It takes a huge toll on our daily lives both physically and mentally. The indicators of Chronic stress are but not limited to;

Aches and pains; Decreased energy; Difficulty sleeping; Disorganized thinking and trouble concentrating; Fatigue; Feeling a loss of control; Feelings of helplessness; Frequent illnesses and infections; Gastrointestinal complaints; Loss of sex drive; High blood pressure; Irritability; Muscle tension; Nervousness and anxiety; Upset stomach; Moodiness; Low morale; Feeling depressed; Feeling unhappy or guilty; Feeling agitated or unable to relax; Decline in performance and productivity.

Here we are:

It’s been a long year of hard work and even extra hard work with the whole pandemic and recovery from its ruins. It is not unlikely that a lot of us had been stretched beyond our limits and it may just be difficult to relax and enjoy the season especially if a second corona virus wave is predicted everywhere! Then the anxiety of what comes next is deeply rooted in our hearts. However, while it may seem that there is nothing you can do about stress at home, at work or life generally, there are ways to relieve and gain control

The first step is to ascertain that it is stress that you are going through, then you can apply the following methods by yourself or with the help of your therapist;

1) Identify the source(s) of stress in your life and eliminate the unnecessary ones

* Learn how to say no to tasks that can be avoided or get them done by someone else

* Re-analyze your schedule and trim it down to absolutely necessary

* Mark out different time for each activity. Drop every unnecessary task.

* Mark out time to spend on pleasure activities.

2) Avoid people and situations which seem to stress you out unnecessarily. Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, be more assertive and communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way.

3) Adjust your standards. Don’t keep us with the Joneses. Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with your good enough. It is ok to be yourself (success or failure).

4) Incorporate regular exercise into your schedule and maintain a healthy diet.

5) Connect with significant people in your life. Spend time with a friend or family member who will listen to you. It is a natural way to calm you and lower your stress. Relax.

6) When the unending responsibilities come on: Try not to overcommit yourself; Share the responsibility; Count to 10 before you respond; Walk away from a heated situation; and distract yourself with music, religious messages or podcasts.

7) Lastly, you can talk to your Therapist. Putting the above mentioned tips into place by oneself may prove difficult. Therefore, you can speak to your therapist about this problem. As your therapist, we can guide you toward other approaches that might be helpful.

Your mental health is important and you can use this holiday to fix every hitch so as to launch into the new year stronger and better prepared. At DIAMONDMOOR we care and we are ready to offer help in seeing your mental health well managed and handled professionally at this period, please contact us, info@diamondmoor.com.ng, 081 2827 6962, +234 2291 4084. 

Season’s Greetings!!!