STRESS self help tips no 6

STRESS.pngAre you like the Stone, the Sea or the Sand?

A stone is less able to move forward, rigid in thinking and can get stuck. Stress can be as heavy as a boulder and we can struggle to carry its constant burden unless we seek support. Next time you feel stress overwhelming you imagine you are carrying a huge boulder with you everywhere you go and recognize that you need help and seek support to carry it and then let it go. I was a stubborn stone holder until I asked for appropriate support. Are you a stubborn stone holder?

The sea is fluid, just like waves ebb and flow so does stress, throughout our lives stress comes and goes, sometimes fleeting and manageable but can also affect us for many weeks or long term, impacting on our overall well being and that is when we need to recognize it is time for us to seek support. Why weather the constants storms and crashing waves when we can steer ourselves to calmer waters and head to the safety of a calm and stress free shore? Are you as fluid as the sea?

Have you ever written in the sand or made a sandcastle and then the waves come and wash it away? We need to find a way to write our worries and stresses in the sand and let the waves come and go because holding onto stress can be harmful to our psychological and physical well being if we don’t acknowledge it, seek support and find ways to cope. Are you like sand?

Stress is a symptom of our hectic, busy lives and in the current economic climate and job shortage it is often understandable too but don’t just shrug your shoulders and let it continue because stress may be a part of life on occasion but it should never become a constant of life. There is a difference between manageable stress and overwhelm. Our relationships can also cause stress, pressure at work, money worries, parenthood and adult responsibility or leaving school, taking exams or heading off to university can all take their toll. It is so important to face up to our stress triggers and act on them, find ways to alleviate or manage our day to day stress levels or if they seem to get out of hand or continue for a while we need to recognize that we need to seek support.

What are your stress triggers? (eg money worries) Be honest  and remember taking self responsibility is the key to self help and stress management

Where can I get support or help? (eg visit Citizens Advice Bureau or similar debt advice or support service) Find out what services are available in your area, go to the library, Google it, ask friends and family

Check out your emotional and physical health, we can become ill through stress but also stress can be a symptom so get checked to alleviate any worries

Advocacy services or your union at work can often support you with work related issues.

Relationship issues can normally be sorted by communicating, however keep yourself safe if in a volatile or abusive relationship and if needs be seek appropriate support from domestic abuse services or report to the police. The reality is some relationships break apart, in fact hanging onto an unhappy relationship can cause more stress than ending it – if its worth saving seek mediation services or couples counselling but this takes the two of you trying to make it work.

Telephone helplines can be convenient but may be costly so check out if appropriate eg some debt helplines or support services have cheap rate calls whilst others charge premium rates

Schools, colleges and Universities have pastoral or learning support services, check these out

Create a Stress checklist for yourself of helpful people or support services, keep it handy and remember if its causing you stress its worth seeking help rather than deal with it alone.

These are just a few examples of ways in which to alleviate stress or lessen worry. If worry continues or you are still finding it overwhelming seek advice, support or counselling. You owe it to yourself to keep yourself well and stress and worry can contribute significantly upon our health so please monitor stress levels as suggested in Stress Tip no 1.

I hope this blog post will be helpful to you in getting you to regularly check your stress levels and create your own stress checklist of helpful people or support services to prevent overwhelm and lessen the impact of stress upon your psychological and/or physical wellbeing.
Keep shining
evie x
 
Disclaimer
All content provided on this “evolutionofevie” blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog advises that appropriate medical or psychological support be sought as and when needed. 

 

 

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Stress – self help tips n0 5

stress-part-5

STOP

Stop – Think – Options – Plan

Stress is a part of life, not always easy to accept but that struggle to pay the bills at the end of the month, the fear of losing our job, never finding work again or even just trying to cope being a single parent etc all weighs us down and can create overwhelm. So be aware and look at where your stress is coming from and how it affects you day to day?. Find the patterns to help you feel and deal. If it is long term stress seek help from your GP. Why suffer when help is out there. Seek support from your doctor, local support groups, a therapist or counsellor or a friend.

 

Remember to STOP.

Stop – stop for a minute and check the symptoms and signs list in part 1 of this series. It is important to keep a check on the impact of stress, depression, anxiety etc.

Think –  Think about ways to alleviate all your concerns and worries. Make a list. What would you advise a friend to do (we are so often better at supporting or advising others than ourselves – practice self care too) Do you need to see a doctor or a therapist or look around for helpful support groups in your area?

Options – look at the benefits and be positive about them – you have choices. You can choose to change or continue, often to change can be daunting but how can continuing to live with stress, anxiety, depression and worry unsupported help you? – worth a try because you are worth it – it is not selfish it is self love and self care.

Plan – do you need to plan some time off work? or maybe a trip away may do you good. Plan a meet up with friends or family. Pamper your self, get a haircut (surprising how good that can make you feel), treating yourself extra kindly can get you through some challenging times and can lift your spirits and help you cope. You know yourself better than anyone – what will work for you?

Stress can overwhelm you if you let it – don’t let it.

These are just a few examples of ways in which to alleviate stress or lessen worry. If worry continues or you are still finding it overwhelming seek advice, support or counselling. You owe it to yourself to keep yourself well and stress and worry can contribute significantly upon our health so please monitor stress levels as suggested in Stress Tip no 1.

I hope this blog post will be helpful to you in getting you to regularly STOP – to Think, look at Options and Plan ways in which you can help yourself and alleviate stress.
Keep shining
evie x
Disclaimer
All content provided on this “evolutionofevie” blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog advises that appropriate medical or psychological support be sought as and when needed.  

 

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Stress – self help tips no 4 – Energy, Exercise and Empowerment

stresstipsno4Stress can be manageable or it can get out of control – it is a part of life but it must be balanced eg the role of a new mother and returning to work can be stressful or going back to University or college as a mature student, moving home, leaving a relationship, day to day struggles of managing our money, stress happens. We can all relate to some stress and so it is important to keep a check on our stress levels and ask for help if needed or see our doctor if we feel it is getting out of control.

Energy – when overwhelmed our energy can be affected, not just our outer energy but our internal energy leading to lack of motivation, lack or increase of appetite, lethargy, depression and anxiety. Our energy well-being is important to monitor as energy keeps us going and helps us get stuff done. Energy levels can be depleted by people too, do you say YES to often? monitor your boundaries and don’t be afraid to say No! Illnesses can lessen our energy too so get checked out also watch what you eat especially if you are prone to sugar dips – eat more healthily and our energy levels increase (I am learning this myself).

Exercise – exercise has been proven to help improve physical and mental well-being so never underestimate the power of walking in nature, I always feel better after a walk too and you don’t have to join an expensive gym to reap the benefits but if that is what you enjoy – go for it. Exercise can alleviate stress, anxiety and depression, can lesson memory decline, increase creativity and yoga has proven to switch on the ‘relaxation response’ in your brain. Before exercising check with your doctor but also start slowly and steadily – we are not all Mo Farrah so maybe a marathon is something to build towards but take it easy don’t injure yourself : )

Empowerment – Empowerment is something that powers and empowers YOU so it is different for everyone. Figure out what would empower you? Notice what areas of your life get you stressed, angry or disappointed? When do you say ‘but that’s unfair’. By stepping into our personal power we gain confidence, take back control and deal better with stress, depression, anxiety and increase our overall well-being.  A definition of empowerment from the Oxford Dictionary is  ‘Make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights’.  Be Empowerment in Action.

These are just a few examples of ways in which to alleviate stress or lessen worry. If worry continues or you are still finding it overwhelming seek advice, support or counselling. You owe it to yourself to keep yourself well and stress and worry can contribute significantly upon our health so please monitor stress levels as suggested in Stress Tip no 1.

I hope this blog post will be helpful to you in getting you to regularly Relax and Reflect and Recognise Overwhelm.
Keep shining
evie x
Disclaimer
All content provided on this “evolutionofevie” blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog advises that appropriate medical or psychological support be sought as and when needed.  

 

 

 

 

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Self Help Stress Tips no 3 – The 3 R’s Recognition, Relaxation and Reflection

stressno3Lets look at the 3 R’s – Recognition, Relaxation and Reflection

We so often get stressed and overwhelmed yet push ourselves further without a break, which can lead to poor health and mental exhaustion.

It is important to recognize the following signs of overwhelm.

O – overdoing anything – work, gym, worry, volunteering, saying ‘Yes’ to any requests made, not resting etc

V – Vacations/Holidays, chances to relax put on hold or cancelled

E – Exhaustion, through over stretching yourself or lack of sleep

R – Reaching out for help is seen as a weakness

– Working long hours without rest, still working when others have gone home

H – Health issues are ignored

– Eating is out of control or restricted

– Leisure time is getting less and less

M – Moody

Recognition of overwhelm is so important for both physical and psychological wellbeing.

Relaxation 

I find it hard to relax and switch off, it takes practice so it is  important to find ways to relax and unwind regularly.

My ways to relax include

  • listening to music
  • meditation
  • doing something creative
  • watching a movie or tv
  • a bubble bath

add at least 3 ideas of your own here : –

1)……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2)……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

3)……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Relaxing after work, or on your days off can help alleviate stress, keep you motivated and protect you from overwhelm.

Reflection 

sometimes our stress, worry and overwhelm can come from not letting go of day to day niggles and worries at work or within our relationships, making us moody, angry or frustrated, which can cause us to over analyse and over think which only makes our stress, worry etc seem bigger than it actually is causing even more stress and worry.

Before going to sleep, take a deep breath and reflect upon the day but not dwell – the secret here is not to overwhelm yourself, or focus too much upon the negative but to ‘count your blessings and learn life lessons’ and free your mind from worry so you can ‘let go’ of today -aiding sleep, lessening anxiety and allowing you to relax and wake up refreshed ready to face tomorrow.

These are just a few examples of ways in which to alleviate stress or lessen worry. If worry continues or you are still finding it overwhelming seek advice, support or counselling. You owe it to yourself to keep yourself well and stress and worry can contribute significantly upon our health so please monitor stress levels as suggested in Stress Tip no 1.

I hope this blog post will be helpful to you in getting you to regularly Relax and Reflect and Recognise Overwhelm.
Keep shining
evie x
Disclaimer
All content provided on this “evolutionofevie” blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog advises that appropriate medical or psychological support be sought as and when needed.  

 

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Self help Stress Tip no 2

STRESS (2)

Self help Stress Tip no 2 by evie angel

Time and Thought Management

So you are getting stressed?

It happens to us all however there is a healthy level of stress and an unhealthy level. But you can find balance by doing an audit of thinking and time management. Let me explain.

Take a breath and think for a moment. Allow yourself to focus on what it causing you to be stressed/worried and answer the following questions

Where is this stress/worry coming from?

Is it a health related worry?

Is it a job related or relationship worry?

Is it generalized and anything or everything can cause worry/stress?

Do you feel overwhelmed and that there are not enough hours in the day?

What thoughts and emotions is your stress/worry built around?

Through understanding stress and worry you are better able to cope with stress. Self knowledge really is power and by learning how we think, deal and behave, due to stress can help us build up resilience and coping strategies. It is important to also remember that we are all unique what may be trivial to someone may in fact be overwhelming for someone else and it is important that we know ourselves, our triggers and levels. We all react to stress in similar ways but our level or limit to what we can deal with is different due to a number of factors eg over stimulus of stress through life history can cause our limits to get bigger or smaller and our coping strategies are usually built up over time so if a shocking unexpected stress happens and we have experienced little stress beforehand eg a loss of job happens, we can be ill prepared and the stress will hit extra hard.

Paul McKenna in his book ‘Control Stress’ talks about positively worrying, this helps us understand that worry/stress are normal but can prove to be negative if allowed to fester or get out of control. That is the difference between healthy and unhealthy stress.

Stress can also be caused by our thoughts and perceptual view of things rather than the reality of things. We can build stress to be a mountain when in fact it is a manageable molehill. Do you build your stress up too much or do you keep it in perspective?

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems”
― Epictetus

So do a thought audit…what thoughts are helpers? what thoughts hinder or block you? what views stall you, motivate you, keep you focused or send you off balance?

In relationships sometimes what worries you have are shared by your partner too so communicate communicate, communicate. A worry shared, as they say is a worry halved.

In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy we look at the thoughts behind our behaviour because stuck or irrational thinking styles can affect our patterns of behaviour most often in negative ways.

So Catch your thoughts, Check them and Change them (Windy Dryden) and do a Thought Audit.

*Important thing is don’t stress yourself out, take back control of your worries and stress, do something about them or seek support.

**If a health worry please seek medical advice and speak to your doctor.

Time Management

Feeling overwhelmed?

Too many ‘To Do’s’ and not enough hours in the day?

Do a Time management Audit.

CHUNK your ‘to dos’ into bite size manageable chunks of time.

For example – divide your working hour days up into smaller chunks of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes etc – put a task in each chunk but be realistic eg don’t expect to do a 3 hour piece of work in 15 minutes divide the task up into manageable bite sized chunks instead. It takes practice so give it time : )

Divide tasks into priority of need.

For example –

Immediate priority tasks to be done first.

Less important tasks to be done by tomorrow, within 3 days, by the end of week, end of month etc. Again be realistic, manage tasks correctly to suit need and importance.

These are just a few examples of ways in which to alleviate or lessen worry. If worry continues or you are still finding it overwhelming seek advice, support or counselling. You owe it to yourself to keep yourself well and stress and worry can contribute significantly upon our health so please monitor stress levels as suggested in Stress Tip no 1.

I hope this blog post will be helpful to you in getting you to do regular Time Management and Thought Audits.
Keep shining
evie x
Disclaimer
All content provided on this “evolutionofevie” blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog advises that appropriate medical or psychological support be sought as and when needed.  

Recommended reading

Control Stress by Paul McKenna Bantam Press 2009

Cognitive Behavioural Counselling in Action Third Edition (Counselling in Action series) by Peter Trower, Jason Jones and Windy Dryden – Sage Publishing 20013

 

 

 

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Self Help Stress tip number 1

stressposter1
Symptom monitoring
Life events cause stress – there is no need to quote statistics to back this statement up because at some time in life we have all felt stressed at some time, this is a normal reaction. As a qualified counsellor I have over many years of client contact advised the following self help tips to alleviate even the most overwhelming stress:
Symptoms
Symptoms of stress are emotional, physical, behavioural, mental and health related. Stress can affect us in many ways and the people closest to us. Some examples of how stress may affect us are listed below. Recognising the signs and symptoms of stress is an important first step in dealing with it.
Self Help tip – Please read through the following list and make a note of all that you feel apply to you at this current time. By being more self aware of how you react to stress you can alleviate  or flag some of the stress triggers, within your relationship or work for example, over time. By monitoring the increase or reduction of your symptoms you can take better care of you and lessen stress impact through understanding how you deal with stress and how it affects you in the following 5 key areas.
Emotional
The emotional symptoms may include:
Anxiety
nervousness
Worry
Depression
Anger
irritability
Guilt
moodiness
A loss of enjoyment in life, leisure activities etc
loneliness
Feeling tearful
Loss of humour
Lack of confidence
Isolation
Dissatisfaction with your job
Physical 
The physical symptoms may include:
Feeling restless
Feeling uptight
Feeling jumpy
High blood pressure
Palpitations
Muscle tension in neck, shoulders and back
Headaches/Migraines
Poor sleep
Fatigue
A lack of energy
Pain
Dry mouth
Weakness
Dizziness
trembling
Grinding of teeth
A frequent need to pass water
Diarrhoea and constipation
butterflies in the stomach
A loss or increase in appetitie
Ringing in the ears
Cramp
Behavioural
The behavioural symptoms may include:
Impatience
Impulsiveness
Hyperactivity
Short temper
Aggressiveness
Becoming accident-prone
Avoiding difficult situations/places or people
An increase in smoking
Theuse of prescribed drugs
The use of illegal drugs
Alcohol abuse
Absenteeism
Poor work performance
Poor concentration or focus
Loss of sex drive
Being uncooperative
Overworking
Compulsions and obsessions
Mental
The mental symptoms may include:
Frequent lapses in memory
Constant self criticism or negative thinking
An inability to make decisions
difficulty getting things done
An increase in susceptability to criticism/feedback
Distorted ideas/thinking
Very rigid attitudes
Difficulty concentrating
Health
*Stress is often associated with an increase in physical health problems if at all worried consult a medical professional.
The health symptoms may include:
High Blood pressure
A higher than usual susceptibility to colds and flu
Migraines
Irritable bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Ulcers
Stomach disorders
Heart attacks
Angina
Strokes
Asthma
Skin rashes
*Important* – If you are experiencing any of the following, for your own peace of mind please consider seeing your doctor:
Depression
Loss of appetite
weight loss
Feel that life is not worth living
Feel overwhelmed with anxiety
Loss of energy
Heart palpitations
Stomach pains 
Blurred vision
This blog post outlines symptoms of stress and advises that appropriate intervention support should be sought for long term depression, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, burnout and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other ongoing long term mental health conditions.
I hope this blog post will be helpful to you in watching out for and monitoring symptoms of stress.
Keep shining
evie x
Disclaimer
All content provided on this “evolution of evie” blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog advises that appropriate medical or psychological support be sought as and when needed.  

 

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We all deserve a happy ending

We all deserve a happy ending – evie angel : ) http://ow.ly/i/f3YnQ

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Dream Big – evie angel : ) @evieangeluk

Dream Big – evie angel : ) @evieangeluk http://ow.ly/i/dZQOD

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Don’t Believe Me Just Watch

Don’t Believe Me Just Watch – Mark Ronson ‘ Uptown Funk’ lyrics – evie angel @evieangeluk http://ow.ly/i/dNEmJ

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Tea is my Therapy

I am still awake at almost 1am. I couldn’t sleep so instead I checked my Twitter @evieangeluk, posted on my Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/InnerBlissIsLikeAKiss then made myself a cup of tea.

My mind isn’t focusing on relaxing, resting, readying myself for a busy day ahead tomorrow instead it is focusing on all the things I coulda, shoulda, oughta be doing.

STOP!

CEASE!

DESIST!

So how can I change my FOCUS?

F – Forget the coulda, shoulda, oughtas

O – Only focus on relaxing and resting

C – Cut down on social media before bed-

U – Underline yesterday, its gone, nothing more can be done

S –  Set my alarm, keep to my plans, look forward to tomorrow and embrace its challenges and set small achievable goals

Ahhhh now that feels better, I finished my cuppa, focused upon its warmth and its taste and filtered my thoughts so that I became mindfully aware of each sip, quieted my mind, focused all my attention on my breathing, took another sip. Gave myself permission to solely focus upon this moment, this sip, this feeling of relaxation. My attention focused upon rest.

It may take more practice but this is a small victory for me.

Tonight my over worrying, over thinking, over analytical brain didn’t win and all it took was a mindful cup of tea. – evie angel x

tea is my therapy

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