Learning lessons on National Stress Awareness Day

As we mark National Stress Awareness Day on Nov. 1, it’s important to recognize that not all stress is bad.

Without stress, we would learn nothing new and never challenge ourselves. However, some stress is very unhealthy and can lead to serious physical, emotional and mental problems.

Sometimes we are so busy with our activities that we don’t take time to assess how we are handling things. Some signs that your body and mind are undergoing unhealthy stress include:

· Physical symptoms such as muscle tension and pain; insomnia; increased heart rate and palpitations; stomachaches and other digestive issues; rapid breathing or shortness of breath

· Emotional symptoms such as excessive worry; irritability; depression; restlessness; feeling overwhelmed or decreased self-worth; indecisiveness

· Cognitive symptoms such as negative self-talk; racing thoughts; panicky thinking; inability to concentrate; memory problems

At Flatrock, we recognize that many of our care home residents will have a difficult time in stressful situations. Our team works individually and patiently with our residents to make sure they are not overly stressed and are living as healthy a lifestyle as possible and teach them stress management techniques, including use of our sensory rooms.

Unhealthy stress can result in relationship and behavioral problems including social withdrawal, increased use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco, and reduced empathy and patience with others. If left unrecognized, it can lead to chronic health conditions including heart disease and diabetes.

It's important to be aware of the signs of unhealthy stress and manage them. Relaxation techniques, regular exercise, and seeking support from friends and family can help. If stress levels are very high, seeking professional help or counseling can assist you in developing healthy strategies to cope.