It was National Mental Health Awareness Week earlier this year, however it is always good to remind ourselves that we need more than a week to think about this topic. Research has shown 18 million people experience a mental health problem each year and stress plays a pivotal role in this. We now from these statistics being able to manage stress is key in preventing problems such as depression, anxiety and burnout.
Tips to manage stress:
- Reframe the problem– This involves viewing the stressor or problem in a positive or neutral way. If this is unrealistic then see it in a realistic and honest way. This helps us to step outside of the problem and see the situation for what it actually is and not in the emotion we sometimes get so wrapped up in. It offers an alternative view.
- Preparation– Robert Epstein dictates stress can be managed better if we prepare better. Make a list and take small actions daily to help clear the stressors. Lists can help you work through things much more effectively.
- Relaxation Techniques– Try progressive muscle relaxation exercises, deep breathing or guided imagery. These techniques will help you to take control of your breathing and give a sense of calmness.
I work in a health setting and supporting people with a new diagnosis is one of the most important facets of my job. A diagnosis in both adults and children can be a shocking and physically challenging experience. Everybody deals with a diagnosis in his or her own unique way. It is important to discuss this shock and the way your life will change needs to be recognized and spoken about, however difficult.
People naturally go through a period of adjustment, which takes time but is necessary for being able to get used to and adapt to a new way of life.
Some of the things I’ve picked up over the years are;
- Take your time to process the diagnosis in your own way, it is natural to cry, feel numb, scared and anxious. If you need help during this process, speak to someone close to you or a professional.
- If you know a child or someone else close to you who have had a new diagnosis, let them talk about it and let them know they are not alone.
- Try to vision a relationship with your diagnosis that is not destructive, if you can learn to live with it and make it a part of you. Then it may be less overwhelming to deal with. Some of the things you can think about are how you might integrate the treatment in your life; speak to employers and schools about attending medical appointments. Consider how it may impact your social and personal life so you can plan ahead.
- Ask your Doctor about support groups and speak to others in a similar situation, this may help.
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