So, this month is Stress Awareness Month, it is something that affects all of us and we all know that a little bit of stress is good, but prolonged stress can cause bad habits, weaken our immune system making us more prone to infections and if not addressed can lead to heart problems, mental illness and cancer. To me this is quite frightening and I am conscious we live in a highly pressured world where everyone wants to get hold of us 24/7 making it harder to switch off from work, juggle home life and make time for ourselves.
Stress has affected me quite significantly during my career, in nursing the demands and pressures to meet targets, manage child and family expectations whilst also trying to sneak in a quick drink or toilet break on a long 12 hour shift was exhausting! Work load pressures are hard at times to juggle, sometimes colleagues elevate your stress by offloading to you and this can extend to friends and family. I am not saying that it is a bad thing we all need to off load and share but it is the balance and if you are the one everyone always goes to as a sounding board of advice and wisdom then it can take its toll.
I have a few times in my career hit a burn out state, where I just want to hide and cannot face the world, I am sure I am not alone as stress affects us all in our lifetimes. Recent statistics have highlighted that 74% of adults in the UK have felt so stressed at some point in the last year that they have felt overwhelmed and unable to cope. This is a frightening percentage and it makes you wonder what are we doing about it – how does stress affect you? How do you manage stress in your own life?
Well for me, my stress has been elevated in recent years and in particular due to my endometriosis and pre-menstrual syndrome. My hormones have easily flipped out of control and I can feel angry for no reason at all – this has been really difficult to manage but my doctors said one of the best ways to help ease the pressure is to make time for myself every day. So, I do, no matter how small because I matter, I am a busy working Mummy and I want to be the best possible version of myself not just for me but for my children and husband too. One of my particular bad habits caused by stress and hormones over the years is emotional eating and just hoovering up bits of food here and there and before I know it boom, I have consumed a ridiculous number of calories.
At the start of this year, I made a promise to myself, to look after me, make time for me and to focus on weight management and fitness. I have been chipping away and I am now seeing the results – two major things have helped me change. Firstly, personal training with the amazing Zoe McAndrew of Fuelpotential – she is just the most brilliant PT, always on hand for support but pushing me in the right direction for results I want and need. Secondly, I have embraced hypnotherapy with the truly brilliant George Longland of Wellbeing Hypnotherapy, this incredible lady has helped me to retrain my subconscious to manage my hormones and at times overwhelming emotions to focus addressing bad eating habits, lifting my self-esteem and giving me confidence to believe in myself. I am thankful to both of these women and proud of myself for taking steps to alleviate stress to shake off the worry and truly start living.
It is amazing if we give ourselves the space how much more we have to grow and give. Love yourself, believe in yourself but most importantly do not take yourself for granted – you are worthy of giving yourself space and time to breathe.