Everything from traffic to planning that perfect holiday event for family and friends can set it off.
It can manifest itself in many different ways affecting the health and behaviour of yourself and those around you. It can be anything from garden-variety items like gripping the steering wheel harder on your busy commute to grumbling about the news of the day.
At the far end of the spectrum, stress can lead to serious conditions like depression, eating disorders, spousal/family abuse and suicide.
Most recently, the light has been shining on domestic/family abuse.
An acute downturn in Alberta’s economic activity, most noticeably in the energy sector, has resulted in an increasing amount of stress rippling through Alberta households as people grapple with unstable work situations and uncertain economic futures. The stress of uncertainty is having a profound and deleterious effect on Alberta families at the moment. In Calgary alone, the police service is reporting a 16-per-cent jump in domestic-conflict calls this year compared to 2014.
So how do you cope? What can you do to combat stress and the negative behaviours it creates?
There isn’t a single, simple answer to these questions as stress and its effects are unique to each of us. But a quick troll of the Internet provides a myriad of coping strategies.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (cmha.ca) has a list of suggestions:
– Identify the problem, whether it’s school, relationships, money, work or something else.
– Solve problems as they arise. Don’t let them fester. Even an imperfect solution is better than no solution at all.
– Talk about your situation. Your friends, family, community and family doctor can help.
– Shorten that “to-do” list. Simplify your life. Stress levels can increase when too much is going on. Learning to say no is a real skill that takes practice. Try to make your to-do list more manageable.
– Get active. Physical activity can be a great way to reduce stress and improve your mood. Activity could be anything from taking up a new sport to walking. The most important part is that it gets you moving and you enjoy it; it shouldn’t feel like a chore.
Closer to home, The Western Rocky View Family and Community Resource Centre, partnered with Cochrane Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), provides local and regional resource information, referrals and in-home support services to families and individuals within Rocky View County. As detailed in Eagle reporter Jenna Dulewich’s two-part series on family relationships (Nov. 12, page 19; Nov. 19, page 6 in printed and online editions), Cochrane offers a comprehensive support network to help combat stress and the behaviours/health issues spinning from it.
If you are under stress, are suffering because of someone else’s stress manifesting itself in challenging behaviours, or know someone you feel needs or could benefit from help for stress, take action.
Talk to a friend. Tell a family member. Seek support.
Call the resource centre/FCSS at 403-851-2259 or visit the website at cochrane.ca/163/Resource-Centre. Or visit the centre at 209 Second Ave. W in town.
Life can be and, at times, is supposed to be stressful. But it shouldn’t be running and/or ruining your life and the lives of those around you. The most stress-relieving, empowering thing you can do is identify that your stress level is unhealthy and seek support to combat it.
Your life, and the lives of those around you, are too important to let the effects of unhealthy stress levels dictate your life.