by Dr Jillian Millar, Clinical Psychologist
Lifeline’s Stress Down Day is Friday 24th July, a dedicated day to have fun, stress less and feel good. The majority of us are living very fast paced lives, juggling increasing work hours with our busy family and social lives whilst trying to keep up to date with the responsibilities of everyday life (paying bills, keeping house, etc). The demands on our time and personal resources continue to increase and multi-tasking has become the expected norm. Unfortunately this intensifies the pressure and stress we must manage which can lead to physical and mental health problems. High levels of stress can cause issues with mood such as agitation, anger or irritability, sadness and even anxiety and depression. Stress is also associated with a lack of energy/fatigue, changes in appetite, concentration difficulties, aches and pains, disturbed sleep patterns and problems in our relationships. Physically, stress responses result in elevated blood pressure, heart rate and can lead to higher cholesterol. Intense or prolonged stress may even cause disruptions to our digestive system with diarrhoea, constipation, and exacerbation of Irritable Bowl Syndrome. Stress sends our body to go into the ‘Fight or Flight Survival Mode’ which amongst other things impedes our immune system’s functioning in order to divert energy to immediate or short term circumstances as opposed to longer term goals. This is why we tend to get sick during high stress periods. Thus it is vital for our health and wellbeing that we remember to manage our stress levels on a regular basis. In an attempt to highlight the importance of de-stressing Lifeline created Stress Down Day to both bring awareness and provide an opportunity to fundraise for their important work within our community. Consider whether your business, work place, or social circle might be interested in holding an event. Check out this link for some hilarious ideas such as wearing a onesie to work… http://stressdown2015.gofundraise.com.au/ On an individual level, consider what you might be able to do that could assist in your own stress management. Here is a brief list of things that will help reduce stress in your life:
- Spend time in nature – go for a walk or a picnic in a park, eat your lunch outside on work days.
- Listen to music – make time to listen to music and allow yourself to move to it/dance.
- Get a massage – book a relaxing massage even if it’s a 10 minute shoulder massage in a shopping centre.
- Stop and be present – Set aside 5 or 10 minutes to stop what you are doing and look around, run through each of your senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, feel) what is going on in that moment.
- Set limits on To Do Lists – decide on an achievable number of things to do then reward yourself with something you enjoy.
To read more about Dr Millar visit: www.psychologyconsultants.com.au