Wow! Can you believe it is November already?! It’s hard to believe that we are in the final stretch to the end of the year. These last few months have been very difficult for our business, and our personal lives. There have been moments of despair, fatigue, and even moments of saying “we quit”! Good thing moments don’t last forever. This month we are continuing to understand the stages of stress and how they affect us in every area of our lives. We aren’t stressed just because of one issue, but many. Part 3 of this article is going to address the Chronic stress of burnout.
Burnout is defined as a state of mind that comes with long-term, unresolved stress. In our second article I discussed having some unresolved issues; and here I am, a month later, still dealing with that issue. It is causing me some serious stress, anxiety, and insecurity in my abilities. At least my hair is not falling out. I have also noticed that some of the women I work with are experiencing some stress from work and home, and this has caused a slight change in their normally positive disposition. Because they have changed, due to what is currently occurring in their life, I can see my attitude has adjusted a bit in the wrong direction as well. We all are fighting to remain constant in who we are, and what we are attempting to do. This is not an easy task to accomplish when the pressure is still hanging around.
Chronic Stress is described as a significant change in a person’s level of stress, they may go from motivation to an incredibly frequent basis of stress and depression. A person who is experiencing chronic stress is dealing with a prolonged constant feeling of stress, which causes them to experience more intense symptoms than those we found happening in the second phase of the onset of stress. What causes the increase of stress? It can be the everyday demands and pressures of family and work life, or even traumatic situations. Like previously mentioned my fellow co-workers, and I have been dealing with continuous demands from work; (thanks, COVID,) and some stress from family. This stress has now elevated our signs and symptoms to Chronic Stress. Thankfully, we are taking the necessary steps to handle and overcome what we are having to deal with.
When chronic stress rears its ugly head, this is considered the danger zone, a zone where someone could get hurt. Common symptoms of this level of stress are anger or aggressive behavior, even a mild-mannered person under chronic stress can display these negative and frightening behaviors. Chronic exhaustion is another example of the third stage of stress, the ability to muster up any amount of energy to address the day becomes very daunting and almost impossible. Feeling a loss of control for a person, who seems to always have everything organized, and in the right place is definitely a sign that something is seriously wrong. The signs we have discussed are just a few of many, it seems as though the longer we allow stress to go unchecked, the longer the list becomes. Chronic Stress also brings with it some physiological symptoms, for instance, acne, depression, weight changes, and high blood pressure.
How do we deal with the chronic stress once we recognize the signs and symptoms? We create a strategic battle plan. We confront it head on with assistance; not by ourselves. It is clear that we have skipped the early warning signs of our stress levels and now we are dealing with a whole new level. Step one in confronting this wicked culprit is through treatment. Reaching out for help through professional programs can help alleviate the symptoms. Coping is the second step and another tool that can be explored; coping tools provide quick stress relief, giving you a moment to breathe and recover. Developing stress resilience through coping, will give you long-term healthy habits, and help you avoid staying in the downward spiral of chronic stress. Understanding the situations and pressures that are elevating your stress levels is very important. When you ignore the signs and symptoms, you are only creating a path of no return if they remain unaddressed. Next month we will see how chronic stress leads to our fourth stage of stress, Burnout.Remember, small steps lead to big results, and victory only comes through persistence and understanding.
Tammie S. Brown
Restoring Bodies Fitness & Nutrition Services