Stress unrecognized is often referred to as the silent killer. It is the No. 1 variable that affects emotional, mental and physical health. Experiencing the effects of stress and taking ownership over the feelings associated with stress can offer peace in the midst of the stressful situation rather than the stressful situation slowly taking pieces of happiness, appetite or the many other facets of personal health.
A proactive approach to facing challenges each day builds a stronger self in the face of life’s difficult circumstances.
Focusing on strengths and utilizing the supports in the community offers a chance for individual and family growth by:
• Acknowledging feelings and talking them out.
Feelings serve as a barometer to measure internal pressure. Family, friends and neighbors can be helpful listeners and may share some of the same worries. Participating in church or spiritual renewal activities can also be sources of comfort and assistance in difficult times.
• Paying attention to health, nutritious diet and adequate sleep is important.
Engaging in recreation or a favorite hobby, getting away for a few hours with close friends, reading a good book, volunteering to help others, and finding time to laugh can give the mind and body respite from a constant relationship with stress and worry.
• Nurturing personal relationships should be a priority.
Couples should make time to be alone, to talk and to have fun. Families should re-establish important rituals such as mealtimes and holiday celebrations.
Listening to and reassuring children who may need additional support is significant in dealing with the stressful situation and critical for continued healthy development.
The good news is anyone can bounce back with time and return to what is normal.
Keep in mind, it may be a ‘new normal’, but it will be a normal that serves a personal well-being.
By Andrea Nisley, UNL Extension Educator, Dawson County