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Over the last few weeks I’ve felt very stressed. I’ve experienced a feeling of overload as a result of external pressures—that beyond my control. I felt exhausted. I felt like I had very little energy. I took longer to do things. I felt emotional.
I know this feeling isn’t dissimilar to what many of you are feeling at the moment. You probably have a raft of pressures coming at you—assignment deadlines, financial pressures, physical sickness, etc.
The other day I read an article about someone who’d experienced concussion due to a skiing accident, which happened to occur after a year of extreme workplace stress. She said the nature of her concussion and her stress were very similar. Both created exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, etc. Both resulted in chemical changes in the brain which made it harder for her brain to get from A to B. Both stimulated the ‘fight or flight’ response.
This has made me realise that we often treat physical and mental health very differently. When you’re physically sick (or have concussion!) it is acceptable to take it slowly and take some time for yourself. When you’re mentally sick there doesn’t seem to be the same level of acceptability.
We need to change the way we think about stress. Be supportive and considerate when someone says they’re stressed. You often don’t have control over external pressures, but you do have control over how you deal with it.
Acknowledging that I was stressed, I told myself that it’s alright if I take a little longer to do things than usual and that sleep is good. I told myself that it’s best to rely on to-do lists as my brain probably can’t retain as much information as usual.
It’s time we change the way we think about stress. It’s time we looked after ourselves and others, <3.