Your Mental Health Matters
Published April 2021
April is Stress Awareness Month.
Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. A small amount of stress can be good, motivating you to perform well, but multiple challenges can push you beyond your ability to cope. On top of that, the stress and anxiety caused by living through a Global Pandemic is affecting everyone, not least the 1 in 6 couples experiencing issues when trying to conceive.
Studies have shown that going through this experience can cause insurmountable anxiety and emotional distress. This blog endeavours to support your emotional wellbeing and offer coping strategies, whether you are currently undergoing treatment or trying to start a family.
There’s so much going on in modern society today that we often take ourselves and our wellbeing for granted, but it’s important to take time out, to concentrate on your own wellbeing, not just as a prospective parent; but as an individual. You slow down, disassociate a little, relax and reinvigorate yourself. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
To monitor your stress, first, you need identify your triggers. Some stressors, such as job pressures or financial concerns, are easy to identify. Even essentially positive events, such as buying a house, or planning a wedding can be very stressful. Any change to your life and routine can cause stress. Once you've identified your stress triggers, think about strategies for dealing with them. You can either change your action or your reaction. For example, letting your mind wind down before bed or taking control of high demands at work. It’s okay to say ‘no’ a little more often.
How to Cope
Many people benefit from practices such as deep breathing, tai chi, yoga, meditation, or being in nature. Set aside time for yourself. Get a massage, soak in a bubble bath, dance in your kitchen listening to your favourite music, phone a friend or watch a comedy to generate those feel-good endorphins. Do what makes you feel good and you’ll feel a weight lifting from your shoulders.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you manage stress. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep can do wonders for your mind. So make a conscious effort to spend less time in front of a screen and more time focusing on your needs and relaxing. Even a 20 minute daily workout, a walk or quick jog will help you release tension and you’ll probably even sleep better!
Make those changes...you’ll thank your future self
Stressors won't disappear from your life completely so your stress management needs to be ongoing, but by paying attention to what causes your stress and practicing ways to relax, you’ll find what works best for you and you can counter some of the bad effects of stress and increase your ability to cope with these life challenges. Think of it as taking back control of your life by not letting your life control you.
The NHS have developed a quick and easy online assessment quiz that can help to establish your mental health status.
Please contact your GP for support or feel free to reach out to our multidisciplinary team which includes both male and female counsellors who have several years of experience in supporting individuals and couples.
If you’re really struggling, please speak to someone. You can call Samaritans free on 116 123 if you want to talk to someone now.