It’s been a while since we last talked, I suppose the last few months have seemed like a bit of a whirlwind.
If you are anything like me recently you may have felt the stress and pressure of the sudden demand that we all return to a pre pandemic normality. It feels like life has instantly gone from 0 -100 mph, which has been hugely overwhelming and for some may even feel more difficult than going into the pandemic lockdown.
Whilst lockdown was an imposed situation for most and came with its own challenges. It did give us the opportunity to just stop and take a breath. It gave us time to reconnect with ourselves and our families. We started enjoying exercise, in whatever form that took. We rediscovered old hobbies or interests and discovered new things to help us relax and destress. It felt like we had rediscovered community again, we were all in it together. Clapping for the NHS, checking on our neighbours, doing shopping for those that weren’t able and generally just supporting each other as equal human beings. And now, once again, it has been imposed on us that this should all stop. We now have to go out to work, be on time, and work as hard as we can. We don’t have time to care for anyone else or even ourselves anymore because it’s expected that we just switch back to our old way of living and forget the lessons we learnt in the last two years.
Personally, I think the government have missed a trick in being able to help everyone address the, all important, work/life balance that would benefit people’s mental health and wellbeing. But it's done now, and we must deal with the pressure that comes with it. Then, alongside all of this, we also have to cope with the other uncertainties of life right now, like raising fuel costs, in fact raising costs of everything, except wages. War!..... Who wouldn’t be stressed?
We all experience stress at one time or another, mostly we know how to cope with it or change the situation to remove the stress, like traffic, being late, deadlines at work or the kids misbehaving in the supermarket. Stress is natural and can be a good thing in certain situations but its when our stress doesn’t ease or continues to increase that can cause us difficulties. If left unchecked, stress can cause anxiety, irritability and could lead to depression. It can also affect our physical health through tiredness, headaches, racing heartbeat and muscle tension.
So, what do we do if we are experiencing stress? Firstly, don’t struggle alone, talk to someone, a friend, family member. You’ll probably be surprised how others are feeling it too. But, if this isn’t an option for you, there are other places to find support, online services, your GP or pharmacist and other agencies that offer free activities and drop-in services. Check out your local council website to see what services are being run in your area or if you are local to us, you can have a look at Dartford Borough Councils health and wellness page, in association with Kent county councils One you Kent service, here.
For more information and suggestions on Stress and how to manage it, we have produced an information leaflet with further tips and advice.
On a final note, the best advice that I can personally give you is, Self Care! Look after yourself, if you need to take time out, do it. If you want to go out and socialise, do it. Hell, if you want to go eat your dinner in the bathroom, alone, just so you can lock the door and have 5 mins peace, do it! Because unless you are well, you cant do anything else well.