Stress has been a major factor for many in 2020. Bushfires, other natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic have caused a myriad of hardships affecting jobs, homes and livelihoods; causing concern for loved ones, as well as directly impacting the health of, and indeed taken the lives of, scores of people around the world.
Although everyone reacts differently in stressful situations, you or someone you know may experience a range of thoughts, feelings and physical reactions that might fluctuate over time. Such experiences may include:
Thoughts: Worrying thoughts that you have no control, that the worst will happen and that you will not be able to cope
Emotions: Nervousness, helplessness, frustration, irritation and sadness
Physical Sensations: Headaches, muscle tensions, aches and pains, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, stomach upset and other uncomfortable sensations
Behaviours: Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels, unnecessary isolation from others or withdrawing from enjoyable activities, and disrupted sleeping patterns. Some people might use alcohol or other substances to help them cope.
All of these stress reactions are designed to activate our survival mechanism also known as the ‘fight-flight-freeze’ response. However, at times this can be disproportionate and left unmanaged can negatively impact our health long term.
Although 2020 has been a year like no other, I am well placed to support you to cope with these life-changing stressors. In addition to being an empathetic listener, provision of nutritional foundations to support your stress response and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function is crucial.
In doing so, I can help to build your resilience to stress, while supporting you through these difficult times.