So my wife is away, and theoretically this should be a great time for me to try and recover a little. The mental impact of caring for someone and worrying about them all the time is very wearing. The constant stress levels in our household are extremely high.
Stress is well known to cause adverse effects over time. The following article gives some interesting facts – https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/a-z-topics/stress. Stress can have benefits, it can help us to react to things, push through pain or fear, and sometimes we work much better under a little stress.
However prolonged exposure to stressful situations is not helpful. We can start to become overwhelmed and unable to cope, leaving us anxious, afraid and angry. We can withdraw from talking to people, be indecisive and have problems sleeping amongst other things. There can also be physical impacts, from headaches, nausea, and other aches and pains.
The link gives way to help yourself, and I think being aware of these is vital. Excercise, eating healthily, mindfulness, and having supportive friendships can all help. It can be really hard to do this, and perseverance at them helps. Afterall the other option is to keep suffering.
My issue now though is this implementation step. I find it really hard to switch off, especially as my concentration levels have suffered. Which is frustrating this week when I have the opportunity to switch off. It has taken a few days to decompress, like a diver coming up for air.
This goes to show how ingrained and prolonged the stress is for our lives, and how even now it cant be fully turned off. I spoke of the worry about the future yesterday, and this always plays on my mind. I do feel though that the only way our lives will improve is when this is all over.
For now some music on the way home in the car, watching football on the TV, and turning off the phone seem to be the best ways to relax. Our cat is also desperate for attention, so that is a nice welcome home.
Valentines Day hasnt helped, hearing the plans people in work have to go out with their loved ones. Catching the bus to town to a meal, cocktails before and drinks after. Make the most of your loved ones people, you never know when it may change.
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