How to spot the signs of stress, and how to manage them

14 July, 2020  ·  Less than a minute read

Have you ever wondered how the body triggers feelings of stress?

If you haven’t heard of the ‘fight or flight’ response, it’s basically our body’s natural response to stress. We either confront the threat, or we run away.

Our bodies react differently to a range of stimuli, with some people more sensitive than others. For many of us, significant life events such as the death of a loved one, or financial strain can cause stress. For others, it may be the onset of a physical injury.

Quickening of the heart beat and fast breathing are amongst the common stress responses, but many of them aren’t always visible on the surface.

That’s why it’s not always easy to know when you’re loved one is feeling stressed. As a carer, it’s important to know the signs so that you can respond quickly.

Changes in behaviour may be a sign of stress

Pay attention to your loved one, and see if you notice any subtle changes in behaviour. Perhaps they’re eating less or more than usual, or they’re making less effort than usual with their personal appearance or hygiene.

Your loved one may also be showing signs of irritability, or nervous behaviours such as nail biting. If you notice any of these, try encouraging them to engage in a relaxation activity. Yoga and meditation are common practices, and can help to create a strong connection between the body and mind.

If you’d like to encourage your loved one to try gentle yoga for stress relief, read our previous blog post to find out more.

Stress can trigger a weakened immune system

Have you noticed that your loved one has been getting sick more often?

A weakened immune system is a common physical effect of stress. Long-term stress reduces our immune system’s ability to fight toxins, which means we’re more susceptible to a range of illnesses - both short and long-term.

To maintain a lower risk of illness, it’s important to help your loved one combat stress. You could try encouraging gentle, regular exercise - such as a 30-minute walk daily, or moderate-intensity swimming.

Increased tiredness and lack of energy

You may notice that your loved one is more tired than usual, or that they’re struggling to find the motivation for daily activities.

If this is the case, consider that they may be suffering from underlying stress. To prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation, try encouraging them to interact with others at community events; this may offer them a new lease of life.

Stress can trigger digestive issues

A less well-known stress symptom - yet no less important - digestive issues can result from prolonged feelings of stress.

In short, stress triggers physiological changes within the body. Ultimately, this can limit the secretion of digestive juices. You may, as a result, experience indigestion and feelings of discomfort.

If you notice that your loved one is experiencing these issues, make sure they’re eating a well-balanced diet. You could also encourage them to spend more time outdoors. This can reduce stress, and improves mental and physical health.

There are many ways you can help your loved one when they’re feeling stressed, from encouraging gentle exercise to offering emotional support.

To find out more about our care at CHD Living, please click here.

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