By J. B. Fagoyinbo
Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure; it is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the ever-increasing demands of life. Many of life’s demands can cause stress, particularly work, relationships and money problems. Children experience stress from school, new social situations and simply growing up. Adults experience the stress of working, paying bills, raising children and household maintenance. Seniors also experience stress; even though they may have retired, raised their children and paid off their homes. Certain amounts of stress are a part of life for people of all ages.
Stress can affect how you feel, think, behave and how your body works. In fact, common signs of stress include sleeping problems, sweating, loss of appetite and difficulty in concentrating.
You may feel anxious, irritable or low in self-esteem, and you may have racing thoughts, worry constantly or go over things in your head. You may notice that you drink more or act unreasonably. You may also experience headaches, muscle tension or pain, or dizziness.
Stress associated with an important responsibility that needs to be discharged immediately can be considered useful. Stress can help if you need to work hard or react quickly. For example, it can help you win a race or finish an important job on time.
However, frequent and/or prolonged occurrence of stress can have bad effects causing any or combinations of headache, upset stomach, back pain, and trouble sleeping. It can weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight off disease. It can worsen existing health problem. It can make you moody, tense, or depressed. Your relationships may suffer, and you may not do well at work or school.
Determine the Cause of Stress
Stress has the potential to be overwhelming and can worsen health conditions from which some seniors suffer, causing additional worry.
Ask yourself these questions to find out what is causing your stress or that of your ward:
- Problems in your family or with a relationship such as the loss of an elderly spouse or friends, caring for a family member who has chronic health problems, or is disabled- caregiving is a major source of stress, dealing with a family member or friend who is under stress;
- Living alone can increase the sense of isolation;
- Simple daily chores can cause stress in those who experience physical or medical limitations.
- Job stress comes in different forms and affects your mind and body in different ways. Small things can make you feel stressed, such as a member of staff that is erratic when given responsibilities. Major stress comes from having too much or not enough work or doing work that doesn’t satisfy you. Conflicts with your boss, co-workers, and customers and non-functioning equipment are other major causes of stress.
Signs of Stress
Physical signs of stress can include:
- Body aches and pains or increased episodes of illness;
- Changes in sleeping patterns — either trouble falling asleep or interrupted nighttime sleep:can signal significant stress
- Deliberate detachment from family and friends and refusing to socialize or participate in activities he/she used to enjoy;