Priya Sharma, a 34 year old mother of 2, complained that she feels tired all the time. She does all her household work but does not enjoy any activities. She gets irritated with her children for small mistakes. She craves for junk food even when not hungry. She feels she is losing hair and unable to sleep well.
When spoken to in detail, she revealed that she had a lot of pressure at work. She was worried about her parents' health. She had no one to express her concerns.
In an exclusive interaction with Onlymyhealth editorial team, Dr. Siddhika Ayyer, Consultant Psychiatrist elucidates that nowadays, a common word used by everyone is 'stress'. Stress is usually used to describe any difficulties we are facing in life, for eg: exam stress or work stress. In medical terms, stress is our body's response to challenges. Of course, there are challenges we all face in life. We must equip our body and mind to be strong to face these challenges.
Symptoms Of Stress
So let us first think, how will I know I am stressed? What are the symptoms? Like we saw in Priya's story, stress affects us emotionally, mentally and physically.
When Stress starts presenting in the following ways, we must take help.
- Feeling Irritated, Anxious, depressed or overwhelmed
- Overthinking or too many negative thoughts about self and the situation
- Feeling disinterested in work and unable to enjoy anything
- Difficulty in concentration, making mistakes which usually one would not do
- Sleep difficulties
- Poor appetite or stress eating
Stress can also cause physical symptoms like hair loss, headaches, acidity, irritable bowel syndrome, coldness/numbness of hands and feet and hypertension.
With prolonged stress, symptoms can worsen leading to depression and anxiety disorders.
How to handle stressful situations?
The first step to deal with deal is to understand that stress is a part of everyone's life. Small steps can go a long way in dealing with stress.
- Make sure you are taking care of your physical health.
- Have a healthy diet, drink adequate water and sleep well
- Find time for moderate exercise 3 to 4 times per week
- Get some early morning sunshine
- Make time for leisure activities and hobbies like listening to music or gardening
- Cut down on mobile/laptop use including social media
- Confide in family or friends and spend time with them
If you still feel overwhelmed and unable to handle the stress, get in touch with a psychiatrist, who can definitely help you out.
Priya was helped by developing habits that prioritised her self-care. She addressed her anxiety about her parents' health without affecting her own. She was able to improve her communication with her husband and children when she felt better. So though problems do arise now and then, Priya is able to handle them in a much better way.