I’m sitting on the couch drinking my morning coffee, as has been part of my morning routine for as long as I can remember and find myself repeating my all too familiar mantra “I am so stressed!”
What is wrong with me?
I haven’t even started my day yet.
I think through my to do list and everything going on.
And… I feel stressed.
Who can relate?
I look around in the supermarket, at work, amongst family and friends and even among strangers on the street. I notice stress is rampant.
It is an epidemic!
According to Beyond Blue, “one in nine Australians is currently experiencing high or very high psychological distress.”
Whether it’s via wellbeing programs at your workplace, or a community engagement event, what’s the hot topic being addressed?
Is it some version of ‘how do I manage stress’?
So where to from here?
Imagine you are walking along a badly paved street with lots of potholes. If you don’t watch where you are going and navigate carefully, you are likely to trip.
Now imagine trying to walk along the same street, but this time you are blindfolded.
Our life is filled with pot holes or stressors, things that can make us slip and hurt ourselves.
Sometimes it is so difficult to navigate these stressors because we can’t even see where we are going. We are blindfolded with stress! There’s so much stuff going on, we can no longer focus.
Ok, so you’re walking along this street with your blindfold and suddenly you hear people yelling out to you.
Some are saying positive and encouraging comments. Some are giving advice. And of course, there are those that are trying to get you down. Make you trip.
Forget about being able to focus, there is so much background noise. You’re immobile.
As you stand still, you remember you came with someone. It may have been your good friend, your sister, a parent, an unidentified mentor or even a health professional.
There is someone with you that has eyes opened.
They can be your guide.
They can direct you until you reach the other side safely.
You focus on their voice and their voice alone. You ignore the cross talk.
When we are in a state of stress, we become blindfolded. Day to day tasks and decisions that we are normally able to easily address become difficult viewed in our blind spot.
Your rational and logical self flies out the window.
In this state you realise the only way forward is to focus on your support person.
In each instance this may be someone different. It may be in the form of a close friend, a family member or even a mentor.
Don’t be afraid to get the right support.
Remember when you had a baby or needed help cramming for that exam, you were more than happy for people to help?
Or when you had an infection and needed an antibiotic you readily sought medical help from your doctor?
So why should it be any different when your mental health is affected and you feel you are not coping.
What is it about pride?
For some areas we are too proud to get help and for others it is more socially accepted?
When someone offers to watch your kids or cook a meal for you, say “Yes. Thank you. That’s really kind of you.”
Saying yes to help offered can be braver than saying no.
And more useful too.
If the stress in your life has become debilitating, you are no longer able to function and/ or it is a struggle to perform day to day tasks, speak to your GP. Just like you’d get a referral for a physical health issue, don’t be afraid to get a referral for psychological help.
If you could take a drug to relieve the pain of physical symptoms or to fight an infection, would you hesitate?
Either it will help, or it will not.
The former is more likely.
Remember, getting support does not have to be an earth shattering event.
It can be as simple as speaking to an objective person, whether it be a friend, family member or someone else in your life.
The key is to realise you are blindfolded in this instance, there are potholes in front of you, you need to find a guide and with this support you can focus on getting to the other side safely.