Stress usually makes itself known as we react to it. We yell at the kids, kick the dog, scream into our pillows and tear old love letters into pieces. We write long passages in our journals, comfort ourselves with a half-gallon of Rocky Road ice cream and promise ourselves that we’ll never, ever do whatever it is that has caused the stress – again.
And even if we manage to take a refreshing vacation, soak in a lavender bath or finish off that half-gallon of ice cream – stress can reappear. We can learn how to manage it and find some relief, but living with stress on a long-term basis can be downright dangerous.
At GateWay of Hope, we deal with the issues of women in a holistic atmosphere. We know that emotional stress can cause physical illness and spiritual apathy. Studies have suggested that prolonged stress may be a factor in certain cancers or the onset of early dementia and Alzheimer’s. And stress can cause a number of joint ailments, headaches, stomach and digestive issues as well as affecting our social relationships.
In our American society, we focus on productivity. We work hard, play hard, exercise hard and expect our bodies to keep up with the demands. Talk to a woman who has flamed out from stress and she will tell you – it’s not worth it. Yet most of us continue to do whatever we can to keep up with all the busyness, sometimes not even realizing what we’re doing to ourselves – until it’s too late.
As insidious as stress can be, it can also lead to burnout – which is even more dangerous. Burnout often manifests as numbing. We’ve become so stressed by a toxic relationship that we no longer have feelings. Or we’ve worked so hard and so long, we can no longer think clearly and lose a job. Or we withdraw and isolate ourselves, wrapping our souls in a false sense of comfort that may lead to depression. Check out some of the signs and symptoms of burnout.
So what can we do to counteract stress?
At GateWay of Hope, we have several ideas:
- Boundaries – this summer we’ll offer a class called “Beyond Boundaries.” Register now by calling 913.393.GATE (4283).
- Group relationships – it helps to share with other women who are feeling the same type of stress.
- Counseling – check out our website for the counselor you would like to see.
- Coaching – move over those obstacles that are causing stress and march forward in life.
- Pay attention to your body – it will often tell you about stress, so listen and learn.
- Break unhealthy habits – what can you do to eliminate some of the stress?
- Set realistic goals – perfectionism often causes an increase in stress. Be realistic and practical but at the same time, reach for your dreams.
- Develop new and healthy relationships – any time we’re in a toxic relationship, it causes stress. Check out the book “Safe People” by Cloud and Townsend.
- The Serenity Room – we have a special room at GateWay of Hope where women can come to de-stress, spend some time journaling, read a book and/or pray. Our sign-up calendar is in our front entry.
- Journaling – we’re beginning another journaling class in April. You can register now by calling 913.393.GATE (4283).
All of us deal with some type of stress, but we can learn how to counteract some of its effects. Let us know if we can help you find some peace and protect yourself from too much stress.
©2016 GateWay of Hope – Transforming the lives of women to create new legacies