Stress is an incredibly common condition all over the world and is particularly affecting adults. It may be that there is a lot of pressure being put on you at work, perhaps making ends meet is getting harder and harder, maybe your life has been turbulent recently and you are struggling to prioritize or you are losing your perspective.
When you feel stressed but you also have children, it is important that everyone understands enough without placing any pressure on the children or scaring them. This is a fine balance between honesty that something isn’t quite right but optimism that you are already in the process of getting better.
However stressed you are, maintaining a close bond between you and your children and you and your spouse is vital. They are the people who make you feel safe and they will be there for you. You just need to remember that this is a two-way street and you should be making an effort for yourself too.
Tackle Issues Head On
The first and hardest thing to do is accept thatyou are feeling stressed and you need help. This is difficult because it can feel like admitting a weakness and you will have spent a lot of time trying to shake things off and avoid thinking about them. However normal this is, please don’t beat yourself up. Admitting that something is wrong isn’t weak, it takes a lot of bravery and self awareness to get there and whatever you have done to keep your stress a secret, your family will already know about it.
Once you have admitted a problem to yourself, you now need to face it head on and be completely honest with yourself about what is going on. You won’t want to involve your children here, but your spouse will be able to provide a listening ear and guide you towards the best place to get help whether that is a counselor or a doctor.
Keep Communicating with Your Family
Communication is absolutely vital and with your spouse you should be as honest as possible. With your children, you need to make sure that they get the information that they need and in a suitable environment for their age. You need to bear in mind their maturity level and allow them to ask questions too. Don’t go into too much detail, but do be clear that it isn’t their fault, you are going to get some help and that they don’t need to worry.
Older children may be able to understand more about what you are going through, but again, it is really important that they don’t become stressed as a result of realizing that you are too. Give them the information they need and be clear about what you are doing to help yourself. You may also want to suggest ways they can help toosuch as spending time together. If you are unsure about how to approach the issue, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your spouse should be able to help, but a family therapist could also be a good idea for more impartial advice.
Make Changes to Help You Cope
There are many causes of stress but there are also lots of things you can do to help you cope. It might be as simple as going to bed a little earlier and reading instead of watching TV. Perhaps you might lay off caffeinated drinks or take a few minutes to meditate in the morning.
If your stress has elements of anxiety, keeping a notebook to list your anxieties can help. In one column list your anxieties and then next to each one, write down how you can solve the problem. For example, an anxiety might be that you will lose your job. The solution might be that you can update your CV, have a look for other jobs and fall back on your emergency funds if need be.
Ask if it May Be Something More
For many people dealing with stress, their initial symptoms may be a sign that there is something more going on. When you are stressed and don’t know where to turn, you may find that you slip into bad habits like drinking too much or taking drugs as a form of self medication. While substance abuse is a taboo topic to many people, if you suspect it in yourself or you can feel yourself losing control, you must face this head on and ask yourself if your stress may be something more.
In this case you may require dual diagnosis treatment. But what is dual diagnosis treatment? Dual diagnosis is where you are suffering with a mental health issue as well as substance abuse and is more common than you might think, especially with sufferers of depression. Dual diagnosis treatment aims to treat both the addiction and the mental health issues affecting you through a personalized treatment plan.
Take Each Day at a Time
One of the main worries that people with stress or other mental health issues have is that they will never feel normal again. Ironically, this thought is only going to make you feel more stressed and will hamper your ability to seek the right help and be able to help yourself too. Rather than worrying about the future, try to slow down and think only of today.
Though mindfulnessdoesn’t necessarily work for everyone, it can help to ground you in the moment and stop you from excessive worry about the future. Focusing on what you are doing right now will help you to take each small step towards recovery and when you look back you will see how far you have come.
Over time and with the right help and guidance, you can feel normal again and your family will still love you. Though you might feel pressured by your children to get better faster, this is something that will take you some time and cannot be rushed. Be patient with them and understand that they only want the best for you; talk to them about how you feel and they will be in a better position to be supportive too.
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