Healthy living and healthy thinking can help you to overcome the negative effects of stress.
Eating well, staying fit, socialising and maintaining a positive frame of mind are the best strategies for functioning well when farm pressures come on. If you think there’s no time for all that, consider the consequences of not keeping stress under control. Studies show chronic stress takes a tough toll on mind and body.
Makes you grumpy, because it activates the ‘fight or flight’ response in your brain, releasing the chemicals cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones make you feel irritable and anxious.
Gives you headaches, because it tightens the muscles of your jaw, face and neck. Shoulder and back pain are also likely.
Makes you more susceptible to illness, because it runs down your immune system.
Interferes with sleep and causes insomnia.
Increases the risk of stroke and heart attack, because it constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure.
Increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, because it releases extra glucose into your system.
After chronic stress comes burnout
Month after month of badly-managed stress can eventually result in a condition called ‘burnout’. Burnout sneaks up on you over time, like a slow leak. It’s characterized by physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.
Where are you on the burnout scale?
Thriving – you are alert, active and positive. You are excited about possibilities, rarely sick and don’t rely on alcohol or coffee to get through
Achieving – you are on top of things and motivated, but occasionally tired and forgetful. You come down with the flu a couple of times a year and need pick-me-ups a few times a week to cope
Surviving – you’re managing most things, but dropping a few balls. You are often disinterested, grumpy, need coffee and alcohol daily to get through
Burning out – you are not keeping up with responsibilities, feeling overwhelmed, lacking confidence, angry, sick a lot and your relationships are suffering
Burnt out – you can no longer function properly and have lost grip on reality
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