Out of curiosity and for fun I became certified as a health coach last year. I did it because of my own interest - broadening my knowledge on the subject of health. My friends know that I am not a practitioner, but I am often asked for my thoughts. I realize that sometimes I am asked for guidance on life issues which does affect overall health. However, I am most definitely not qualified to give advise at all. As a good coach would, I listen but direct people to immediately seek professional advice.
A relaxing place - Lac du Veronne - Dordogne, France
My friend’s personal stressful situation
Recently a friend told me that she stopped working due to stress and a bit of duress. She knew that I was previously in a stressful situation, so she knew I would at least empathize and understand her. My friend was being undermined in her work and as a result she was not taken seriously. The CEO thought she could be manipulated as she was well paid and working very closely with him. He had earned her trust and was abusing it. As CFO she knew the rules that she needed to abide by and she was resolved not to breach them for any reason at all. Suggestions from the CEO made her uncomfortable but they were just words. She would just continue to do her job.
Unfortunately, the situation worsened. The CEO started to harass her. He would make comments which were disrespectful or just simply mock her work. He did not fire her but he sometimes threatened to do so in front of others. She felt she had no recourse in this small company as the CEO was also the majority shareholder. She did not want this job to be a failure – she was not even there for 2 years as yet. She persevered.
As the CFO with a small team she was respected by her staff and did not want to lose that. She had no one to speak to at work regarding this matter. Everyone else was junior to her and she felt she needed to be strong. She started to have daily headaches, anxiety and feeling sick in general.
She is currently off sick from work and needed someone to talk to. She already realized that her symptoms were warning signs of stress. I can relate and this was certainly not a nice thing to have in common. However, I am happy that we could talk about it. Not everyone is the same and one will have different triggers for the same stress response and also different symptoms.
I am not a psychologist or stress expert therapist, but I could share my perspective.
My own definition of stress is when one experiences situations that seems threatening or unmanageable and out of one’s sphere of control; then one’s innate “flight or fight” response becomes overstimulated and continuously activated.
First important steps
1.Recognize that you are experiencing stress. This is an important step as no one else can diagnose it early enough but you can. Only you know how you feel and the impact of the feeling(s).
2.Pay attention to the physical, mental or emotional symptoms being experienced. For example, exhaustion, breathlessness, panic attacks, digestive issues, headaches, pain, anxiety, depression, forgetfulness, sleeplessness etc.
3.Seek professional assistance if you:
- are easily overwhelmed;
- feel you cannot cope and have fearful thoughts;
- have continuous negative thoughts;
- cannot perform normal daily tasks or activities;
- are using alcohol or drugs excessively;
- are withdrawing from family and friends.
If professional assistance is not required, the following tips could be helpful or at least they could mitigate the stress:
b. Eating balanced and healthy meals
g. A hobby
h. Talking with someone you trust
i. Some “me” time
j. Accepting things as is
k. Learning to say "no"
l. A relaxing vacation
m. Quitting/leaving stressful situations
I hope someone will find this post useful. My perspective and tips are not exhaustive. However, they are tried and tested steps that other friends and myself have used or have shared with others successfully.
The photo is taken by me with my iPhone 6S