Recession stress is affecting everybody. Whether you’re a business owner, a student with a part-time job or unemployed —money is on everyone’s mind.
There isn’t much we can do about the recession, but we can change the way it affects us.
“During recessions, people recognize they’re having difficulty with sleep and appetite,” says Dr. Eilenna Denisoff, team leader for the work stress and health program for the Centre of Addictions and Mental Health in Toronto. The centre is the leading Canadian research hospitals for mental health.
Losing your job is one of life’s most serious stress factors, along with divorce, death of a loved one and relocating your family. Making sure you stay mentally healthy during tough times is important to stay on top of your game.
Denisoff says to look for a few key indicators of stress in your self, or loved ones, to identify if they’re suffering from more stress than usual. Chest pain, using alcohol or drugs, difficulty sleeping or eating, rapid heartbeat and irritability — all are early symptoms of stress.
Catching early signs of stress is important to save yourself from more serious problems down the road, such as anxiety and depression.
“Don’t wait until it’s too late, when work, sleep and relationships are suffering,” says Denisoff.
So how do you deal with recession stress?
“Seek out social support, connect with friends, talk with friends and family that make you feel better, not worse,” say Denisoff.
Exercise is also great de-stressor, says Denisoff. Besides the mood-elevating endorphins, exercise can be a great way to take your mind off your worries and improve your health and self-esteem.
If you or your partner are feeling the effects of work stress, support each other with small acts of kindness.
“Acknowledge it’s a stressful time in a gentle way,” says Denisoff. “Offer to help prepare a meal or suggest a walk together, rent a funny movie or go out with friends.”
If stress becomes deeper or more intense, professional help from a psychologist or counsellor is an option to vent and receive advice on coping with life’s rough patches.
Small steps can help lessen the load. Even if you can’t change the economic climate, you can change your attitude.
Five inexpensive ways to destress:
• Go for a brisk walk
• Rediscover your local library
• Take a guilt-free power nap
• Play with your dog or cat
• Start a journal
(Tips courtesy of www.helpguide.org)