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Are you feeling stressed out?

Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,505 Disability Gamechanger
edited November 2020 in Mental health and wellbeing
This week is International Stress Awareness Week. Although feeling stressed sometimes is a normal part of life, it can be easy to let these feelings get on top of you. It's therefore really important that you understand what makes you stressed, how to spot the signs of stress, and what you can do if you're struggling to cope.

What is stress?

Although there's no single medical definition of stress, the Mental Health Foundation define stress as:
the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable. 

It's important to remember that some stress can be useful. I'm sure we've all been in situations where we've needed to be under a bit of pressure to get something done, or to have the energy to make it through a long day. That being said:

If our stress response is activated repeatedly, or it persists over time, the effects can result in wear and tear on the body and can cause us to feel permanently in a state of ‘fight or flight’ . Rather than helping us push through, this pressure can make us feel overwhelmed or unable to cope. 

Feeling this overwhelming stress for a long period of time is often called chronic or long-term stress, and it can impact on both physical and mental health.

What causes stress?

The Mental Health Foundation point out that stress can have many different causes
What contributes to stress can vary hugely from person to person and differs according to our social and economic circumstances, the environment we live in and our genetic makeup.
Mind have listed some of these circumstances as:
  • Being under lots of pressure
  • Facing big changes
  • Worrying about something
  • Not having much or any control over the outcome of a situation
  • Having responsibilities that you're finding overwhelming
  • Not having enough work, activities or change in your life
  • Times of uncertainty
I'm sure we're all experiencing some level of uncertainty at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic, so this makes checking-in with yourself and recognising the signs of stress as early as possible more important than ever.

Signs of stress

Stress can affect everyone differently, but Mind have outlined some key signs, such as feeling:
  • Irritable or aggressive
  • Anxious, nervous or afraid
  • Like your thoughts are racing and you can't switch off
  • Unable to enjoy yourself
  • Depressed
  • A sense of dread
  • Worried about your health

woman in facemask with her head in her hands

Stress and disability

Being disabled can be a cause of extra stress in someone's life, and this can sometimes worsen both physical and mental health. Caring for disabled people can also be stressful at times, especially if you're managing this responsibility alone.

Here are two examples of how disability can impact upon stress. 

Stress at work

It's perfectly normal to feel stressed at work on occasion, but you shouldn't feel stressed every day. There are many factors that can lead to disabled people feeling stressed at work, including:
  • Lack of adjustments to allow you to do your job to the best of your ability
  • Discrimination and workplace bullying
  • Barriers to accessibility
Please remember that there is help out there if you're feeling stressed at work. Scope have a page on managing stress at work, which includes guidance on:
  • Getting emotional support
  • Speaking with your employer
  • Planning and pacing your work
  • Getting reasonable adjustments
  • Help with finding a job that matches your skills

Stress when caring for a disabled child

If you're a parent or carer to a disabled child, it's okay to speak up when you're feeling overwhelmed or are struggling to cope.

Scope have published some tips for managing stress when caring for a disabled child, including: 
  • Sharing how you feel with someone you trust
  • Taking naps when you can
  • Joining a support group
  • Taking time for yourself
It's important to remember that you're not alone, and the community is also always here if you ever need to vent or speak to others in a similar position.

Coping with stress

The NHS' Every Mind Matters page has some useful tips on dealing with stress, including:
  • Splitting up big tasks
  • Taking time to think of the positives
  • Challenging unhelpful thoughts
  • Getting active
  • Talking to someone
  • Planning ahead and becoming more organised

Over to you

What makes you stressed? Do you feel as though being disabled impacts your stress levels? Have you felt stressed when caring for a disabled person? What helps you to de-stress and unwind?

I find it really helpful to talk things through when I'm feeling stressed or overwhelmed, but I know it's not always easy to do, so please feel free to comment below if you're going through something stressful at the moment and need some advice, or for someone to lend a listening ear :) 
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  • alisonann
    alisonann Community member Posts: 11 Listener
    I am really stressed over benefits it’s really getting to me now I don’t know what to do
  • Georg59
    Georg59 Community member Posts: 12 Connected
    Stressful time with a mountain of things. Health, benefit application, bills etc ... 
  • alisonann
    alisonann Community member Posts: 11 Listener
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger

    Now I no longer have the stress of a a very full on career I dont really get that stressed . But agree applying for benefits and going through the whole process at the same time as dealing with becoming disabled it the most stress I have ever been under . It felt like I was hitting my head against a brick wall to get any kind of support. Family and friends got me through by talking and coming t my aid 
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Ross_Alumni
    Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,652 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2020
    Hi @Yaz1 and welcome to the community. I have sent you an email from, it would be great if you could reply to that :) 

    It's in relation to this comment and a post you made on the activity wall
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  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,505 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @alisonann! I can see that you made a post in our ESA category. Has that eased your stress a little bit? How are you feeling today? 
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  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,505 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Georg59 :) It looks like you managed to make a post about your PIP application, and that you got some good advice. Has that made you feel any better? 

    Please don't hesitate to make another post about any other concerns you have. Are you worried about being able to pay your bills? What is it about your health that is making you feel stressed? It can feel really overwhelming when you have a mountain of things to deal with, so breaking it down can be helpful. 
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  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,505 Disability Gamechanger
    It sounds like there's a lot going on for you @earthchild23, so it's understandable you'd feel stressed. You're definitely not letting down your son, you can only do your best. 

    I know you've made posts and comments before, so please don't hesitate to make a post with any questions you might have about things like benefit reviews or accessing support for your son. 

    What do social services do when you get referred to them? You deserve to get the support you need.
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