The Impact of Stress on Your Mental Health
By Tara Scheing | Elevate BDG, Inc.
In response to (what seemed at the time) one the most stressful months of my life, I thought it would be a great opportunity to speak on a subject I am a little too familiar with - STRESS…Trust me when I say that I have many restless nights worrying about the happiness and well-being of my family, but there are certain triggers that I dealt with this past month that left me feeling hopeless many of nights and frantic throughout the day. Overall, I feel like I handled everything fairly well, but let me tell you…it was not easy!
You see, my husband and I are no strangers to financial challenges. Over this past month, it seems like things have come to a head with costly car repairs and the sudden loss of healthcare. These are the kind of challenges that makes what feels like a bad situation feel even worse. I can not tell you the number of times in this past month, that I have I felt like I was the cowardly lion skipping down the yellow brick-road, crying about health-care and child-care and groceries (OH MY!!!!). To top it all off, my 16-month-old seems to be on a sleep strike these days and I found myself awake at 4:30 am this morning stressing about factors beyond my control, leading me into yet another draining day that started well before sunrise.
All these things are stressful and have affected every facet of my life, but I am doing my best to hold it all together. The thing about stress is that it doesn’t stay put; when I am stressed about something, it tends to seep over into other areas of my life. These financial stresses don't just happen when I open my checkbook - it consumes me…When I start work in the morning, I am not able to magically check-out on my checkbook worries…They still exist…and yes, this is most likely affecting my productivity at work. (don’t tell my boss!) Fact is, when you are stressed at home, it tends to have an impact on your work performance and when you are stressed out at work, you tend to bring it home with you.
While it may seem as if the stress will never end and that it is negatively impacting my life while I am caught up in it, research shows that in short bursts, stress is actually a good thing, with my thinking skills increasing as my stress increases. I guess that is why they say some people work better under stress. (you can tell my boss that!!!)
There are, however, connections between stress and mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” Now, while stress may very well be my middle name, I am fortunate enough to say that I do not have much first-hand experience with mental illness. Most of the stressors in my life are more like short-bursts of added stressors, opposed to a prolonged or chronic issue. In other words, I deal with it…
According to Ali Carnage, in an article on Stress and our mental health - what is the impact & how can we tackle it?, “changes at work, illness, accidents, problems with relationships, family, money or housing can all cause stress. What links all these situations is that we’re unable to predict and control what is happening to us, and so our body goes into a state of increased alertness. And these events can happen all the time - triggering the body’s stress response over and over again.
When the stress response becomes prolonged (chronic), it has a very different effect to the short bursts that enhance the body’s abilities. In many cases, the system controlling the stress response is no longer able to return to its normal state. Some of the emotional and behavioral symptoms of stress overlap with those of mental health conditions like anxiety or depression, making it hard to distinguish where one begins and the other ends, or which came first."
The trick is learning to deal with stress in a way to ensure that it does not lead to mental illness. I am very aware that I am walking a fine line with the stress in my life and while I may be blessed increased awareness and productivity as a result of these short-bursts of stressors, someone else may be plagued by these exact same stressors, causing a more chronic condition, ultimately leading them down the path of depression or anxiety. While it may not feel like it right now, these short bursts of stress may actually be working to my employer's benefit (hey…I got this article written, didn’t I ?!?!), there is no doubt in my mind that I would still benefit from a Stress Management class. I mean, who wouldn’t benefit from learning to cope with heavy workloads and the demanding expectations that cause stress at work and home or learning how to better react to external situations and deal with negative emotions in a healthy manner?
You see, workplace stress and the inability to talk to someone about it takes its toll. Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace, found that only 4 in 10 employees feel that someone at their job cares about them as a person. But experts agree that having someone to talk to can help alleviate the isolation, confusion, and fear that may accompany job-related stress. And this, my friends, is where Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) comes into play… MHFA can teach you how to recognize and respond to mental health challenges in the workplace, so you can better recognize the difference between an employee who is simply stressed out vs. one who is experiencing a mental health crisis. The eight-hour course provides you with an action plan to assess risk, provide reassurance and information and encourage appropriate professional help. Many who take a Mental Health First Aid course find the strategies useful in dealing with their own challenges, as well.
End of the day, pretty much every single person, every single day is experiencing some sort of emotional or physical stress and one in five American adults are actually living with a mental illness so you can clearly benefit from both Stress Management and Mental Health First Aid classes with Elevate BDG. In fact, we are so sure you will benefit from both of these courses together, that we are offering $500 OFF when you book Stress Management & Mental Health First Aid with Elevate BDG!*
*Courses must be booked for two consecutive days to receive the discount.
Make Mental Health a Priority!
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the initial help given to someone experiencing a mental health problem before appropriate treatment and support are obtained. Regardless of what an individual is dealing with mentally, whether it be the onset of a mental illness, anxiety or depression or simply managing a crisis situation, Elevate BDG’s Mental Health First Aid seminar will teach participants how to recognize the symptoms of mental health problems, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide the individual to professional help, if appropriate. This course is designed to demystify the whole topic of mental illness by increasing mental health literacy and to decreasing the stigma that is attached to it. By detecting the problems early, you can ensure that the person is properly treated and supported. LEARN MORE
This article was written by Tara Scheing of Elevate Business Development Group. Tara has been managing the digital marketing and writing articles on professional development & business training with Elevate BDG since it’s inception and lives in Southern Oregon with her husband and two young sons. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tara-scheing-28973655/ or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elevate Business Development Group is a workforce management, training, and consulting company serving government agencies (federal, state, local), non-profits, and private industry. Our programs make staff, managers, and executives more effective contributors to the workplace by assessing knowledge gaps and crafting tailored solutions. Elevate BDG offers on-site and virtual training, coaching, mentoring, and creative off-site training offerings in 200+ topics. Our “off-the-shelf” solutions can be tailored to meet your organization’s needs or our instructional designers can create a program from scratch to meet your exact specifications.