All Posts Tagged: stress

Woman dealing with stress

Stress and how to manage it

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or pressure.

The amount of stress you feel can depend on your attitude to a particular situation. An event that may be extremely stressful for one person can be a mere hiccup for another person.

When the term ‘stress’ is used in a clinical sense, it refers to a situation that causes discomfort and distress for a person and can lead to other mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.

Feelings of stress can affect all of us

You may feel under pressure to do something and fear you may fail. The more important the outcome, the more stressed you feel.

You can feel stressed by external situations (too much work, children misbehaving) and by internal triggers (the way you think about external situations).

It’s not always a bad thing

Some people thrive on stress and even need it to get things done. For example, a small amount of stress, like meeting a deadline, can actually be helpful.

Signs of stress

There are some signs which indicate our stress levels are affecting us in a negative way:

  • Feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope
  • Feeling ‘on edge’ or unable to stop worrying
  • Difficulty sleeping, fatigue and exhaustion
  • Changes in appetite
  • Physical reactions such as headaches, muscle tension, upset stomach, and difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in mood and irritability
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Reliance on alcohol or other substances to cope.

Effects of stress

Stress affects us in many ways, including:

  • Emotionally – anxiety, depression, tension, anger
  • The way we think – poor concentration, forgetfulness, indecisiveness, apathy, hopelessness
  • Behaviourally – increased drinking and smoking, insomnia, accident proneness, weight problems, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, nervousness, gambling.

Stress may also contribute to physical illness such as cardiovascular disease. When stress turns into a serious illness, it’s important to get professional help as soon as possible.

How to manage stress

The old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is certainly true for stress management. It will help if you:

  • Exercise regularly – regular exercise is a great way to manage stress. You should do some form of exercise that causes you to feel puffed afterwards – a leisurely stroll to the bus stop is not enough! Have at least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week
  • Avoid conflict – avoid situations that make you feel stressed such as unnecessary arguments and conflict (although ignoring a problem is not always the best way to reduce stress). Assertiveness is fine but becoming distressed is not
  • Relax – give yourself some time to relax each day and try to spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself
  • Eat well – a nutritious diet is important. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid sweet and fatty foods
  • Sleep – a good sleep routine is essential. If you have difficulty falling asleep, do something calm and relaxing before you go to bed like listening to music or reading
  • Enjoy your life – it’s important to make time to have some fun and to get a balance in your life.

How to get help

Start with your GP for a check-up.

Your GP may refer you for some specialised help. This may include a member of our on-site allied health team such as a psychologist, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist.

There are also some great support services available, such as Lifeline.

The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can get on top of your stress levels and feel more equipped to cope.

 

Source: BetterHealth Channel and Lifeline

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Coronavirus Stage 3 restrictions - healthy habits

Struggling with coronavirus restrictions? Here are 4 ways you can look after yourself

It can be easy to slip into bad habits or lose sight of our health goals when times are tough.

That’s why maintaining some healthy habits during the the government’s coronavirus Stage 3 restrictions is more important than ever.

So, here are some practical tips for maintaining and boosting your health at home, and how you can access our services for support.

Perhaps we can help you find a silver lining to the current situation!

1. Keep exercising

As well as boosting immunity, exercise can have a calming effect, keeping our minds clear and focused, and our anxiety contained.

That’s why it’s super important to keep exercising during the coronavirus Stage 3 restrictions.

There are lots of creative ways to create your own ‘home gym’, and you don’t need to go out and buy expensive exercise equipment. Grab a couple of soup tins from the kitchen cupboard – they make for great dumbbells!

In fact, many activities don’t require anything more than your body itself. For example, push-ups, planks and burpees are great for getting the heart pumping.

Remember to get outside as much as you can. Playgrounds and barbeque areas may be closed, but you can still go for a jog or brisk walk. Now there’s really no excuse to keep the dog locked up all day!

We suggest scheduling your exercise sessions. This will make it easier to stick to and help you get into a routine.

Not sure where to start? You can get a personal exercise program from our exercise experts. You can book in for a free initial telehealth session with our exercise physiologist or physiotherapists.

If you find exercising easier with other people, group classes are still available. We’ve reduced our exercise physiology class sizes to 1-3 people maximum. This means you can continue to maintain a social network during isolating times while at the same time help build up your immune system.

2. Establish an eating routine

For those of you who spend most of your time out of the house (at work, running errands etc), your daily routine may have centered around set meal and snack times.

However, with most of us either working from home, taking a break from work, or just spending more time in general at home, your old eating routines may have disappeared.

Without this same structure to your day, it’s easy to fall into bad habits. For example, having larger meals, extra snacking, or eating just for the sake of it! It’s easy to do, especially being so close to the kitchen.

To prevent overeating, and to promote healthier food choices, you could establish a new eating routine to match your needs at home. For example, consider these set times:

  • Breakfast: 8am
  • Morning tea: 11am
  • Lunch: 1.30pm
  • Afternoon tea: 4pm
  • Dinner: 7pm
  • Supper: 8.30pm

If you’re considering intermittent fasting as an option for weight management during isolation, an early morning black coffee could replace breakfast, while a herbal tea could replace supper at night.

You can take this a step further by planning what you choose to eat, and how much, at each set time. Always consider your energy needs – if you are less active at home, you may plan to eat less than usual (i.e. smaller or less frequent snacks).

If you would like some help establishing a new eating routine, or if you have other nutrition-related concerns, please speak with our in-house dietitian, Jessica Fuller. Private health and Medicare rebates are available.

3. Balance your thoughts

Worrying about diseases is a normal reaction. But excessive worrying can affect both our physical and mental health.

Fortunately, there are practical psychological skills to help you and your loved ones cope with anxiety.

When we get stressed about our health or risk of infection, our thoughts can become dark, brooding and pessimistic. Thoughts like, “How will I cope if I get sick?” and “I can’t deal with this”, are often triggered by stress, but they don’t help us. Negative and dark brooding thoughts will stop you doing things that can help.

Our thoughts are not always true or helpful. Challenge your negative thoughts by asking yourself what a friend would say in the same situation, or ask yourself what evidence do you have that you ‘won’t cope or can’t cope’? Whenever you recognise a negative thought, try to balance it with a realistic thought.

If you need help with balancing your thoughts, our psychologists Julie Paschke and Jenny Ricketts are here for you. You don’t need a referral to see a psychologist.

4. Shut down the noise (do things you like instead)

Stress is infectious, and often unhelpful. People tend to talk about things they are worried about. This creates lots of ‘noise’, which can create even more stress.

Give yourself permission to switch off ‘noise’ such as social media, news and the radio for most of each day.

Also give yourself permission to excuse yourself from people who are creating stress. Keep checking in to reliable news sources once or twice a day, but otherwise, turn down the ‘noise’.

Instead, replace it with things that can help you, including doing things you enjoy, like listening to music, riding your bike, yoga or even meditation.

You could also schedule a regular ‘event’, like a games night with those in your household, or your own version of a Gold Class cinema experience, complete with ice-creams and cardboard tickets that your kids can make.

Need help managing your stress levels? Have a chat with your Pascoe Vale doctor or psychologist – we’re always here to help.

Here’s how consultations are working

All consultations are currently being carried out over the phone or on video. In some cases you may be required to come in to the clinic.

 Telehealth
(consult over the phone)
Telehealth video
(consult over live video)
In-clinic
PsychologistYesZoom
Facetime
Yes
PodiatristYesCoviu
Zoom
Facetime
Yes
PhysiotherapistYesCoviu
Zoom
Facetime
Yes
Exercise physiologistYesCoviu
Zoom
Facetime
Yes
DietitianYesSkype
Zoom
Facetime
Yes
Speech pathologistYesZoom
Facetime
No

*In-clinic option is only available if your practitioner determines that your health needs cannot be managed by phone or video, or for hands-on care like podiatry and physiotherapy.

We’re here to support you

In addition to things like staying at home and practising good hygiene, focusing on some healthy habits and routines during the coronavirus Stage 3 restrictions will hold you in good stead.

Remember the famous saying, ‘this too shall pass’. It may not feel like it, but things will return to normal.

 

Source: MindSpot

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

Last updated 24 July 2020

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Laughing is good for your health.

Do you have enough reasons to laugh?

When did you last have a really good laugh?

You know, one of those outbursts that literally shakes your whole body. When you can hardly breathe and your sides are hurting afterwards. If you can’t remember the last time you really laughed, it may be a sign you need to make room for a little more humour and playfulness in your life.

Laughter is good for you

Humour balances the seriousness of life, and it’s what helps you endure challenges. Laughter is good for you on many levels:

Laughter relaxes your whole body

A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, relaxing your muscles for up to 45 minutes afterwards.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins

The body’s natural feel-good chemicals, endorphins promote an overall sense of wellbeing.

Laughter boosts the immune system

It decreases stress hormones and increases your body’s production of white blood cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

Laughter protects the heart

Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect against heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Ways to laugh more

You can find more reasons to laugh by:

  • Smiling – this is where laughter begins, so find reasons to smile and let it take over your body.
  • Spending time with fun, playful people – seek out family and friends who make you laugh.
  • Moving towards laughter – when you hear people laughing, join them; laughter is highly contagious.
  • Joining a laughter club – these are groups that get together for the express purpose of laughing.
  • Watching comedy – this can be in any form you like, such as a YouTube clip, live act, TV show or movie.
  • Reading funny books or comics – start each day with a funny quote or cartoon.

What or who makes you laugh? Invest some recovery time in these activities and people.

Professional help is at hand

If you or a loved one simply can’t find a reason to laugh or smile, you might benefit from chatting to one of our friendly doctors. You may be entitled to Medicare-subsidised counselling under the GP Mental Health Care Plan Scheme. Please ask your doctor for details and a referral.

For a private consultation with one of our psychologists, no referral is required – you can simply make a booking with Reception.

 

Source: The Life Plan: Simple Strategies for a Meaningful Life by Shannah Kennedy

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Healthy habits

9 healthy habits for 2020

Now that the new year is well underway, how are you going with your goals and resolutions?

If you haven’t already made any, it’s not too late to kick-start the new year.

Here are nine healthy habits to give your year the boost it may need.

1. Cut down on stress

Untreated stress can lead to serious illness.

Whether you tackle stress through exercise, meditation, leaving work on time, getting more organised or any other method, everyone can benefit from cutting stress from their lives.

2. Get more sleep

Lack of sleep can lead to serious medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Watch less TV and Netflix and try going to bed on time this year.

3. Eat well

No, you don’t need to go on a fad diet or totally quit sugar. Trying to eat more vegies and home-cooked meals is simple.

Like anything, it comes down to planning and changing your habits.

If cooking isn’t your thing, make use of meal subscription services like Marley Spoon or Hello Fresh, or sign up for grocery delivery to make sure you always have fresh, healthy food on hand.

4. Get more exercise

Even little bursts of activity — such as a daily 15-minute power walk — can have big health and mood benefits.

Try walking to work or take a couple of laps around the block in your lunch break, or try a fun new activity like indoor rock climbing that will help you get active without seeming like a chore.

Need help with exercise? Have a chat with our exercise physiologist, Mike Fitzsimon.

5. Read more

Reading has been found to reduce stress and boost memory, focus and concentration, so make a list of books you want to read and stick to it.

Consider joining a book club if you think you’ll need more of an incentive to hit your reading target.

6. Travel

You don’t have to travel far to have a good time. Pick a location in Victoria you’ve never been to before, program the GPS and head off for a weekend adventure.

If you have the time and money to jet off overseas, make sure you speak to us about travel vaccinations before you go.

7. Log off

Studies show excessive screen time can disrupt sleep and contribute to anxiety and stress, so make yourself a nightly digital curfew and stick to it.

8. Eat breakfast

It’s the most important meal of the day. So do your mind and metabolism a favour and make time for a healthy breakfast each morning.

9. See your doctor

Your relationship with your doctor is one of the most beneficial you will have over your lifetime.

Regular health checks with your doctor can give you peace of mind, confirm you are on the road to good health or identify any potential health concerns early.

Make a booking today with one of our friendly doctors. You can book online, on Facebook, on the Appointuit app or by calling 9304 0500.

Good luck with your healthy habits this year!

 

Source: News.com.au

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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