Tag: Stress

Caring for an Elderly Parent: Recognizing and Managing Stress

Caring-for-an-Elderly-Parent-Recognizing-and-Managing-Stress Being a caregiver is never an easy job.  It can take its toll physically, emotionally, and financially.  The process of watching a parent lose their independence is hard enough.  That coupled with the fact that you probably have a number or other responsibilities – work, small children, a relationship to maintain – can easily result in significant stress.  It can leave you feeling torn and exhausted.
It’s important to remember that in addition to caring for your parent you need to take care of yourself. Watch for signs of stress.  Do you constantly feel exhausted?  Have you experienced a significant amount of weight gain or loss recently?  Does it seem impossible to get enough sleep or social interaction outside of your daily duties?  Is your mind consumed with worry, anger, or guilt?  Maybe you just feel incredibly sad and overwhelmed.  These are all signs of caregiver stress and can ultimately lead to burnout.  This can impact your overall physical and mental health.  Some studies show that caregivers are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, long-term medical problems, weakened immunity, and obesity.
If you notice signs of caregiver stress it’s important to take action.  Enlisting the help of others can work towards reducing your overall stress.  Many find it helpful to delegate some responsibilities to others.  Maybe there is someone else willing to do the grocery shopping or sit and visit with your parent while you take an evening off.  Find a support group or caregiver resources in your area.  Try to establish some respite care so that you can do something for yourself at least once a week. Recognize that you just can’t do it all and there’s no such thing as the “perfect caregiver.” Give yourself permission to take care of yourself – not just your parent!

Recognizing Employee Stress and Why It's Important

Stress in the workplace is certainly not a new phenomenon.  However, in recent years you may have noticed an increase in the number of employees experiencing it or the extent to which they do.  Perhaps that is because employees are dealing with greater personal stress in part due to the economic downturn.  Job security, investments, and home values have all gone down which correlate with an increase in stress.  Personal relationships may struggle which can also spill into the workplace.  If the employee stress is personal in nature why is it even important for you to  recognize it?  Recognizing stressed employees and taking action is a great asset for employees because it can improve overall morale in the workplace.  Additionally, increased stress and anxiety can create physical health problems.  Reducing stress in employees can result in reducing insurance costs and absentee rates.  In fact, the American Institute of Stress reported that, “job stress costs U.S. businesses more than $300 billion annually due to increased absenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity and medical expenses.”  According to The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work stress related absenteeism accounts for half of the 550 million working days lost annually.  Furthermore, “unanticipated absenteeism is estimated to cost American companies $602/worker/year and the price tag for large employers could approach $3.5 million annually.”*
Clearly it’s in the employer’s best interest to identify stressed employees, but how does one recognize it?  Stress can manifest itself in many ways for different people.  Physical symptoms may include fatigue, insomnia, headaches, backaches, and stomachaches.  Listen to employee complaints and watch for an increase in absenteeism and tardiness.  Stress can also have cognitive symptoms such as forgetfulness, poor attention to detail, difficulty concentrating, and indecisiveness.  This can result in a significant decrease in an employee’s quality of work.  There may also be obvious emotional symptoms;  moodiness, anger, anxiety, depression, and lack of motivation.  Does an employee seem more hostile or argumentative than usual?  Or perhaps they are more withdrawn.  If a typically social and humorous person is suddenly very quiet this may be a sign something is wrong.  Also, watch for other behavioral symptoms such as in increase in substance use or increase/decrease in eating habits.  Physical appearance and hygiene may also change.  Paying attention to detail will benefit the individual well-being of your employees as well as the company as a whole.

*Source: http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2012/02/01/5-ways-employers-can-reduce-worker-stress
Photo Credit:  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=3062

Life In A Military Family

Life-In-A-Military-FamilyBeing a member of a military family comes with a unique sense of honor and pride.  Unfortunately, it also comes with a great deal of stress.  There are a number of reasons it can be a challenging, but two in particular often weigh heavy on the hearts of military families.
1.  Deployment – Fear of deployment may be a constant for some military members, their spouses, and children.  Not knowing when, if, or for how long can be stressful.  Though you may have signed up for this by joining the military or marrying a member of the military the reality of it may be harder than you imagined.  Once deployment orders have been given couples may experience tension in the relationship due to anxiety about what’s to come.  Children may begin acting out for the same reason.  Once the family member is deployed spouses may have difficulty adjusting to new duties around the home and may feel overwhelmed by handling the homefront alone.  Many find it helpful to include the deployed spouse in parenting decision making whenever possible.  The separation can also make it difficult to maintain a level of intimacy both partners desire.  Additionally, families may experience financial strains during deployment.  This may come in part as a result of having to work out new child care arrangements.  Spouses and children alike may fear heavily for the safety of their loved one.  Limiting exposure to constant news sources may be helpful.  Unfortunately, the challenges may not end with the deployment. The returning soldier may have difficulty adjusting to the changes that have taken place in the family while gone.  It may take some time getting used to the new independence his or her spouse has acquired while they were gone.  Of course if the soldier returns wounded, physically or emotionally, it may also be a challenging time of transition.
2.  Frequently Relocating – This can also place tremendous stress on military families.  Spouses and children may feel their lives are constantly being interrupted.  Having to change jobs, neighborhoods, and schools means having to make new friends.  This can be tough for everyone involved.  Also, because the military issues the orders it may feel like a loss of control of your own life.  It’s important for family members to discuss their feelings with one another which can ultimately help make the transition smoother.
The good news is there are a number of great resources available to help military families handle the unique stress they experience.  Support groups are available online and throughout communities all over the country.  Also, many find it helpful to quickly connect with other military families in their neighborhood, schools, and churches as soon as they move so that they have people around them who understand their experiences.  If a support system of family and friends is not enough, professional help is always available.

Holiday Harmony

Holiday Harmony, Holiday Family Dinner December is in full swing which means the holidays are just around the corner.   For some they symbolize a season of hope, joy, and cheer.  For many, however, the holidays produce tremendous stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression.  Perhaps they are a painful reminder of a loved one lost.  Maybe this is the first Christmas following a painful divorce.  Maybe you’re having difficulty accepting that certain holiday traditions and rituals may not survive in your new blended family.  Or maybe you lay awake at night wondering how you will provide a happy holiday for your children following a recent layoff in the family.  Whatever the reason, know that you are not alone in your feelings.  You should also know there are steps you can take toward creating a harmonious holiday for the entire family in spite of circumstances.
1.  Acknowledge your feelings.  Recognize it is ok to feel sad or lonely.  It may even be a necessary part of the grieving process if you recently lost someone you love.
2.  Set realistic expectations.  The holidays won’t necessarily turn out as rosy as they do in our favorite holiday classic movies.  Remind yourself you cannot do everything (and neither can your spouse).  Set small goals and keep an open mind about compromising some traditions if it means keeping the peace for everyone.
3.  Be good to yourself!  That may mean going to bed early to fight off fatigue or monitoring your eating and drinking consumption so you don’t overindulge all season long (which only adds to feelings of guilt and depression).  Being good to yourself also means taking a few moments each day to just breathe and remember you can do this!  You deserve the break.
4.  Reach out for professional help.  There’s no shame in needing a helping hand through the holidays.  It may be just what your family needs to navigate its way through the season.

Stressed Out Children

stressed out childrenChildren and teens, as much as adults, need ways to deal with sources of stress.
Their world is full of new and often stressful situations over which they have little or no control.
Even children growing up in the most secure and stable families must cope with situations that we never imagined.
Children are taught to conform to societal expectations by learning to control urges and impulses that are deemed unacceptable. As they mature, they are expected to give up childish behavior to manage increasingly challenging tasks.
Furthermore, children must learn to cope with peers who can be cruel and generally difficult.
Don’t forget that children have very little or no say in most all crucial aspects in their lives. They have no control of where they will live, their parent’s marital relationship, how they fit in with peers or even who will teach them in school.
Finally, children today have much of their time scheduled with multiple extracurricular activities while being expected to maintain honor roll status. All of these things can be stressors. Even when a child’s difficulties are “normal” for children of his or her age, parents must be careful not to dismiss or minimize their importance.

hope & restorationWhen the dark clouds of life roll in and settle over you, it’s important to have someone who can help you tap into your inner strength so that you can survive the storm.  At The Empowerment Group, that’s exactly what we do. We welcome you to explore the possibilities that are available to you. Restore a sense of balance and direction to your life. Whether through therapy, through Family Mediation, or through relationship counseling, we can help you find a path toward resolution and relief. Empowering your life! The Empowerment Group wants to help you bring balance, peace and happiness to your life even when the storms roll in and you feel all hope is gone. We can help:
  • Mediation
  • Therapy
  • Relationships
  • Pre-Marital Counseling



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