Meeting a deadline at the office, preparing the house for company, cleaning out the garage ... we all have an ever-growing to-do list, and let's face it, sometimes our lives stress us out!
Over time these stressors can trigger a variety of health problems, including: • High blood pressure • Heart disease and stroke • Decreased immune defenses • Cancer • Stomach problems • Diminished brain functioning
Furthermore, stress overload can impact your body by causing headaches, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, change in libido, stomach upset and sleep problems. Stress impacts your mood, too, causing anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, irritability or anger, and sadness or depression. Finally, stress can create unhealthy behavior patterns, including under or overeating, angry outburst, drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use and social withdrawal.
There are stress management strategies you can explore to help reduce your tensions. • Connect with others – spend time with family and friends. • Stay positive – give yourself a pep talk. • Get physically active – take a walk or a bike ride. • Help others – volunteer. • Get enough Zzzzz – seven to nine hours is recommended. • Eat well – don't forget your fruits and veggies. • Take care of your spirit – meditate or try yoga. • Seek professional help if you need it.
When stress leads to depression In some, stress can lead to serious mental health problems such as depression. Depression is more than just a rough patch that you can snap out of. Also known as major depression, major depressive disorder and clinical depression, it's a serious condition that impacts every facet of your world — your social life, relationships, career, physical and overall self-worth and purpose. Screenings are often the first step in getting help and should be a routine part of your healthcare.
Those suffering from depression often experience some of these key symptoms: • A persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood • Sleeping too little, early morning awakening or sleeping too much • Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed • Restlessness or irritability • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions • Fatigue or loss of energy • Thoughts of death or suicide
Women are about twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. This two-to-one difference persists across racial, ethnic and economic divides, and it's found in most countries around the world. There are also biological, hormonal and psychological causes of depression that are specific to women, including premenstrual problems, pregnancy and fertility, postpartum depression, perimenopause and menopause, focusing on and rehashing negative feelings, stress, and body image issues.
With a few simple lifestyle changes, such as the support of friends and family, avoiding the urge to isolate yourself, exercising, getting in some sun time, eating healthy and relaxation techniques, you can help lessen your feelings of depression. If your symptoms persist, you may want to discuss medication, psychological counseling or other treatment options with your doctor. To find a doctor near you, contact St. Luke's Hospital Physician Referral Service at 314-205-6060 or 888-205-6556.
St. Luke's Hospital offers stress management programs throughout the year. For specific classes, check Classes and Events at stlukes-stl.com.
St. Luke's Hospital is a regional healthcare provider committed to improving the quality of life for patients and the community. It offers care in more than 60 specialty areas and was the only St. Louis hospital named an America's 50 Best Hospital™ by Healthgrades® in 2007 through 2014 based on quality.
"In the Sproutlight" is a sponsored opportunity. For more information on sponsorship, e-mail [email protected] or call 636-828-4246.