The stress of managing a military career, caring for children in a military family or steeping up to the plate as a military spouse can be overwhelming. And it’s easy to miss the signs of stress if your plate is full. The most important thing to remember about stress is that situations that create stress are as unique as you are. Your personality, genes and experiences influence how you deal with stress.
Most people have symptoms of stress every day. Many times we accept them as part of a normal day. In order to reduce the wear and tear upon the body, one must first increase awareness. Stress symptoms include mental, social and physical manifestations. Those include exhaustion, loss of/increased appetite, headaches, depression, sleeplessness, and oversleeping. Increased use of alcohol or drugs, and other compulsive behaviors are often signs. Feelings of alarm, frustration or apathy may also accompany stress. Deployment preparation and return are major stress issues for military servicemen and families. These stressors are natural reactions to life in the military and are being discussed openly with emphasis on awareness and support. Even servicemen and women who haven’t been in direct combat can experience similar stress reactions by being involved with related war activities. Families and children experience stress in anticipation of a possible deployment.
Frequently Asked Questions about Stress
Q: What is stress?
A: Stress is opposite of relaxation which involves emotional and physical symptoms that may be unexplained and can be of concern to the individual or to their families. Remember…we are all different, so the symptoms will be different.
Q: How does stress affect health?
A: Individuals may experience a number of physical symptoms such as sweaty palms, racing heart, muscle tension just to mention a few. Stress can be related to many physical problems, such as diabetes, ulcers or high blood pressure and many more. Some people may cope with stress by overeating, smoking, drinking or isolation. Stress can impair a person’s ability to pay attention to daily life. It could escalate into a cycle of stress that impacts relationships and functioning on the job.
Q: How common is stress?
A: Stress is an inevitable part of everyday life. An estimated 75% of all office visits to a primary care physician in the U.S. is for stress-related complaints.
Q: How do people cope with stress?
A: There are many ways to combat stress, from taking a deep breath to readjusting the way you think while under stress. Each person should find their own strategy that works for them. Here are a few “tried and true” hints:
- Take care of yourself: good exercise, adequate sleep and well-balanced meals
- Develop friendships
If you would like to talk more about stress and ways to deal, please call the FFSC at 504-678-7569.