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Managing Stress

Many people do not think about stress as part of their every day life.

- Stress may result from different problems such as finances, family issues, relationships, work, and health related issues.
- Survivors of a stroke and their caregivers often feel less in control of their environment and situation. This increases stress.
- Stress has both positive and negative effects.
- Following a stroke, these effects may become more noticeable.

stressed

Stress can have negative consequences on
your over all health. Signs of stress are:


- Poor sleep
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Fast breathing
- Depression
-
Tense muscles
- Decreased appetite
- Pain
- Frustration
- Memory loss
- Lack of concentration
- Anxiety
- Anger
Stress can be positive as it:


- Increases productivity
- Compels us to do a good job at work or on projects
- May increase attention to details and surroundings


Being aware of these signs of stress is essential in dealing with stress.

There are several techniques to help control stress.
Participating in exercise as a good technique for stress control. Ten minutes of exercise daily such as walking, stretching, or moving your shoulders and arms will help reduce stress. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER [doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant] BEFORE STARTING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM.
family
- Maintain adequate nutrition by eating three balanced meals every day. Limit use of caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and salt.
-Get enough sleep and rest.
-Identify your regular sleep and rest needs.
-Relaxation and meditation such as yoga
-Modify your daily routine to accommodate both sleep and rest.
-Learn relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, imagery, meditation, hot baths, massage, or music and relaxation tapes.
-Balance your time between work activities and fun activities.
-Create changes and different routines, if able.
-Take time for yourself, if you are able.
-Keep in contact with friends and family.
-Seek support from family, friends, and spiritual community.
-Go to a movie and out for dinner.
-Take time to discuss your concerns with loved ones and friends.
-Vent frustrations and have a healthy discussion about your concerns to help reduce stress.
-Talk with ministers, priests, or counselors.


Everyone experiences stress. Coupled with an existing health condition(s), stress can be even more dangerous. It is important to recognize the early signs of stress and develop skills to handle it. Take time to review daily routines and stressful events and make a plan to help deal with stress on a daily basis.

Additional Information:

The following are some web sites to provide you with more information about managing stress:

Tips for Caregivers: Stroke

Stress Management


References:

Lehrer, P.M., Woolfolk, R.L., & Sime, W.E. (2007). Principles and practice of stress management (3rd ed.). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Stress management. (2009). Retrieved from http://medicinenet.com/stress_management_techniques/article.htm

Stress management for stroke caregivers. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.rorc.research.va.gov/rescue/RESCUE_Newsletter_June2009.pdf

Stress management: How to reduce, prevent, and cope with stress. (2008). Retrieved from http://helpguide.org

The Care Guide. (2011). Stroke recovery and the caregiver. Retrieved from http://www.thecareguide.com/Health/ArticleDetail.aspx?ArticleID=425

Developed in 2002 by Michael Finn, BSN, RN at the University of Toledo for Caring~Web©.

Revised 2010, 2012


Last Updated: 6/17/14