Signs of Stress
Stress can often be a hidden problem for both the individual experiencing it and more particularly for those around them. It hides itself within and is often missed or underestimated in its impact on people. Avoiding stress is impossible (and stressful!), being overwhelmed with stress is debilitating, managing stress is the best option and that is what we will try to help with.
To spot stress in someone, means tuning into their emotional or behavioural cues to identify potential problems. Be careful not to tag someone with the “stress” badge – it may be thrown straight back at you! Be considerate, offer support and be sensitive to their needs.
Some of the behavioural and emotional signs that may indicate a stress pattern include:
An irritable, sad, empty or cranky mood
Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
Withdrawal from friends and family, pervasive trouble in relationships
Changes in appetite, significant weight gain or loss
Getting too much or too little sleep
Physical agitation or slowness
Excessive, or repetitive behaviour e.g. nail biting
Making frequent critical comments about themselves
Behaviour problems at school or at home
Poor performance in school, a drop in grades, or frequent absences
Frequent complaints of physical pain (headaches, stomach), frequent visits to a school nurse
PARENTAL WARNING!!! When you observe these signs in young people, be careful jumping to the conclusion that stress is an issue. It may be just all part of being a normal teenager who is working through adolescence and learning about their place in this world. Let them enjoy growing up and making mistakes! Patterns of behaviour over a period of time give more indications of stress than one off events.