Check out this fantastic article from Beyond Blue on the National Eating Disorders Collaboration website.
It has links to a great factsheet and also a new beyondblue ‘how to have a conversation’ webpage. The link is below.
PACE is a recommended organisation to contact for help on the factsheet
Click here to check out the article.
The words pressure and stress are often used interchangeably, but do they actually mean the same thing?
When I think of pressure, I think of working under a set of demands that are stimulating and designed to stretch my abilities. Having this pressure on me to succeed is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s that feeling that I need to rise to the challenge and push myself further that often helps me achieve my goals, and I couldn’t do that with out some degree of pressure.
So how does this differ from the experience of stress?
Sometimes, when we’re under a lot of pressure, the demands that are placed on us by our situation can exceed our ability to cope effectively. When we reach this point, when we start to feel overstretched or strained by the demands placed upon us, that’s when we begin to drift into the realm of stress.
When trying to manage the challenge of recovery from anxiety, OCD or an eating disorder, being able to recognise the difference between pressure and stress can be a key skill to master.
So next time you’re facing a demanding set of circumstances, take a moment to reflect on what it is you’re facing and ask yourself: is this pressure or is this stress? Can I cope with the demands placed on me, and will those demands help me perform at my best, or do I need to ask for help or take a step back?
It’s good to set expectations for yourself. When we have a goal to work towards, the pressure association with achieving that goal can help us stay on track and fulfill our potential – this is a good thing! But if the demands we are placing on ourselves are exceeding our ability to cope, then stress and even anxiety can soon start to dictate our mood.
That’s when we need to learn to assert ourselves, and say ‘no!’
Festive season checklist
We understand Christmas and the holiday period can be a difficult time for some. It is important to remember planning and communication is the key. To help you cope with the stresses of this busy season we’ve come up with a check list you can follow to reduce the likelihood of feeling overwhelmed.
In the lead up to Christmas and New Year:
- Don’t be scared to say ‘No’ to invitations if you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Socialise with trusted friends & family prior to Christmas. Where possible, do this over a meal or snack to help prepare you for Christmas gatherings.
- Discuss with someone you trust how to cope with family interaction by predicting and preparing for social activities.
- Predict likely questions from family and friends you haven’t seen for a while and prepare some responses.
- Plan what you will do to give yourself ‘time out’ from the crowd – perhaps listen to music, going for a walk with a friend or family member, sitting in the sunshine.
When eating out
- Take time to plan and to think about who will be present and what food is likely to be served.
- If you don’t know what food will be served ask the person who will be preparing the meal, or ask a family member to find out for you to reduce your anxiety.
- Offer to take ‘safe’ food to share so you feel comfortable knowing there is something you can eat.
- Focus on enjoying the company of companions rather than what you are eating.
- Many people overeat on Christmas Day and often comment on the quantity they have so remember these comments are not aimed at you.
Communication reduces holiday stress. We all know how busy life gets in that hectic period around Christmas each year. For many families the changed routines and extra day to day activities means less time to talk and listen to one another. Ironically, effective communication is a perfect coping mechanism for families to deal with the holiday season’s increased stresses.
- Effective communication requires
- Sensitivity when listening and
- Ability to express your own thoughts and feelings. Ask yourself how you feel so that you can state your message as clearly, honestly and constructively as possible.
- Take the time to talk. Whether you’re driving, wrapping gifts, or doing household chores it is important to maintain communication in order to help create a memorable and pleasant holiday experience for the entire family.
(Adapted by Mary P and Lisa H, from Eating Disorders Victoria December 2011 and 2012 Newsletters)