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Managing Stress


You may feel more stress than usual because of your diagnosis and dealing with health changes. Ongoing anxiety, skewed thinking and negative impact on mood can be very stressful. This simple information may help you.  You can speak to your team social worker or team member for more support. 

Recognizing the Signs & Symptoms of Stress

  • Muscle tension
  • Stiff neck
  • Cold sweaty hands
  • Fatigue
  • Tension headaches
  • Facial tics
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart racing
  • Back pain
  • Jaw tension
  • Nervous stomach
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Teeth grinding
  • Appetite changes
  • Anxiety 
  • Fear
  • Irritable
  • Hopelessness
  • Helplessness
  • Impatience
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Overwhelmed
  • Apathy
  • Loss of concentration
  • Change in appetite
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Forgetfulness
  • Angry outbursts
  • Decline in productivity
  • Social withdrawal
  • Indecisive
  • Increased use or alcohol or drugs
  • Increased use of caffeine or tobacco

*This content was originally created by BC Cancer and repurposed by BC Renal

Tips for managing symptoms of stress
  • Check your thinking: Sometimes we get carried away with our thoughts and worries. We may think that all of our thoughts are facts and the truth, but sometimes they may be more exaggerated ways of thinking. Ask yourself or a trusted friend or family if your worries, fears, frustrations are reasonable or perhaps excessive; they may be able to give their perspective. Remind yourself that you cannot solve all your problems at once and some problems often have more than one answer.
  • Keep a realistic and appropriate perspective: Remember that some things take time to work out. This does not mean that some challenges will end or go away, but it does help you remember that not everything has to be dealt with immediately. Stepping back temporarily also gives you an opportunity to reflect upon all the alternatives and options. When we are anxious and stressed, our thinking is often not as clear. 
  • Stay focused: If you allow yourself time to think about all of your problems, needs and wants at any given moment, it can become very overwhelming. Instead of getting lost in all your thoughts, stay focused on one thing at a time. When you find your thoughts wandering, bring yourself back to the present; then, return to the one thing that you have chosen as your focus for that moment. You may want to write in a journal, for self-reflection and to talk to a support professional to help sort through your many thoughts. 
  • Manage your time: Manage your time and tasks to accomplish what you can. Make a realistic list of tasks to do. Prioritize and schedule your tasks into   your day. Break larger tasks down into  smaller components when possible. You may want to keep an appointment book with times for your regular obligations and commitments. Write down anything that you must remember to include in that appointment, such as questions to ask your healthcare professional.
  • Maintain a flexible attitude:  See what is in and out of your control. Determine what you can do to manage your situation. Having a positive, flexible and hopeful outlook can motivate you to do the best you can in your personal situation. 

If you need additional support in managing stress you can contact your BC Renal social worker or use our Managing Stress Toolbox.

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SOURCE: Managing Stress ( )
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