The Jones family has been under a great deal of stress lately. Dad’s corporation is downsizing and jobs may be eliminated. Mr. Jones could be one of those jobs. Mrs. Jones’ mother passed away suddenly, leaving a deep vacuum of support and help. The children are struggling with finding their places in a new school. Basically, stress levels are high and the parents are asking what the warning signs of undue stress are for both children and parents.
Signs of stress: You know you need to do something about stress when…
- eating habits or sleeping patterns change
- people feel tired and down most of the time and there is no physical explanation
- significant weight gain or loss is noticed
- people feel anxious and irritable more often than normal
- someone complains of consistent headaches and or stomachaches, a signal that the body is in overload
- a child or parent begins abusing alcohol or using drugs
- children skip school, have failing grades, or begin to isolate
- promiscuous or risk behavior begins to emerge
Stress hits us all at different times in our lives. Once we know the signs, then we need to act on reducing that stress. God is your number one stress reducing resource. Scriptures tell us to cry out to God, to cast our cares on Him and He will relieve the burden and bring peace. God promises His presence and that He will walk us through stressful times.Remember, He is an ever present help in times of trouble.
When stress gets high, deal with it. Once stress is noticed, it is time for families to regroup and plan ways to reduce stress. For the Jones family, dad could get more information on the downsizing, begin to put his resume out there and look for a new job should he need it. Mom could go to a grief group and identify other people in her life who can support and help her. The kids can see a school counselor or a teacher who could help with adjustment and involvement in their new school. Proactive strategies help! You move forward and respond to the changes stress often brings.
During stress, doing things together and having a little fun goes a long way to reduce stress. Families can watch a funny movie, pray together, play a game, take walks, attend free community activities, etc. When life throws us serious stressors, we can create moments of distraction and relaxation in order to relieve the constant pressure.
So pay attention to signs of stress. Then have a few strategies to relieve some of the pressure like laughter and mini breaks from stress. Most of all, put your trust and faith in God to walk you through the stressful time, knowing He is with you and will give you what you need to come out the other side.