How we met – A decade and to forever…

On this edition of ‘how we met’, I have the privilege of sharing Shweta and Amar’s love story. They are parents from my little ones (who’s not so little anymore) school. Shweta and I bonded over our love for writing. She’s a working mum and a blogger by the side and her sense of humour is out of this world.

I find her writing style intriguing and I hope you do too, you can check out some of her blog posts here. You’ll definitely be hearing more from Shweta on the blog. In the meantime please enjoy her beautiful how we met story – a decade and forever.

Thank you, Shweta. 🙏🏽

A decade of Love(10 years).

Last year my husband and I celebrated 10 years of togetherness. That’s a decade with one person! And the first thought that comes to my mind is wtaf! Like where has the time gone?!

From university students to becoming parents, we’ve done everything together. We’ve grown up together from the fresh-faced kids we were at university. Gone are the days of staying in a cinema for the entire day because it was too hot outside and we had a day off! We have spent entire weekends at the cinema in 2009 because of a combination of an unbearable summer and not much else to do!

So what happens when I begin to reminisce about the last decade? For one, I begin to resent the busyness of life in the now. I wish for an hour when we both can be with each other without the kids needing us or us discussing regular routine life. To be able to see each other without the parent or teammate hat on..as just us. The foundation on which rests our life and legacy. I want us to clean our glasses and see each other as the people we fell in love with. The gangly boy and the bespectacled nerdy girl.

A decade and to forever Shweta and Amar
Shweta and Amar

I met Amar on 4th Oct 2008 and he was the 4th person I met in the UK since landing there that morning. I was flustered and jet-lagged, eager to drop my bags in university accommodation and call it a day. I walked into the university flat and saw the guy, big glasses and a red and black checked shirt eating cereal out of a football bowl. Turns out, we were the only two Indians in the flat. In 12 people, the two of us found someone we could talk to, relate our troubles to and cook Indian food together.

Food has been a massive part of our relationship. We were known as the cooker and dishwasher pair at university! I cooked and he chopped and cleaned! It was a good deal until he caught on and decided to learn to cook by himself! All the cooking experiments that we both subjected each other to, are hilarious- notably, in the early years of our relationship, I really wanted to cook Upma, a roasted semolina dish with spices, onions and chillies. This dish needs hot water added to it, in small bursts as it expands and absorbs water as you stir it. When I made it the very first time, I kept adding water and it kept getting bigger and bigger. With no one to guide me, I got super nervous and spend half the evening in the toilet as the stress triggered my IBS! 10 years later, when our son was born and my mother in law was here to take care of us, one of the first things Amar learned to cook was Upma, because I love it and had never had the courage to cook it since that dreadful first attempt!

So what are the things I’ve learned after loving and sometimes hating the man I’ve loved for nearly 11 years now:

Love is NOT all fun and roses: All couples learn this about 7-8 months into the relationship, it’s not all about kisses and passion. You’re actually with another human being who has opinions, ideas and habits that you will find infuriating. In fact, if you find yourself agreeing to everything your partner says and does, run for the hills. Your relationship has to be worked on, and like another work- it’s at times, very very hard to work at and you do it because you love them.

💞

No one will love you the way you want to be loved– Yep, I said it! As two very very different individuals, our love languages are miles apart. Amar is all about actions – he will cook for me, do the laundry, cuddle on the sofa, expect me to continuously stroke his arm as he drives or sits next to me and will cuddle me at night. But ask him to say it in words and I’ll get nothing- nada. After years and years of saying I love you on the phone and at the end of most nights and fights, he says it now. His love language is clearly all about actions and doing- whereas I’m a words and gestures person. I find a funny picture and I’ll send it to him. Go crazy on his birthday with food and gifts and he won’t bat an eyelid, because that’s not his thing. Coming to an understanding that all love is expressed and that you have to see it to know it, is a very very important lesson I learnt. He loves me immensely, just in his own way!

💝

Give each other space– As an only child, I’m used to being on my own and in fact, love my company. Being one of those couples who do everything together has never been us. Amar meditates, runs and cycles- all by himself. He ran the London marathon in 2017 and I cheered him like crazy. I paint, do life coaching, blogging and bake. And he supports me wholeheartedly. We each take time off to do these things and come back to life refreshed and recharged. Life tends to get too busy and taking a break to find your centre is key to a happy and thriving relationship.

💕

Be strong for each other- Every human being struggles, even the most sorted person. After the birth of our kids, I had postnatal depression. Amar was there for me and helped me through it and got me the best possible care. Through all illnesses and family issues, we’ve stood by each other and kept the other person strong. We have a deal- one person breaks down and the other holds them up.

💖

Always know what’s at the core- We all have flaws and challenges and as a couple, it’s sometimes hard to keep your head on straight when you’re arguing. And boy have Amar and I had our share of arguments! Everything from stinky farts to accounting to how to arrange the dishwasher has been argued upon and we will continue to argue about everything under the sun. What we never forget and lose sight of is what is our core. At the core is a relationship that is forged on mutual trust, a love that has endured everything from unemployment to hospitalisations and a lot of change. We remain solid and will always weather the storm.

A decade and to forever Sheta and Amar
Shweta and her beautiful family

Since we got together in our early twenties, we’ve grown together, found each other and build a life and put down roots. Our journey through the first decade of adulthood has taught us so much and we only hope to endure in love and togetherness- ending up on a bench, in a park, all old and grey, arguing about the right way to feed ducks while the sunsets.

Shweta💖

Read other how we met stories here and here.

Read more from Shweta here.

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Health Talk With Adeola

health talk with Adeola

SKIN TALK: IT’S SUMMER TIME, LOTS OF SUN AND LOTS OF FUN

I have heard several times that dark skinned people feel they are protected from skin cancer and as such would not bother to use sun cream or hats or protect their skin in whatever form from the sun. Whilst it is true that the melanin present in abundance in the dark skinned offers some protection against some forms of skin cancer, it is also known is that the most severe form of skin cancer that is likely to spread and therefore more difficult to treat and in essence cure is commoner in the dark skinned population. Therefore I found it imperative to discuss this topic both for the benefit of both fair and dark skinned people and to help dispel the belief that dark skinned individuals do not need extra sun protection for their skin.
I hope you find my discussion on skin cancer below useful.

SKIN CANCER
health talk with Adeola

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Around 100,000 cases are diagnosed each year. The main cause of all types of skin cancer is ultraviolet (UV) light which comes from the sun or tanning beds. The main types of skin cancer are Melanoma, Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), Squamous cell carcinoma-SCC)
Anyone can develop skin cancer but you’re particularly at risk if you have fair skin, lots of moles or freckles, red or fair hair, pale coloured eyes, used tanning beds, a family history of skin cancer or had skin cancer before, or take medication which affects your immune system. As against popular belief dark skinned people do get skin cancer and the most aggressive type of skin cancer are commoner in dark skinned people.

Get to know your skin

Getting to know your own skin will help you spot changes early and it’s important to know what’s normal. Moles and Freckles are common and most are harmless. Check your skin once a month and report any changes without delay to your doctor.

Moles:

Moles are small, coloured spots on the skin. Most people have them and they are usually nothing to worry about unless they change size, shape or colour.
It is normal for:

  • Babies to be born with moles.
  • New moles to appear: especially in children and teenagers.
  • Moles to fade or disappear as you get older.
  • Moles to get slightly darker during pregnancy.
Normal Moles
Melanoma

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer with around six people dying every day. Common places to develop melanomas in men are the back and chest, and in women on the legs and arms, but changes can appear anywhere.
Any changes to moles should be checked by a doctor. The ABCDEguide is an easy way to remember some of the most common things to look for.

Other Types of skin cancer : BCC and SCC


These are some of the most common types of cancer in the world. They may first appear as:

  • A new, unexplained skin change which appears suddenly.
  • A spot or sore which continues to itch, hurt, scab, crust or bleed for more than four weeks or does not heal within four weeks.
  • Ulcerated areas or patches where the skin has broken down and does not heal within four weeks.

There are two main types of this cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). SCC is fast growing while BCC develops slowly. If you notice any of the below changes to your skin you should discuss it with a doctor.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
health talk wiyh Adeola
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
What to do if you notice changes like these

If you notice any changes in your skin like the above, go to your GP as soon as possible. Lots of GPs are now able to send a photo to a specialist dermatologist, which can make diagnosis (and any subsequent treatment) much quicker.

When should I use sun cream?

Check out the Global Solar UV Index. This is a measure of the UV radiation level at the Earth’s surface and indicates the potential for skin damage. The greater the UV index value the greater the harm to skin. You need to protect your skin when the UV index is 3 or more. If you visit the Met Office’s website, they have a UV forecast on their homepage that you can customise to your location.

health talk with Adeola

What does SPF mean?

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) tells us the amount of protection sun creams offer against UVB radiation. It gives an idea of how much longer skin that’s covered with the sun cream takes to redden in response to UV, compared with unprotected skin.

What are UVA and UVB?

Both are types of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. UVB is the main cause of sunburn. UVA affects the elastin in the skin leading to wrinkles, leathery skin and brown pigmentation, and skin cancer.

The UVA seal (a logo with ‘UVA’ inside a circle) shows protection against UVA and meets the EU recommendation for sun creams to offer a UVA protection factor equivalent to at least a third of their SPF.

health talk with Adeola
How much sun cream should I apply?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 35ml for the total body – seven teaspoons (or a shot glass full): one for the face/head and neck, one for each arm and leg, and one each for your front and back. The hand on the left shows the average amount of sunscreen we typically apply in a single full-body application. The two hands is the amount we should be applying.

health talk with Adeola

Look after your skin.

Best Wishes,
Dr Adeola.


Acknowledgements:

Tenovus Cancer Care, Cancer Research UK, Patient.co.uk, www.nhs.uk

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All About Abuse – types, signs and prevention…

All about Abuse

In light of recent events regarding sexual, domestic as well as child abuse, I thought it imperative to write about abuse.

It is important for everyone to understand what abuse is, types and how to detect it.

What is Abuse

Abuse according to Wikipedia is the improper usage or treatment of a thing, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. It also means the violent treatment of a person or animal. It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst cases can result in death. There are different types of abuse, and abuse in whatever form often leads to devastating outcomes.

Abuse can happen to anybody – young, old, male, female, animals even objects can be abused. Abuse is always wrong and can be difficult to talk about. This can be because of fear of stigmatisation, shame, guilt and confusion.

all about abuse

Abuse is often about power and the person who abuses uses that power to get an individual to do things they don’t want to do. It is hurtful either mentally or physically.

Abuse isn’t always carried out by a stranger, it can be by a familiar person, which can make it hard to speak out. The danger is, family or others who don’t know about the abuse will think it is safe to leave the victim with this person. This is why it is important to be aware of any abuse as soon as possible

Abuse is always wrong and if you tell someone, they can help to make it stop.

There are many different types of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.

  1. Physical Abuse: This is when someone hurts another on purpose. It is the most common type of abuse and certainly the easiest form of abuse to spot as it is non-accidental harm to the body. It can range from physical injuries such as hitting, pushing, wounding etc. to things such as misuse of medication, inappropriate use of restraint and dehydration/malnourishment.
  2. Sexual Abuse: This is when an individual is touched where they shouldn’t be or forced, tricked, or pressured to take part in a sexual activity. Sexual abuse includes being touched, kissed or forced to have sex without consent and often by an older person.
  3. Psychological Abuse: also known as Verbal or Emotional Abuse is when an individual’s self-esteem and emotional well being is being damaged. It is deliberately causing emotional and mental pain. Verbal abuse is when an individual is being constantly shouted at and told horrible and demeaning things. While emotional abuse involves deliberately trying to scare, humiliate, isolate or ignore an individual. Emotional abuse can be part of other abuse and it can also happen on its own.
  4. Neglect: This is when a person – usually an elderly, young or dependent person is not being looked after or kept healthy.
  5. Modern Slavery: Modern Slavery is an international crime. Slave Masters and Traffickers will deceive, coerce and force adults into a life of abuse, callous treatment and slavery. It includes human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, such as escort work, prostitution and pornography. Debt bondage – being forced to work to pay off debts that realistically they never will be able to pay etc is another form of modern slavery.
  6. Domestic Abuse: this could be a kind of ‘physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence, it, however, takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and forms a pattern of cohesive and controlling behaviour’. People should be aware that domestic violence is not always physical and also includes forced marriage and so-called ‘honour crimes’.
  7. Child Abuse: Child abuse is more common than we like to think and could happen to any child anywhere. Statistics show that every year thousands of children are abused physically by a parent or someone known. Child abuse is characterised by any actions of a carer that could potentially harm a child’s mental or physical health. Research shows that many aggressors were abused themselves as children. Child abuse, unfortunately, could take the form of any of the abuse types on this list including child labour and exploitation.
Abuse

Abuse is usually about power, it involves someone using their power to get another person to do what they do not want to do. Abusive behaviour can have a significant impact on our mental health and well-being – not only at the time of the abuse, but there can be lasting effects throughout a person’s life.

Abuse

Signs of Abuse

Child Abuse
  • unexplained changes in behaviour or personality
  • becoming withdrawn and isolated
  • seeming anxious
  • becoming uncharacteristically aggressive
  • lacks social skills and has few friends, if any
  • poor bond or relationship with a parent
  • knowledge of adult issues inappropriate for their age
  • running away or going missing
  • always choosing to wear clothes which cover their body.
  • Expressions of anger, frustration, fear or anxiety
  • An air of silence when a particular person is present
  • Insomnia
Abuse
Sexual Abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Uncooperative and aggressive behaviour
  • A change of appetite
  • weight loss/gain
  • Signs of distress: tearfulness, anger
  • Bruising, particularly to the thighs, buttocks and upper arms and marks on the neck
  • Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Bleeding, pain or itching in the genital area
  • Unusual difficulty in walking or sitting
  • Foreign bodies in genital or rectal openings
  • Infections, unexplained genital discharge, or sexually transmitted diseases
  • Pregnancy in a woman who is unable to consent to sexual intercourse
  • The uncharacteristic use of explicit sexual language or significant changes in sexual behaviour or attitude
  • Incontinence not related to any medical diagnosis
  • Self-harming
  • Poor concentration, withdrawal, sleep disturbance
  • Excessive fear/apprehension of, or withdrawal from, relationships
  • Fear of receiving help with personal care
  • Reluctance to be alone with a particular person
Physical Abuse
  • Physical evidence of violence such as bruising, cuts, broken bones
  • Verbal abuse and humiliation in front of others
  • Fear of outside intervention
  • Damage to home or property
  • Isolation – not seeing friends and family
    Limited access to money
  • No explanation for injuries or inconsistency with the account of what happened
  • Injuries are inconsistent with the person’s lifestyle
  • Bruising, cuts, welts, burns and/or marks on the body or loss of hair in clumps
  • Frequent injuries
  • Unexplained falls
  • Subdued or changed behaviour in the presence of a particular person
  • Signs of malnutrition
  • Failure to seek medical help.
  • Low self-esteem
Abuse
Men and boys can also be victims of abuse
Signs of Psychological Abuse
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Loss of sleep
  • Unexpected or unexplained change in behaviour
Signs of Neglect
  • Malnutrition
  • Untreated medical problems
  • Bed sores
  • Confusion
  • Over-sedation
  • Deprivation of meals may constitute “wilful neglect”

Conclusion

Abuse is never good and we all should do everything possible to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone around us. Let’s all be aware of the signs so that we can look out for it not just with our children, but with their friends, neighbours, employees, colleagues etc. You may help save a life by being observant.

During my research on abuse, I came upon a type of abuse which may not seem so common but is apparently very common now in our society.

Religious/Spiritual Abuse

“For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,everyone deals falsely.
They have healed the wound of my people lightly,saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.

Jeremiah 6:13-14

Spiritual abuse revolves around a person’s spirituality or religion. This type of abuse includes attacking another’s belief system, denying access to a house of worship or forced participation in a cult and exploitation

Spiritual abuse’ covers a wide variety of behaviours, but can be summarised as the use of spiritual authority or spiritual means in order to demean, manipulate, control or exploit someone. It involves Psychological manipulation and could be intentional or innocent. Sadly spiritual abuse could take the form of financial exploitation as well as sexual abuse and parents should be observant of their children and relationships with spiritual/religious leaders as well as religious brothers and sisters.

My major concern is on child abuse. It’s hard to believe the stories coming out recently about sexual (child abuse) that has been going on over the years. It gladdens my heart that victims are now finding their voices and talking about their experience thereby finding healing as well as helping people know what to look out for.

Victim Blaming

If you’re one of the people who blame victims, please desist from this. You were not present and have no idea what victims have endured over the years. Some successfully block such encounters but not all can do this. Whilst I’m aware that some ladies lie about it, most of the cases are true and the victims should be supported not victimised.

Predators

Predators are people who ruthlessly exploit others. A common trend in sexual abuse stories is the predators are usually known to the victim. Predators are usually people children are familiar with and have access to the children. We’ve seen sad cases of fathers, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters as well as domestic help molesting children. The best a parent can do for their child is to be present. If you can’t be present most of the time please be observant and ask questions. If you can, put CCTV around the house and any other security measure you can.

Please be aware that female employees also abuse, don’t let your guards down because you have a female maid, female maids have also been known to abuse both male and female children sexually, emotionally as well as physically.

Keypoints

  • Be accessible, let your child(ren) know they can tell you anything
  • Tell them about their body, let them know what part of the body is private and should never be touched by anyone.
  • Assure your children that there is nothing at all they do that can ever be too bad to tell you, let them know you’ll love them no matter what.
  • Teach your children to respect other peoples privacy and body.
  • Let your children know anyone who tells them to keep a secret should be reported.
  • Let them know they should scream if they find themselves in a situation they’re not comfortable with.
  • Do not leave your child(ren) alone with drivers, lesson teachers etc.

They’re so many things to look out for as we live in a wicked dark world, the best we can do is be vigilant. Ask questions, more questions and even more questions and don’t make any topic a taboo.
Please beware of grooming.

Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them. Children and young people can be groomed online, in person or both – by a stranger or someone they know. This could be a family member, a friend or someone who has targeted them – like a teacher, faith group leader or sports coach.

It can be difficult to tell if a child is being groomed – the signs aren’t always obvious and may be hidden. Older children might behave in a way that seems to be “normal” teenage behaviour, masking underlying problems.

Signs of grooming include:
  • being very secretive about how they’re spending their time, including when online
  • having an older boyfriend or girlfriend
  • having money or new things like clothes and mobile phones that they can’t or won’t explain
  • underage drinking or drug taking
  • spending more or less time online or on their devices
  • being upset, withdrawn or distressed
  • sexualised behaviour language or an understanding of sex that’s not appropriate for their age
  • spending more time away from home or going missing for periods of time.

A child is unlikely to know they’ve been groomed. They might be worried or confused and less likely to speak to an adult they trust. If a teacher is taking interest in your child and showing them favour be very careful and report to school authorities if it’s getting out of hand. Let your child know to inform you if any teacher is giving them preferential treatment.

The world is innately evil, abuse didn’t start today and unfortunately won’t end anytime soon. The best we can do is empower our children by giving them information so they know what to do if they find themselves in such situations. Please be a present parent and an ever-ready listening ear to your children, that’s the best service you can offer them.

Good luck to us all.

Recommended books for children

Aunty Lulu

Recommended reads on safety

https://www.myauntylulu.com/emergency-101-how-informed-should-children-be/

https://www.myauntylulu.com/drug-addiction/

CREDITS

https://www.tameside.gov.uk/AdultServices/Safeguarding-Adults-Signs-and-Symptoms-of-Abuse

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/

https://www.scie.org.uk/safeguarding/adults/introduction/types-and-indicators-of-abuse

https://www.personnelchecks.co.uk/info-centre/safeguarding-hub/types-of-abuse/

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Mum my Superhero book Launch

Mum my Superhero book Launch

I recently had to travel to Nigeria to launch my lovely gift book for mums – ‘mum my superhero’.

It was launched in Abuja and then a book reading and signing was done in Lagos Nigeria. It was a wonderful and action-packed 12 days for me and I’ll tell you all about it.

In case anyone is wondering what the whole fuss is about, is it not just this little book? You may be wondering… It’s more than just the book, it’s the hard work that was put into it from start to finish the self-doubt and all. Moreover, not only did I launch the book, but it was to me like the launch of the Aunty Lulu brand.

Reading Sessions

My trip included reading sessions at schools both in Lagos and Abuja. This was very important because I intend to develop a children’s series based on the characters in my book.

There was an interactive mum’s chat at the Lagos event. The panellists each spoke about the role of Mum as a confidante. How it changes with the children’s age and how to manage it when the children have spouses. Attendees asked general questions about parenting and I’m pretty sure every attendee learned something new.

Regulars on the blog will be familiar with Mo and her mum Tola, as their beautiful story was shared on the blog a few weeks ago. I had the pleasure of meeting both of them and all I can say is that Mo is a ray of sunshine.

Tola shared with us the work she’s been doing to create awareness about down syndrome in Nigeria. She shared some heartbreaking stories about how some of the children are treated. There certainly is a lot to be done about special needs education in Nigeria.

It was all great, a really wonderful experience and I remain grateful to God and really can’t thank all of you my friends, family and readers enough.

Based on how enriching the mum’s chat session was, I have decided to do a yearly program for mums to sit and talk. To hear and be heard, to teach and to learn. This yearly program is going to be called “I am Mum”. There’ll be something for every mum, stay home mum, working mum, single mum etc. Every mum is welcome.
I’ll tell you more about this event in the coming weeks.

Book Stockists

Please don’t forget to order your copy from me or any of these stockists; Amazon, Troubador, Gift Source Abuja, Tabitha Kids Abuja, Kwamuhle Lagos.

Thanks again for your support and always remember to leave a comment.

Aunty Lulu

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Health Talk with Adeola

health talk with Adeola
RECOGNISING STRESS AND HOW TO MANAGE IT

Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. Stress is a common experience in everyday life. We feel stress in response to situations that we find difficult or challenging. People have different ways of reacting to stress, so a situation that feels stressful to one person may be motivating to someone else.

Whilst a bit of stress can help to motivate us to reach our goals; too much stress can be bad for our bodies and minds. Feeling over-burdened at work, reacting to a major life event, and coping with a difficult situation we were not expecting are some examples of things people report as causing a high level of stress. Stressful life events do not necessarily have to be negative events. For example, events such as starting a new job, moving house and getting married can all be stressful. Overall these positive and negative pressures of life turn into stress when you feel unable to cope.

Telltale signs of stress building up include:

  • Not being able to sleep properly with worries going through your mind.
  • Minor problems causing you to feel impatient or irritable.
  • Not being able to concentrate due to many things going through your mind.
  • Being unable to make decisions.
  • Drinking or smoking more.
  • Not enjoying food so much.
  • Being unable to relax and always feeling that something needs to be done.
  • Headaches and muscle tension in the neck and shoulders
  • Feeling tense. Sometimes ‘fight or flight’ hormones are released causing physical symptoms. These include:
  •  Feeling sick (nauseated).
  • A ‘knot’ in the stomach
  • Feeling sweaty with a dry mouth.
  • A ‘thumping’ heart (palpitations).

Signs and symptoms of stress overload

health talk with Adeola
Cognitive symptoms:                                          
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
Emotional symptoms:
  • Depression or general unhappiness
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Moodiness, irritability, or anger
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Other mental or emotional health problems
health talk with Adeola
Physical symptoms:
  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heart rate
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds or flu
Behavioral symptoms:
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

Effects of chronic stress

If you tend to get stressed out frequently, like many of us in today’s demanding world, your body may exist in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include:

  1. Depression and anxiety
  2. Pain of any kind
  3. Sleep problems
  4. Autoimmune diseases
  5. Digestive problems
  6. Skin conditions, such as eczema
  7. Heart disease
  8. Weight problems
  9. Reproductive issues
  10. Thinking and memory problems

Improving your ability to handle stress.

  1. Realise when it is causing a problem and identify the causes: An important step in tackling stress is to realise when it is a problem for you and make a connection between the physical and emotional signs you are experiencing and the pressures you are faced with.
  2. Review your lifestyle: Are you taking on too much? Can you do some things in a more leisurely way?
  • Eat Healthily: There is also a growing amount of evidence showing how food can affect our mood.
  • Be aware of your smoking and drinking: If possible, try to cut right down on smoking and drinking. They may seem to reduce tension, but in fact they can make problems worse. Alcohol and caffeine can increase feelings of anxiety.
  • Exercise: well proven to reduce stress.
  • Take Time Out: To relax and do some self care.
  • Get some restful sleep: Relieves tiredness and helps you think clearly to deal with stress.
  • Build supportive relationships: friends or family can offer help and practical advice can support you in managing stress. Joining a club, enrolling on a course, or volunteering can all be good ways of expanding your social networks and encourage you to do something different.

Treatment

health talk with Adeola
health talk with Adeola

Some people find they have times in their lives when stress becomes severe or difficult to cope with. See a doctor if stress  becomes worse. Further treatments  eg pyschological therapies or medication may be appropriate.

Take away bite:

If you continue to feel overwhelmed by stress, seeking professional help can support you in managing effectively. Do not be afraid to seek professional help if you feel that you are no longer able to manage things on your own. Many people feel reluctant to seek help as they feel that it is an admission of failure. This is not the case and it is important to get help as soon as possible so you can begin to feel better. Remember stress is a risk factor for and can precipitate physical and mental health problems so seek help when you feel stressed and are unable to cope and/or function.

Best wishes,

Dr Adeola.

Health Talk with Adeola

Acknowledgements: NHS inform, Mental Health Foundation, Patient UK, Help Guide. American Psychiatry Association

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