People often cannot adequately look at their lifestyle and detect problems that may be apparent to others. Some of the habits and choices that seem reasonable to a person may be dangerous in the long-term, leading to significant health problems. Analyzing my life, I can identify a lifestyle that puts me at risk of developing multiple serious conditions, most of which are connected to mental health and physical exertion (Klatt, Steinberg, & Duchemin, 2015).
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Due to my busy schedule and occupation that requires significant psychological and physical effort, I often experience stress. Although this issue may not appear as a pressing one, the inability to manage stress changes the mind’s perception of everyday activities and problems. I should pay more attention to self-care and develop a plan that will allow me to control my stress levels in order to avoid mental and physical health problems in the future.
Identified Health Warning
People in the nursing occupation often experience increased stress that is directly connected to their job. The environment in healthcare facilities requires workers to be compassionate of their patients, which leads to emotional fatigue (Raab, 2014). My problem can be linked to my profession as well – apart from being physically exhausted, I come home feeling emotionally drained as well. The main problem, however, lies in the fact that I cannot deal with stress effectively, allowing it to affect other parts of my life. As a result, I feel tired during the weekends, since I do not know how to help myself relax.
In the long term, the consistent feeling of stress may lead to many health-related issues. For example, mental fatigue and burnout can affect my moods, increasing the risk of such mental disorders as anxiety and depression (Toussaint, Shields, Dorn, & Slavich, 2016). Moreover, stress is connected to substance abuse disorders, tobacco use, and the lack of physical activity.
The literature review reveals that stress has a cumulative effect – Toussaint et al. (2016) state that if a person is unable to develop a strategy of coping with stress, he or she may suffer from a variety of complications. It should be noted that stress also has a substantial impact on people’s work performance, decreasing one’s attention span and concentration. The lack of coping mechanisms can result in significant health problems. Raab (2014) points out that insomnia, obesity, and health disease are among the conditions that are exacerbated by anxiety and stress.
The action plan for dealing with stress should include changes not only to the lifestyle but also the perception and analysis of the world. As Raab (2014) notes, people who work in stressful occupations should practice self-compassion and mindfulness in order to shift the attention away from concentrating only on the problems of others. In my case, the role of the health provider affects my ability to separate empathy towards my patients and stress that I feel because of it. Therefore, I am unable to detect the times when I am unable to relax from thinking about my job and related problems.
In order to develop a plan that would assist me in increasing self-compassion, it is necessary to understand the concepts of health, disease, and self-care. For example, Galderisi, Heinz, Kastrup, Beezhold, and Sartorius (2015) describe mental health as a state “of internal equilibrium,” meaning that a person with good mental health possesses all functions that are necessary for a comfortable existence in the society and the world (p. 231).
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A similar definition may describe physical health – an individual in good physical health is not burdened by any issues that prevent him or her from being able to perform all necessary actions. Such explanations are contrasted by the concept of disease, which can be described as a condition in which a person’s systems fall out of balance. They fail to function to their full extent, leading to a person feeling pain or distress. Here, self-care can be perceived as a way for an individual to examine his or her well-being and take action if something is out of balance.
The caring theory of Jean Watson can be used as a foundation for designing an action plan for dealing with stress. This ideology underlines the importance of caring for oneself as a part of caring for others and the world (Clark, 2016). Thus, one can propose an initiative that relies on self-compassion and mindfulness without neglecting events that may induce stress. I can utilize yoga to engage in a physical activity that does not exert the body.
Moreover, I can practice mindfulness through medication, relaxing music, interaction with people with the aim to discuss problems and cognitive issues. According to Klatt et al. (2015), these activities can be done in short regular periods to fit in with everyone’s busy lifestyle.
A stressful lifestyle can lead to various mental and physical health problems. The inability to deal with tense situations is an issue that I experience currently. In the future, regular stress may lead to heart problems, anxiety, depression, and obesity. An action plan based on self-awareness and self-compassion may help me alleviate distress and learn to cope with it. Some activities that help reduce stress include meditation, yoga, relaxation, and conversation with other people.
Clark, C. S. (2016). Watson’s human caring theory: Pertinent transpersonal and humanities concepts for educators. Humanities, 5(2), 21. Web.
Galderisi, S., Heinz, A., Kastrup, M., Beezhold, J., & Sartorius, N. (2015). Toward a new definition of mental health. World Psychiatry, 14(2), 231-233. Web.
Klatt, M., Steinberg, B., & Duchemin, A. M. (2015). Mindfulness in Motion (MIM): An onsite mindfulness based intervention (MBI) for chronically high stress work environments to increase resiliency and work engagement. Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE, (101), 52359. Web.
Raab, K. (2014). Mindfulness, self-compassion, and empathy among health care professionals: A review of the literature. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 20(3), 95-108. Web.
Toussaint, L., Shields, G. S., Dorn, G., & Slavich, G. M. (2016). Effects of lifetime stress exposure on mental and physical health in young adulthood: How stress degrades and forgiveness protects health. Journal of Health Psychology, 21(6), 1004-1014. Web.