Module 3 What Mothers Say About Stress

Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

Our emotional wellbeing helps us feel positive about ourselves, our relationships and our life, giving self awareness, confidence and building resilience.

But there are times when we don’t feel ok. We all feel sad, moody or low from time to time. Some people experience these feelings intensely, for extended periods (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason.

We all experience some anxiety at some point. Anxious feelings are a normal reaction to a high-pressure situation e.g. meeting with your child’s school team, or a medical appointment. Anxiety can have a positive function and protect us, such as keeping us out of high risk situations. However, for some people these anxious feelings happen without any apparent cause or continue long after the stressful event has passed. Stress can be a positive force to push us to achieve and to boost performance but it can also wear us out and cause burnout.

When should I seek help?

If you have symptoms for more than 2 weeks that have a disabling impact on your daily life you may wish to seek help. The types of symptoms may appear physical or emotional.

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
    A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
    No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes
    Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes
    Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
  • Anger or irritability
    Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy
    Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self Loathing
    Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticise yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless behaviour
    Engaging in escapist behaviour such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems
    Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains
    An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

    See Jennifer Neil discuss when to seek help from a GP perspective:

    Entry last updated 24 February, 2020