Lin Jiayong

Psychologist
Coping with Caregiving: Stress Management
Caring for your child can be emotionally draining, time-consuming, stressful and can create a sense of imbalance in the family system. It is easy to neglect your own well-being in this challenging process. However, it is also important to take care of your own emotional and physical health. Why? Doing so will not only improve your well-being, but also puts you in a better position to care for your child. When you take care of yourself and get sufficient downtime, your energy level, motivational level, and even your capacity to think improves. If you’re in a better condition, you will be able to provide better care for your child.   Symptoms of Caregiver BurnoutYou are not alone on this journey! In 2014, a survey conducted by the National Council of Social Services found that nearly half of the caregivers surveyed experienced caregiver strain, with 4 in 10 being psychologically distressed, and more than 6 in 10 felt burdened by the weight of their caregiving duties. Caregivers may experience physical effects such as fatigue and body aches as well as psychological effects such as stress, emotional tiredness, depression, and anxiety. Techniques for Self-CareBelow are some practices to follow in your daily lifestyles to improve your mental & physical health: Ψ 3-steps mindfulness exerciseΨ Get regular sleep and exerciseΨ Accept that there is a limit to what you can doΨ Allow some time off to pursue your own interestsΨ Take regular breaksΨ Seek help and support from your loved onesΨ Seek professional support from a counsellor or psychologistΨ Join a community support system for parents (or any relevant support group)   3-steps Mindfulness ExerciseA Simple 5 Minute Exercise Bring awareness to what you are doing, thinking, and sensing at this moment. Notice the thoughts that come up and acknowledge your feelings, but let them pass. Bring awareness to your breathing for six breaths or a minute. Be aware of the movement of your body with each breath, of how your chest rises and falls, how your belly pushes in and out, and how your lungs expand and contract. Expand awareness outwards, first to your body then to the environment. Notice the sensations you are experiencing, like tightness, or perhaps a lightness in your face or shoulders. Keep in mind your body as a whole; If you wish, you can then expand your awareness even further to the environment around you. Bring your attention to what is in front of you. Notice the colours, shapes, patterns, and textures of the objects you can see. Be present at this moment, in your awareness of your surroundings. Techniques for Self-Care Caregivers can attend courses to better understand their child’s condition and to learn behavioural and cognitive strategies to cope with stress and develop confidence in their abilities to overcome difficulties. Here is just a list for parents with children suffering from autism, who require support: *Content is republished with permission from Annabelle Psychology. If you feel like you need professional help, do reach out to us or book an appointment with us. We will be happy to assist you.
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-18
·
2 mins read
Is Stress Affecting Your Sex Drive?
Did you know that sex can lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and hypertension? Sex can be an important part of a woman’s life. It’s a pivotal part of love and marriage, bolstering strong bonds through deep intimacy. Yet with a busy schedule and an amalgamation of worries from work, relationships and family, there seems to be no time to think or even enjoy partaking in the act. Months and years may fly and you’ll be left wondering where your desire for sex went. Why Stress Impacts Libido   The Accelerator and The BrakeTo understand why your libido has flown out of the window, you need to understand how the body deals with stress. A body has a sympathetic (stress response) and parasympathetic nervous system (stress relief). Analogous to a car requiring the accelerator to drive over slopes and difficult terrains, the sympathetic nervous system functions just like the accelerator - to cope with the challenges and stressors in life. On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system is the brake of your body and is activated when the body needs rest. When you wake up to your phone buzzing with mountains of tasks needed to be done, relationship problems at the back of your mind, and endless bills to chase - you become immobilized with stress. To cope with this major hurdle, your body fuels you with a short boost of energy to either face your problems or run away from them. Our stress response (the accelerator) is activated in our bodies. We’ve all experienced it kicking in, your heart pounds faster, your palms get moist and sweaty, you tingle with a mixture of anxiety and excitement. Once the problem has been resolved, the accelerator will be relieved by the brake. Phew, another hill conquered, now you can take a break.   The Chronic ProblemBut what happens when stress becomes chronic? Another day, another steeper hill to conquer, but this time it stretches over a long period of time, our body hits the pedal for too long, and it feels as if our accelerator has gotten stuck.   Stress over SexOur body is working overtime, all the time, giving no chance for our brakes to kick in. To allow the accelerator to keep working, the production of our stress hormone, ‘cortisol’ increases. During this process, our body uses our sex hormones, to meet the increased demands of cortisol production. This disrupts the balance of sex hormones, along with the desire for sex. An erotic touch, even kisses and cuddles from a partner does not excite you the way they did.   It’s fight or flight and nothing elseYour sex drive is not only affected by your hormones but also socially and mentally. When the stress hormones kick in, it’s fight or flight and nothing else. It’s impossible to be present, to smell the roses, to be interested in this week’s latest gossip, or to catch up with your friends, even your spouse. There seems to be no time to deal with anything but yourself. When stress extends over prolonged periods, it’s easy to detach yourself socially from others and intimately from your spouse. When your intimacy with your partner fades, and your ‘fight mode’ leaves you in an aggressive and defensive state. In such as state, sex would probably be the last thing on your mind. What can you do about it then?First, you need to understand the loss of sex drive is ultimately a symptom of your underlying issue with stress. Here are some ways that may alleviate your stress:   Realise you are not aloneAll of us experience stress, share your worries and anxieties with your spouse. You need not face your fights alone! Team up with your spouse, fight the stress together. It will not only increase your sense of unity but also shows your resilience and fight as a couple.   Accept that your sex drive will fluctuateYour path in life is never a straight path and so is your sex drive. It will be lower sometimes and that’s fine. Accept that it might take a little while to recover, but trust it will bounce back eventually. If you can accept that this is completely okay, you can still have a lovely sex life during a stressful period too.   Focus on Sensation, not SexInstead of the act itself, focus on where it all started, and why it did. Loving acts such as cuddles, kisses and hugs can help. It also forces the body to go from stress to relaxation, if you allow this. If you know your spouse is going through a rough period, kiss them a little bit more, hug them a little tighter and a little longer. These tiny acts of affection can let your partner feel more love and cared for. A little goes a long way indeed!   Get activeExercising is a great way to relieve stress. Going on a quick evening jog can help release endorphins (stress-relieving chemicals) and can allow you to feel more connected with your surroundings.   The Bottom Line All in all, you need to realise low libido is a manifestation or symptom of an underlying problem that may not be stress itself. In the case of stress, however, you need to realise you are not alone - friends, family and your partner are there for you. However, if your stress stems from your relationship or deeper problems, do seek the necessary professional help from therapy and experts.   References:https://www.verywellmind.com/how-stress-can-lead-to-low-libido-3145029https://www.self.com/story/how-stress-affects-sex-lifehttps://www.gottman.com/blog/3-reasons-stress-is-affecting-your-sex-drive-and-what-to-do-about-it/
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-19
·
4 mins read
How Your Body Might Be Showing The Effects Of Stress
Stress is a normal part of life. However, your body isn’t designed to handle too much stress. Here are some signs that may indicate that your body is begging for help.   Shutterstock: Roman Samborskyi Stress is a normal body response to demands and challenges. In fact, did you know that stress can be beneficial in some potentially dangerous situations since it puts you in fight or flight mode by boosting your focus and physical readiness to face a situation? This response is caused when hormones are released by the brain in response to stress.   However, our bodies are only equipped to handle a limited amount of stress. Your body might be giving you clues that you’re overworked if your stress response keeps firing multiple times every day whenever you find difficulty dealing with work or fulfilling family obligations such as caregiving for a child or an elderly parent.   Chronic stress can lead to emotional, physical and behavioural effects. You might be thinking that you can handle some stress but is your body suggesting otherwise? Today, we’ll discuss the stress-related physical signs that may be your body’s way of crying out for help.   Headaches and muscle painWhen your body is stressed, your muscles tense up. This is a defensive reflex to aid your muscles in protecting you from injury. However, chronic stress causes unnecessary tension in your muscles and keeps them on standby. This can result in unpleasant symptoms such as headaches that are associated with the continuous muscle tension in your head, neck and upper body.   Chronic stress has also been linked to other muscle disorders. One study concluded that in older people, hormones released during stress can cause a decline in muscle strength which increases their susceptibility to falls and fractures. Meditation and relaxation techniques are methods to ease up your muscle tension. This reduced tension can lower the chance of getting any stress-related disorders.   Hair and skin issuesStress can have a big impact on how you look. Have you noticed a correlation between stress and your acne breakouts? That's right, stress releases cortisol, a hormone that makes your skin more oily and prone to skin problems. Stress can also fire up skin problems like eczema, skin rashes and psoriasis, potentially affecting your self-confidence.   That's not just it. Your hair won't be happy too. In fact, stress can lead to hair loss. You might notice an increase in hair fall whenever you comb or wash your hair. The good thing is that stress-related hair loss is usually reversible!   Gastrointestinal problemsStress can also badly upset your digestive tract. Starting from your esophagus, stress can cause heartburn, stomach discomfort, bloating and nausea along with a change in appetite which can effectuate eating disorders. As you approach the bowel, stress disturbs your friendly gut bacteria which aids in digestion. Stress can also disrupt the flow of food which can lead to either diarrhea or constipation.   Reproductive health problemsAs for reproductive health, stress can lead to a wide range of effects. High levels of stress can lead to:- Irregular menstrual cycles- More painful periods- Loss of libido- Worse premenstrual syndrome symptoms (cramping, bloating and mood swings)- Worse physical menopausal symptoms (more severe hot flashes) To add to all this, stress can even negatively affect your chances of having a baby!   Coping with stressDon't forget that stress is also associated with a plethora of other factors including mental health. Getting stress under control can be achieved through exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, having a healthy social life and meditating. If your body is experiencing any stress-related symptoms then take the hint and start an effective stress management plan today!   Sources:https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/body https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body# https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4082169/
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-20
·
2 mins read
Why You Shouldn't Overlook Your Social Life
What is your idea of a healthy lifestyle? You may think it would be going to the gym every morning before work, going on a balanced and clean diet, and getting 8 hours of high-quality sleep. What else can you wish for in terms of a healthy lifestyle if you’ve got exercise, nutrition and sleep along with a bit of leisure time? Well, it’s easy to overlook this one but surprisingly, your social life plays a big part in both your physical and mental well-being. Studies show that receiving social support from a friend, family member or spouse is essential in achieving better mental health. On the other hand, a lack of social interaction could lead to adverse health conditions such as insomnia, anxiety and depression.   Shutterstock: mentatdgt Why you need meaningful social interactionsSocial interactions are an integral part of human nature. But what really matters are the meaningful social interactions you engage in. Good friends are good for your health – they stay with you through thick and thin and most importantly, they're there when it's time to celebrate! Friendships can help reduce stress and make you happier. Simply having someone who has your back, one you can comfortably talk to while basking in their company, can mean the world. Did you know a warm hug can be a real mood booster? Hugs can make you feel happy by releasing dopamine and oxytocin which is known to improve happiness and relieve stress. Being socially active can lead to healthier habitsSocial connections especially when you're around health-conscious people can help you stay mindful of your lifestyle. Joining a group that exercises together can also improve your commitment. When you exercise with others, you're more likely to give it your all, knowing that there others challenging themselves alongside you. Researchers have found that working out in groups can lower stress by 26% and significantly improve quality of life. The loneliness epidemicThe loneliness epidemic is real, especially in a technology-driven era when everyone around us is practically glued to their phones. The issue of loneliness became even more prevalent after the pandemic caused lockdowns all over the world, and people began realising that their social life plays a big role in their happiness. Our priorities change along with our commitments as we get older, and it is likely that socialising no longer remains a priority – keeping our social circle small and intimate. By retirement age, you may be faced with the issue of not having a social life outside of your family, which is why many seniors experience this loneliness. Live a happy and more fulfilling lifeEnjoy the ties that you hold dear to. Meeting your friends and family members every once in a while is a great way to unwind and de-stress. Try maintaining your social connections by taking time to check in on your friends even if the both of you have drifted apart due to family or work commitments. Is a busy schedule really more important than your social life? Maybe take 10-30 minutes off your work week to have coffee with some friends as your way of recharging! You may then realise how essential a robust social life is to your health. It's never too late to reconnect or even make new friendships! It's never too late to pick up your phone to ring that dear friend you miss talking to!   References: https://www.southuniversity.edu/news-and-blogs/2018/05/why-being-social-is-good-for-you#
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-21
·
2 mins read
Is Work Stress Straining Your Relationship
As much as we don't like them to, work stress and burnout can seep into our private lives. But are they to blame for straining your relationship? Image Source: SUPERMAO It’s all too often that we’ve heard the saying ‘separate work life and personal life’. As much as we’d like to do so, it may feel almost impossible when we’re flooded with work 80% of the week, and the 20% is left to deal with personal problems. When being overwhelmed with work life, it is easy for the negative energy of work stress to seep into the confines of your personal life - and your partner would be the first to experience its wrath. When you’ve been drained to the core by work-life, mustering the energy to connect with your partner, let alone feel the same spark you once had may feel impossible. But is it right to pinpoint our hectic work life as the true cause of a strained relationship? Is your work stress affecting your relationship? Relationships require time and effort, but if you don't have the energy to deal with your partner in the first place it is easy for the relationship to feel one-sided. A moody, irritable and uninterested partner can easily incite tension and fuel unwanted conflict in a relationship. This could shatter a once healthy bond. If you think it couldn’t get any worse, cortisol, the stress hormone, is released when you're burned out or stressed. This lowers your sex drive and can potentially ruin your sex life. Everyone needs to blow off some steam every once in a while, and unloading pent-up frustration from work-life could be a healthy thing. But if your work problems are the topic of discussion 7 days of the week, being on the receiving end of these daily rants may be hard on your partner. If you find yourself endlessly complaining about work-life problems, there may be an underlying issue that needs to be solved. Taking on a constructive approach with your partner, by discussing and attempting to pinpoint the root cause of your distress may not only alleviate your work stress, but it could also strengthen your relationship when solving the issue as a team. We’re all humanRealise that we all have our own struggles in life. More often than not, your partner will be able to relate to your problem in his or her own way. Listening to your partner's struggles along with sharing your own, can build unity, improve communication and increase empathy between the both of you. Although it may be hard to improve your situation at work, there are other ways you could cope and improve your relationship for the better. Remember that your partner is there to uplift you and hold your hand through tough times! If the relationship feels rocky, trying relationship counselling may help! Alternatively meditating or using relaxation techniques could help to lower your stress. Occasional date nights as your little getaway from work may not only relieve stress but may reignite that spark you once had for your partner. References:https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.huffpost.com/entry/how-burnout-work-hurt-relationship_l_5e5d3d45c5b6732f50e613fc/amp
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-22
·
4 mins read
No article
There are no articles from this expert.
Unable to load tooltip content.