Dealing with Stress

Stress is tricky. You may not see right away how it's affecting you. It can build up slowly, until it quickly becomes overwhelming — and extremely frustrating.

Don't let it build up. Stress not only affects your mood, but it affects your blood pressure and even your immune system.3

The key is to take action to help reduce your stress. Don't just wait for it magically to go away. First, learn to identify the stress. Then take action to manage and reduce it.

Symptoms of Stress

There are both physical and emotional signs of stress that can make people feel threatened or anxious. These can include3:

  • Disbelief
  • A sense of shock
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Having a tough time making decisions
  • Loss of interest in people and things
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anger
  • Using drugs or alcohol
  • Feeling sad
  • Crying
  • Problems sleeping
  • Headaches, neck pain, back pain, and stomach aches
  • Lack of focus

Managing Stress

You can learn to manage stress better by taking action.

Find support. Talk to a friend, family member, counselor, doctor, religious leader, or even a nice random stranger. But, talk to someone. Keeping things inside rarely helps. Find the ear of a good listener, tell them how you're feeling, discuss things you might do to improve the situation, then go ahead and give yourself a break from worrying about it all for a while. The problem may not go away, but some of the pressure will.

Avoid drugs and alcohol. They might make you feel better for a little while. But, they won't help in the long run. They just mask the things causing the stress, they don't fix them. And, when you have hemophilia and inhibitors, impairing your judgment isn't always a good thing. It can lead to an accident (or bleed) which will only add more stress to what you're dealing with.

Connect. Sure, if you're stressed or upset, sometimes you need some time to yourself. Maybe you like to watch movies, or read, or meditate, or listen to music, or do something creative. Those are all great ways to reduce stress. But often, simply being around the right kind of people (people who care about you, or people with positive outlooks who you might know in exercise, religious, or hobby groups) can help you feel better. If you need it, take the time you need to be by yourself. But don't stay by yourself. Feeling lonely can add to stress.

Take care of yourself. It can sound silly, but just paying attention to the health basics that everyone should do can help you feel much less stressed. Eat right, get enough sleep, keep to a routine, stay active, and have some fun. Maybe take some time off, go on a trip, or treat yourself to something special. You deserve it.

Stay Active: Exercise and Your Mind

Some people think that exercise is only good for your body. But, it's also good for your mind and mood. If you have been feeling stressed, anxious, or down, try 20 minutes of exercise to help wash that mood away.

Join with friends to start an exercise group for biking, walking, hiking, or other activities that are fun to do together.  

Exercise can even boost self-esteem and help you sleep better. Sport is a great outlet for frustrations and anger after a long day.

Bodies in Motion …

Your body was made to move. Sometimes keeping it moving is the best way to leave bad feelings behind.