Stressed out! It’s a phrase we all know because we have all experienced the feelings associated with stress. However, for foster parents and relative caregivers, the stress in parenting someone with special needs, history of trauma, attachment issues, emotional and behavioral concerns, or a history of multiple placements adds a whole new level to stress.
Stress actually comes from having one or more problems at the same time. It’s those feelings of being worried, anxious, scared, overwhelmed, and angry all at the same time. Some people say they know that they’re stressed when they get a headache or have trouble sleeping, while others can feel trapped and angry. So what does stress do to our bodies?
- Your pupils dilate so you can see better.
- You breathe more rapidly from the upper part of your chest.
- Your heart rate increases because your heart is working harder.
- Your body releases stress hormones called adrenaline and cortisol, which give you more strength, energy, speed, and endurance.
- Your digestive system shuts down and you lose your appetite or get a dry mouth.
- You start to sweat and your hands and feet get cold and clammy.
- Your face gets flushed.
Fight or Flight
When you’re stressed, your body kicks itself into high gear and goes into “fight or flight” mode. Back in the days of early history, stress actually helped people survive
because problems usually meant life or death situations.
Nowadays, stress is that flood of emotions that you get, usually in the form of a natural rush of stress hormones. Some of us find ourselves having a “fight” reaction by either getting angry or possibly becoming physical and fighting from the stress hormones. The other half of us have the opposite “flight” reaction and try to avoid the problem by