So what is a stress injury? It can range from sleep disturbances to anxiety to a feeling of being out of control. The responder stress continuum, similar to GAR, ranges from green to red. The goal is to stay in the green and yellow. This means that there is mild stress. In these stages people can still interact with others in meaningful ways, anxiety and stress isn’t inhibiting daily life.

But as stress continues and isn’t mitigated it can cause individuals to move into the orange. People in this stage are in a state of near constant hyper-anxiety, this is when stress injury formations start forming. The anxiety and stress is now causing individuals to no longer do all the things they love, some people in this stage start saying things like “I usta go hang out with friends at the gym but now I just can’t seem to do it.” Or “I usta go skiing with folks but now I just have a hard time being around people or finding the motivation.” This is the stage when it is really important to start getting help, if not addressed then you can move into the red. In the red stage people can start feeling hopeless, depressed, and constantly on edge. It is nearly impossible to get out of this stage on your own, professional help should be sought out.

Most of us cycle through green and yellow, this whole continuum can be a cycle though. We go through periods of high and low stress and even if you get into the red it doesn’t mean you can’t come back down to green. If you’re feeling like you may be in the high yellow or orange, reach out to your support network and start trying to make “Green choices”. Some Green choices might be not looking at your phone the hour leading up to going to bed, getting in some more exercise or trying some meditation exercises.

Of course with COVID everything is a bit upside down and what we used to do to relive stress may not be an option. This is really a time for us to work hard on finding safe and sustainable solutions for dealing with stress. Maybe it’s reading a book and having a time when everyone in your household know not to disturb you. Perhaps it’s calling someone on the phone, something I personally did not use to to do very often before COVID! The point is experiment and find something that helps your stress levels, it’s not selfish to take time for yourself. Check-in with your body, how are you feeling?

For more stress first aid information or just to chat, feel free to look up my contact info in D4H.

-Alexis L.