First Aid for Stress is a holistic recovery plan

which uses our 7-phase recovery model 

AND 8-area healing wheel.

Phase 1: The Root Cause – the unknown

This is the area with which most of us need help and education. There are factors we were not taught or made aware of as children that have innocently placed us in a vulnerable position – because of this, your resilience to stressful/ difficult/ traumatic events and experiences is impaired. When this occurs, whether you realise it or not, your body starts to experience the ripple effect of physical, mental and emotional symptoms of stress and tension.

Phase 2: The Known – early warning signs and symptoms

You can be in this phase for months or years. Your body is on high alert. You feel anxious and/or tense most of the time. You are short-tempered, full of nervous ‘jittery’ energy, constantly worrying and expecting the worst. Overwhelmed, you experience ‘brain-fog’, and your memory starts to fail you. You may uptake or increase your use of tobacco, alcohol, prescribed or non-prescribed drugs, unhealthy foods and risky behaviour. You often get viruses, colds and the flu.

If unaddressed, this phase can preclude Burnout, Depression, Addictive Behaviour or other long-term health issues, such Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia (FM)

Phase 3: The Breakdown – the final straw, the crash

Either your ‘normal’ life has changed significantly or it’s been so bad for so long that you simply can’t take any more. Simple acts such as personal hygiene, self-care, food preparation and even communicating with others are difficult or completely draining.

You are beyond tired and wired. Emotional outbursts and melt-downs are common. You KNOW something needs to change, but you just don’t know how or what.  

During this time, it is common to experience the escalation of severe low moods and/or depression, as well as unhealthy actions and behaviours. 

Phase 4: Call the Mechanic!

In this phase, you seek advice, guidance and support from others. Please be aware that this can be a drawn-out process! Desperate for answers, we try various techniques and service providers. We scan the internet or ask friends. This often leads to frustration, confusion, more overwhelm or anxiety.  Thankfully, this phase can be quick for you. 

Phase 5: The Work – doing what it takes.

Phase 5 is all about information and learning. Nurturing, nourishing and feeding your body and mind is paramount to your long-term recovery and resilience.

Once skilled in this knowledge, you are in the position to make intelligent change – to further improve your core values, actions and behaviour.  

As your self-care improves and toxic elements are dropped, you notice that you feel better. You increasingly look after your physical body and mental/emotional well-being. In time, this becomes ‘the norm’.

Phase 6: Relearning and Relapsing

Freeing yourself from the past can be a slow process. Sometimes we slip into old habits or simply stop doing things that were working well (just because…).

When using the FIRST AID FOR STRESS programme, there are target areas for improvement. Always go for the simplest areas first. That way, you build your confidence and skill set faster, making your personal healing easier and more straightforward.

Once you feel that you’re in a far better place, it’s time to review and tackle another target area. 

Be kind to yourself. Please recognise that learning what causes you to drop back into old patterns and behaviours (relapse) is the most crucial of your journey. 

 

Phase 7: Recovery

In the recovery phase, you recognise stressful triggers, toxic situations and people and drama makers. More importantly, you know how to avoid them! 

You guard your energy, quality of life, space and peace above all else. You honour your well-being by eating healthily, exercising, spending time in nature, getting adequate, restful sleep and doing a variety of things with your life that make you happy.

You recognise how your former lifestyle had inadvertently abused your body, mind and spirit. 

You will never go back there.

Did you figure out which phase you are in?

Phase 1 and Phase 3 are times when I can best offer the solutions that you need to make significant improvements to how you feel today, providing you implement some of what you learn. With FIRST AID FOR STRESS, this is both fast and effective. 

Phase 1 and Phase 4 are the optimum times to ‘do the work’. During this time, relapse is common; please don’t worry! Relapse is simply part of the learning curve, and, as you continue to apply your understanding(s), relearning occurs. This requires some or a large amount of effort, depending on the individual.

 

Let’s talk about relapse, renewed symptoms and recovery

Many people struggle with the relapse and recovery stages. Often, we do not complete the transmute stage of the ‘three Ts’, I’ll explain them in a minute, but for now please know it is the number reason that we fail.

There can be various reasons why. A common one is that we are guilty of seeking ‘easy’, quick-fix solutions to our issues. 

Another is that we do not realise exactly what is involved in the creation of long-term stress and fatigue, how they affect our health nor to what extent. 

 

Remember, this programme isn’t just about your physical health and well-being, it’s about increasing your energy, happiness and peace levels.

You will learn how to improve the quality of your life, make slicker choices, spend meaningful time with the people you love or prepare for a new relationship or job!

Within your life, there will be across-the-board ‘undesirable’ aspects that create stress, pressure and buckling. These may include personal relationships, your job, company and co-workers, your fitness levels, health and well-being and your finances. If you were to consider them individually, with a view to keeping the good stuff and either dropping, replacing or upgrading the other stuff, you would, no doubt, feel significantly better. 

Creating the best version of your self – your recovery.

To start the process, you will need to bridge the gaps in your understanding of what happens in your body when you experience any form of physical, emotional or spiritual stress. 

Then, you will need to make meaningful changes in obvious areas, such as nutrition, sleep and relationships, alongside gaining a deeper understanding of your body’s requirements.

All the information you need is found in the First Aid for Stress online coaching programs. Remember, we are in this together! I am here to support and guide you and the friends you’ve yet to meet are part of our online community

 

There Are Three Recovery Stages in total.

The first two stages of your healing journey are achieved Phase 1 – 5. 

The first, transform is when you make initial changes. The second recovery stage, transcend, is the time you move away from the toxic elements of ‘the problem’

Once you have achieved stage two your recovery is on track. Continuing with the program moves you from Phase 6, working to Phase 7.

This is the final recovery step –Transmute – here you  

anchor the changes, permanently, to create a ‘better version of you’

In my experience, both personally and professionally, the biggest source of ‘relapse’ is the transmute stage. 

Quite simply, you have to do the work! I offer you the reminder that ‘knowing’ is not doing! 

 

As the risk of stating the obvious, ‘anchoring the change’ – that is, continuing to do the things that work for you – is far easier (physically and emotionally) than not doing so. ‘Not’ creates confusion, frustration and anger.

 

The First Aid for Stress Healing Wheel.

There are  8-aspects:

Emotional + Mental Well-Being – This is your strengths, emotions, talents, innate gifts and personality.

Environment – This includes your home, work-space, furnishings, equipment, technology and outside (nature, seasons, and the cycles of life).

Finance + Career – This covers your money, savings and budgeting. 

Food + Nutrition – This targets the support of your Adrenal Glands and your Thyroid Gland, as well as introducing healthy nutrition to balance your body, replenish your energy levels and maintain a healthy weight.

Positive Physical Health – This is your health, well-being and energy levels.

Relationships – This includes your relationship with yourself, with family members, friends, colleagues, community members and strangers.

Relaxation + Fun – This is your ability to relax both your body and mind, as well as your mobility, strength and flexibility.

Spiritual Purpose + Peace – This describes your connection with a higher source, love and Ultimate Self.

 

Once you have completed the self-evaluation task, 90 statements, you circle the *things you already do* you added up your total number of circled statements for each Aspect, and mark them on the relevant point of the wheel (below).

That way you pinpoint exactly where you are today and, more importantly, give you instant access to choose exactly what you want to do to create the change and up-level.

Each month you re-run the self-evaluation to progress check.

 

 

You will probably find that several areas require some improvement. 

 

Please don’t worry about that right now and know that you are not alone in this. The good news is that as you tackle one area, others improve as a by-product. 

 

My advice. Go for the easiest elements to improve first. The low-hanging fruit. That way, you improve your self-esteem, your sense of achievement, and you like and love yourself a little more. As you build your momentum, micro-changes tend to occur fast. Remember the good news, as you tackle one area, others improve as a by-product. 

 

Turboboost your results with  Accelerate our 14-part programme. 

What is Stress?

Despite stress being a commonly used word which describes feeling unwell or under pressure, few understand stress or its many harmful effects. 

Stress is tension, pressure and strain on the body in reaction to a threat or coercion (real or imaginary). It can be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. 

Stress is your body's way of telling you that it is not happy and that change is required. Protecting your mind and body from stress is one of the essential life lessons. 

Dawn Symons – Founder First Aid For Stress

All humans are subject to stress. And it isn’t always a bad thing. When you see someone, you love, for example, your heart thumps, and you get sweaty palms. That reaction is your body’s response to excitement (which we may perceive as stress).

On this page I cover the common physical symptoms of stress so that you can begin to self evaluate the level of stress you’re experiencing.If you want to go one step further try this quick stress test and get your stress score in minutes.

Common Symptoms of Stress

There are common symptoms of stress which can be broken down into physical and emotional symptoms.

1.Physical Symptoms Of Stress

  • Other Physical Symptoms of Stress To Look Out For:
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Nausea
  • Numbness or tingling, particularly in your face
  • Problems with digestion
  • Shaking
  • Sweating

2. Emotional Symptoms Of Stress

Stress can manifest in many ways.
Some additional emotional signs of stress not covered in the graphic are:

  • A tendency to work late and not take breaks.
  • A tendency towards taking actions to ‘feel better’ – addictions healthy or otherwise often start or escalate at this point.
  • Accident prone.
  • Deceased productivity.
  • Emotional fatigue.
  • Frustration and anger.
  • Forgetfulness/ confusion.
  • Headaches.
  • Indecisiveness.
  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Lack of humor.
  • Losing pride in your appearance.
  • Nausea.
  • Poor judgment or decision making.
  • Sensitive with a tendency to take things personally.
  • Tension, aches and pains.

These lists highlight the physical and emotional symptoms of stress however they do not offer any further information about the type of stress you might be experiencing.  There are different forms of stress and in the following section we will start to dive a little deeper and find out about these different forms of stress and also the symptoms associated with these forms.

Different Types of Stress; Acute / Long Term / ACE / CUTS

Acute Stress

Acute stress is short-term stress, which occurs in response to an external stressor. For example, if you hear a loud noise, your body might release hormones to help you prepare for your fight or flight. Acute stress is not necessarily a bad thing. It helps us to be ready for potentially tricky situations.

Long Term / Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is a prolonged period of stressful situations (typically anything lasting more than six to eight weeks). You will be in a consistent state of heightened alertness. And the constant pressure on your body, mind and spirit can be very damaging if left unaddressed. 

Adverse Childhood Experience(s) (ACE’s)

ACE’s are traumatic incidents that occur in childhood. It includes abuse or being raised in overly controlling conditions. ACE could cause on-going chemical imbalances that distort the way genes respond. It can make a person more susceptible to mental, physical and emotional health problems. It can also make a person more likely to become an addict and not achieve their full potential. Which, of course, creates its own stresses. Additionally, if not addressed, the child can re-enact overly controlling or abusive behaviour as an adult.

Chronic Unpredictable Trauma & Stress (CUTS)

CUTS develops in the same manner as Chronic stress. This could occur to someone who experienced ACEs as a child or who is in an intimate / work relationship with an emotionally abusive manipulator or someone who experienced ACEs in their younger years. CUTS create hypervigilance in the mind and body. 

While short-term stress isn’t necessarily bad, excessive and consistent pressure can be highly detrimental to your physical and mental health. Operating under constant stress will cause your body to degenerate, weaken and buckle. It’s that simple! 

The long-term elevation of stress hormones causes inflammation, which your system dutifully tackles.

Stress is normal. 

However, the problem we all face is that our fight-or-flight response is not just activated by life-threatening events. 

Anything and everything can act as a trigger. 

Once one occurs, you automatically experience a series of urgent internal chemical changes and messages to which your body responds accordingly. 

However, with your internal pedal to the floor, you experience physical and emotional strain. During which you are more susceptible to:

Burnout, Adrenal Fatigue, Burnout, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME.Depression, Heart attacks, Nervous breakdowns, Panic attacks, Suicidal thoughts or attempts. There are also some studies showing prolonged stress could lead to some cancers.

So, how do we work out what form of stress we are experiencing?  This table and infographic should help you to evaluate your physical symptoms against whether you are experiencing Acute or Long Term Stress.

Detailed Symptoms of Stress Chart

The Development of Stress

There is a clear and defined domino effect from ‘normal’ stress into chronic, long-term stress. 

This was described by the Grandfather of Stress, endocrinologist Hans Selye, in 1936. 

He said that the body’s response to stress followed an identifiable three-stage path, which he named General Adaptation Syndrome. 

The three stages are Alarm, Resistance & Exhaustion. Below I have listed the main symptoms of stress experienced in each of these three stages.

Stage One: Alarm 

This is the first response and takes place when a threat is perceived.
In this stage, your fight-or-flight response is activated. 
Sensory data is collected and acted upon. 
Adrenaline is released and your body is on alert (known as the sympathetic response).

The following may also occur:

Your pupils dilate, allowing more light to enter the eye. Distant vision is improved. 
Your hearing becomes acute.
The heart beats harder and more rapidly. 
Blood flow to muscles and the lungs is enhanced. Breathing becomes more rapid. 
Larger muscles receive more oxygenated blood.
The thyroid gland stimulates your metabolism.
Your intestinal and urinary sphincters constrict. Digestion is reduced. 
You feel wired.

Stage Two: Resistance

According to Selye, Stage Two is when the body attempts to revert to its norm.
At this point, you will still be on high alert – but recovering.

The following is also normal:

You are full of nervous ‘jittery’ energy.
You continuously worry and expect the worst.
You experience ‘brain fog’.
You feel anxious and/or tense most of the time.
You are short-tempered.
You feel overwhelmed and overworked.
You may increase your intake of tobacco, alcohol, prescribed or non-prescribed drugs and unhealthy foods.
You are susceptible to viruses, colds and the flu.
You take on too much, which means you are always rushing and often late.
Your memory starts to fail.
Your mind is in constant overdrive, even when you go to bed.
Your blood sugar levels, pulse, blood pressure and respiration increase.
You are likely to experience heartburn, diarrhea and/or constipation.
You may get muscular tension. Shoulder, neck, back, jaw pain, headaches etc.
You feel irritable, anxious, angry or down.
You are susceptible to panic (anxiety) attacks.
You feel wired and tired.

Top tip: During Stage Two, the ‘wired and tired’ stage, you may find 5-HTP, thiamine and B vitamins useful.

Stage Three: Exhaustion

The final stage, Exhaustion, occurs after prolonged stress. 

It’s possible that you no longer have the ability to deal with stress. 

Normal life can become incredibly tricky; you feel physically, emotionally and spiritually spent. You may also find:

Life feels like a total struggle, even normal activities such as rolling over and getting out of bed, expend more energy than you have. 

Simple acts such as personal hygiene, preparing and eating snacks, and even communicating with others drains you completely. 

Being determined, tenacious or stubborn does not help. Pushing back against your symptoms is counterproductive and subtly creates a delayed fatigue and recovery cycle. 

You experience the escalation of severe low moods and/or depression. 

Not being able to function as a ‘normal and productive’ human causes terrible emotional crashes, particularly as you appear to be healthy, capable or emotionally resilient. 

At this stage you are vulnerable. An operation/ recovery, a traumatic experience, a severe virus such as the flu or covid-19 could tip you into the symptoms of M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Long Covid or Post Virial Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS) or Fibromyalgia.

It is possible to identify much about the stress we are experiencing based on the physical and emotional symptoms. My intention for publishing this information is not to cause concern or worry, but to encourage you to take charge of your health and wellbeing. If you have identifed from this list, or from the stress test that you are experiencing an unhealthy level of stress, there is a lot you can do about that!

The First Aid For Stress website is a resource for you to use to get to understand your stress better so that you can start to take actions to heal yourself and become a happier, more balance version of you.

I created this resourse after learning how to heal myself from extreme, chronic stress and have a wealth of knoweldge to share with you. If you have not completed the stress test yet this is the next step. Get your stress score and I will send you my 6 Part Mini Heal From Stress Course For Free.