Stress: The Importance of Social Support, Sleep, And Rest

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Sometimes when people are chronically stressed about something, they say they're 'sick and tired' of it--not just stressed by it. That's always seemed like a figurative term, but new research confirms what many have been saying for years: stress--especially chronic stress--can indeed make you 'sick and tired'! (Well, to be exact, stress can make you tired, and then sick, but we'll get to that.)

First, the basic details of the study: researchers at the Occupational and Environmental Health Division of Wayne State University distributed surveys among patients at four primary care centers and analyzed the 315 responses for indicators of the relationship among stress, fatigue, and perceived health.

They also analyzed the impact of select stress resiliency factors including sleep, recovery, and social support. They found that there was indeed a relationship between fatigue and perceived health outcomes, and that stress could lead to this fatigue. The positive effects of sleep, recovery, and social support on fatigue, stress, and perceived health were validated in their research.  In other words, getting enough sleep, getting some down time, and having adequate social support can all be important for stress relief.  

Most of us don't necessarily need research to tell us that stress, especially chronic stress, can make us feel tired and run-down, and that when we feel this way, we tend to get sick more easily. However, this research does indeed add fuel to the argument that stress management is an important part of overall wellness and health maintenance, and that any stress relief activities we introduce into our lives can be good for us in more ways than one.

This research also validates the importance of leaning on good friends in times of stress.

The following resources can help you with basic stress management, and some of them may introduce you to stress relieving activities you've yet to try. See what change you can make in your life this week--even if it's small!--to reduce stress and fatigue, and enhance your overall health and wellness.

  • Stress and Stress Relief
    Learn the basics of stress and stress relief--here's a great starting place for a stress relief plan!
  • The Hows and Whys of Cultivating a Supportive Circle
    Social support is a wonderful antidote to stress! Here are some strategies for cultivating a supportive group of friends in your life.
  • Top 10 Self Care Strategies for Stress Reduction
    Stress can wear you out and make you tired, but, ironically, taking care of yourself can make you feel less stressed...and in turn cause you to require less focused self care! Here are some of the best things to focus on when taking care of yourself and reducing stress.

Maghout-Juratli S, Janisse J, Schwartz K, Arnetz BB. 
The causal role of fatigue in the stress-perceived health relationship: a MetroNet study. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. Mar-Apr, 2010. 

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